Fourteen-year NHL veteran and New York Islanders head amateur scout Trent Klatt has a message for coaches and parents this offseason:
“Put the hockey equipment in the rafters and go play ball.”
Klatt, a product of the Brooklyn Park youth hockey system and Osseo High School in Minnesota, played just about every sport as a child. It helped him develop into a premier, well-rounded athlete who enjoyed each passing season. Now, as an NHL scout, he looks for that same type of athleticism.
Klatt sat down with USA Hockey and explained why the offseason should be spent off the ice.
USA Hockey: The culture seems to have moved away from the three-sport athlete. What other sports did you play?
Trent Klatt: I played every sport my mom and dad put me in. The three main sports I played were football, hockey and baseball. That’s just what we did. It was all about being a three-sport athlete 20 or 30 years ago. It wasn’t about one sport. It was, “Hey, it’s fall. It’s time for football, soccer or tennis. In the wintertime, it’s hockey or basketball or wrestling. In spring, it’s golf or baseball or whatever.” I’m not saying it’s not that way now, but it’s not even close to what it used to be.
USA Hockey: Why do you think society has gone away from the three-sport athlete?
Trent Klatt: I think it’s money. I think it’s the dreams of a professional career. I think parents fear that, if the kid next door is doing it, my kid has to do it to keep up. That’s the attitude now. Parents think their kid is pretty good and they don’t want them to fall behind. But it’s just not the case.
USA Hockey: So when parents ask you about signing up for summer hockey leagues, camps and festivals, what do you tell them?
Trent Klatt: When parents ask me about what their kid should do, I say, “Hey, look, it doesn’t matter.” As an NHL scout, when I’m looking at these kids, I want to see an athlete. That’s one of the biggest things I look for – not if they can play one sport.
USA Hockey: Can that be difficult for some parents to grasp?
Trent Klatt: Here’s one very generic analogy: Everybody loves to wind up and take a big one-time slap shot on the power play to score the big goal. You can’t tell me that a 50- to 60-mile-per-hour pass is not somehow related to a 70- or 80-mile-per-hour fastball. The hand-eye coordination for both sports actually complements each other. I don’t understand how people can’t grasp that. The multisport athlete uses different muscle memory, different muscles, different parts of their brain – they’re becoming a more well-rounded athlete rather than just going up and down the wing from north to south.
USA Hockey: Even professional hockey players need a break.
Trent Klatt: I’ve played the sport 12 months a year at the age of 30 as an NHL’er. It took everything I possibly had to get through every phase of the season, whether it was July or December. I just don’t think kids are capable of doing it. I think they get burnt out and I think they quit. And one of the biggest things that happens – they get hurt. That’s when their bodies start to break down and they start to get hurt. I know; mine did.
Put a glove in his or her hand. Put the hockey equipment in the rafters and go play ball. That’s what I tell parents. I’m that adamant. I think kids need to turn their brains off. They need to hear from a different coach. They need to play different sports.
USA Hockey: What if the kids still want to play some hockey and work on skills during the offseason? What’s your advice then?
Trent Klatt: I don’t have any problem if a kid picks up their stick and wants to stickhandle or play with their friends and it’s July 15, because the kid wants to. If there is any bit of pressure from mom or dad, I think that’s wrong. The kid starts to feel pressure that they have to attend these camps to keep up with their neighbors – that’s where I draw the line.
USA Hockey: What other benefits are there to playing multiple sports?
Trent Klatt: When baseball season is over and hockey starts up again, the kids are excited again. They want to go to the rink. Now they’re really willing to put in the effort and the time to improve. How often do kids want to go to school right now? My kids don’t want to go to school right now. The only reason they’re going to school is because they’re counting down the days. They have 18 days left.
USA Hockey: What if they miss a chance to get noticed by scouts and college/junior coaches?
Trent Klatt: Forty years ago, when there wasn’t internet, there was a risk that if you were in an obscure place, you might not get noticed. In today’s world and the technology that we have now – nobody will be hidden. The player will get seen at some point if they’re good enough. The kids can’t hide.
This week’s features: Kicking the stick...Vaping...Illegal contact...and more.
QUESTION: If a child is caught vaping non-narcotic juice what is the policy of USA Hockey?
ANSWER: USA Hockey Playing Rule 601.f states:
"The use of tobacco products, vaping products or alcoholic beverages by any player or team official is prohibited in the rink area, including the bench areas and off-ice official area. A warning shall be issued by the Referee for the first offense by any participant and any subsequent violations by the same team shall result in a game misconduct penalty being assessed."
QUESTION: When play is in an end-zone and coming from behind the net up along the boards, the referee is stated to keep moving backwards along the boards out towards the blue line until play moves away. Is it okay to step off the boards and let a player with the puck pass or pivot out and around multiple players if going up the boards will inevitably lead to being in the way and possible contact?
ANSWER: For guidance on proper referee positioning in the end-zone, please consult the USA Hockey Basic Officiating Manual (pg. 17).
QUESTION: An attacking player is on a breakaway. They take a shot on goal and score, but lose control and slam into the goalie within the crease. Is the goal still awarded even though a penalty will be given for goalie interference? If the puck crossed the goal line immediately after making contact with the goalie in the crease would this change whether or not a goal is awarded?
ANSWER: An attacking player may not make contact with the goalkeeper who is positioned in his/her goal crease, and the attacking player may not push the goalkeeper who has possession of the puck into the goal to score a goal. If this happens, the goal must be disallowed and the attacking player should be assessed a penalty for interference or charging depending on the degree of contact (seeUSAH Rule 607(c) & (d) – Charging).
That being said, if the puck is shot into the goal prior to the illegal