Wednesday's night's Scotty Bowman address stressed that attitude is the most important word in hockey, and that the NHL could benefit by watching for stick infractions away from the puck.
By Thursday morning, the messages began in earnest ...
Mark Tabrum, director of USA Hockey's Coaching Education Program, encouraged coaches to let kids figure out the game for themselves once in awhile.
Eddie Olczyk, head coach of the Pittsburgh Penguins (and coach of his sons hockey teams during the NHL work stoppage), instructed coaches to talk to their players as people, not just as athletes, and to listen to their feedback.
Barry Smith, associate coach with the Detroit Red Wings, talked about converting rigid systems to more adaptable concepts to maximize success.
Mike Eaves, head coach at the University of Wisconsin and IIHF gold medalist (2004 World Junior Championship), said that as a coach, you have every right to take a risk, and he told coaches to recognize and develop the unsung skills, or the basic skills that coaches take for granted in their players.
Mike Sullivan, head coach of the NHL's Boston Bruins, pointed out that developing players intellectual skills, such as decision-making and the ability to recognize opportunities, is just as important as developing physical skills.
Lou Vairo, longtime U.S. National Team coach and currently a director of special projects at USA Hockey, let coaches believe that he prefers to let other coaches stick to their convictions and to operate based on what they think is right, not out of fear of being fired and he provided a method of running high-intensity practices to effectively train players.
And so ended the first full day of the 2005 National Hockey Coaches Symposium. Two NHL head coaches, an NCAA Division I coach and a former U.S. Olympic Team leader combined to provide a first-rate program for over 500 coaches assembled at the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel in Grand Rapids, Mich.
As the session broke for a social hour and networking opportunity, 500 coaches were one step closer to achieving Level 5, or Masters coaching certification, and thousands of kids across the country stood to benefit.
QUESTION: When a player is awarded a minor and misconduct, how long is the player in the penalty box? Twelve minutes plus whistle, or ten minutes plus whistle?
ANSWER: If a player receives a Minor and Misconduct penalty he must serve the entire twelve minutes (2+10) consecutively. The additional player his team must place in the box is serving the shorthanded time (not the Minor itself). Since the Minor penalty must be served first (and posted on the penalty clock) the additional player is in the box so their team will have someone available to leave the penalty box and enter the game at the end of the Minor.
If the opposing team scores during the shorthanded Minor penalty time, the Minor is immediately terminated and the Misconduct penalty begins. In other words, the player who received the penalties will be released at the first whistle after ten minutes after the goal.
QUESTION: If the goalie unintentionally displaces the net in the act of making a save, but the displacement of the net allows him to stop a puck that very likely would have been a goal had the net stayed on it's moorings, should this be ruled a goal, save, penalty shot or something else?
ANSWER: Rule 610.e in the USA Hockey Playing Rules states:
"Play shall be stopped immediately when the goal frame has been displaced from its normal position. A minor penalty shall be assessed to any player (including a goalkeeper) who deliberately displaces the goal frame."
If the net was displaced unintentionally, then no penalty should be assessed.
QUESTION: A player is checked, falling to the ice. The player stands up and tracks the player that delivered the initial check 30 - 40 feet into the corner at a high rate of speed and attempts to deliver a forceful check, but misses. Because no contact is made, this is not Charging, but is there another penalty or misconduct that could be applicable?
ANSWER: There is no penalty assessed for missing a body check. Unless the player violated USAH Rule 601, we see no violation that would constitute a penalty.
QUESTION: A goalie looses his stick and is handed a player's stick by a teammate. A few seconds later the forward with no stick picked up the goalie stick to return to the goalie but enters play, after a failed kick of the puck he plays the puck with the goalie stick. Does this scenario result in a penalty under violation of rule 301(c) for "illegal equipment" as the goalie stick exceeds the player stick max measurements?
ANSWER: A player may not participate in play while in possession of a Goalkeeper Stick due to the fact that the Goalkeeper Stick does not conform to the legal dimensions of a Player Stick as outlined in USAH Rule 301.b.
QUESTION: Does this NHL rule also apply to USA Hockey games? In a situation where there is less than five minutes remaining in play, should unequal simultaneous penalties be assessed , then instead of both sides serving their full times, the minor penalty is cancelled and its time subtracted from the major penalty, which is then assessed against that team.
ANSWER: No, the USA Hockey Playing Rules do not include that rule at any level.
The USA Hockey Playing Rules are now available as a mobile device app! Check your Apple, Android, or Windows app store to download this playing rule app free of charge.
Check out the USA Hockey mobile-friendly online rulebook application! Enter usahockeyrulebook.com into your mobile device’s web browser to gain instant access to the USA Hockey Playing Rules (must have mobile or internet service).
The USA Hockey Playing Rules Casebook and other educational material can be found under the OFFICIALS tab at USAHockey.com.
USA Hockey volunteers and staff gathered in January for the organization’s annual Winter Meeting. This year’s Winter Meeting was a “legislative year,” meaning the organization focused on USA Hockey operations versus game/playing rules. Officiating is always a hot topic, and, with the recently formed Officiating Taskforce set to provide new recommendations, this year’s meeting was no different.
The Taskforce, chaired by Keith Barrett, vice president of USA Hockey and chair of the organization’s Youth Council, was formed in 2021 with the intention of bringing together USA Hockey members to explore concerns in the current youth hockey officiating environment, and to work together to formulate a comprehensive plan that addresses both the immediate and long-term issues in attracting and retaining officials in youth hockey.
It’s no secret in the hockey community that challenges exist when it comes to officials.
On the positive side, recruiting remains strong, with more than 28,000 officials registered for the 2022-23 season, one of the highest levels of all time. The job of the Taskforce and all in the organization is retaining these officials into their second year and beyond, as many face obstacles such as challenging personal schedules, verbal abuse from coaches, parents and players and slightly rising registration fees.
Dave LaBuda, USA Hockey National Referee-In-Chief, is one of the members of the Taskforce, and felt the group’s recommendations – shared in the form of a whitepaper – were both highly anticipated and well received.
“It was a very productive meeting,” said LaBuda. “Our recommendations weren’t incredibly radical. They were things we’ve been discussing for a long time and the Taskforce vetted and then put in black and white. We put forward the items we believed would be reasonable for the affiliates to pursue and put into practice.”
Included in the whitepaper were a variety of recommendations the Taskforce hopes USA Hockey affiliates across the country will consider and implement at some point starting next season.
According to LaBuda, here are the key topics discussed during the meeting:
Updated Officiating Education Program materials – “The program is doing a complete review and update of all of our educational materials starting by registration level. For this upcoming season, the Level 1 material presented at our seminars (which includes both virtual/online and in-person portions) will be implemented during the 2023-24 season and then in each following progressive season, Level 2 will follow in ’24-25 and Level 3 in ’25-26. All materials will be updated and new methodology will be incorporated. It’s a major change with regards to the education program.”
An established, and paid, group of virtual seminar instructors – “USA Hockey will now have an established group of virtual seminar instructors. They will be responsible for producing or participating in all of the virtual seminars presented by the organization. The in-person portion, at least at Level 1, will be handled by local staff on the ground. Those involved will receive stipends from the national office for their time and efforts in educating our people. That’s something that has never happened before at the national level. We acknowledge and appreciate all that they do so it's only appropriate to give them some type of honorarium.”
Full-time staff hired to support the program – “We also hired another full-time staff person for the Officiating Education Program and hope to hire another person in the not-too-distant future. These roles will enable staff to get out in the field, interacting with the local officials.”
Established a Taskforce subcommittee – “We also discussed the establishment of a Taskforce subcommittee, with a mandate to follow up with USA Hockey affiliates about what they are doing in terms of the implementation of Taskforce recommendations. That subcommittee is in the initial process of organizing and getting a game plan together, as to how they will support, monitor and evaluate how affiliates are progressing.”
Expanding official mentoring programs – “Most of the affiliate representatives there saw the immense benefit of the mentoring program, and a majority of them said they would like to implement something like it within their area of responsibility. It’s not easy, it requires affiliates to step forward and say we’re willing to do this, then directing some resources of manpower to get it off the ground. But those who already have had mentoring programs said it has had a positive impact on retention.”
Other key discussion topics included parent education programs (concerning at-rink behavior) as well as more stringently enforcing the zero-tolerance policy. Another change announced at the Winter Meeting that impacts officials was a change to the current rule change cycle. Moving forward, rule changes will be adopted at the Winter Meetings in January, every four years, in an effort to be more thoughtful, with more time (from January to the start of the next season) to review the new rules and educate officials, coaches and all involved.
“I think as a program, we’re in good shape,” LaBuda said. “We have the support of the entire organization and to be honest, the crisis that COVID brought on everybody has actually prompted better planning and communication within the hockey world. The challenge is to keep that going.”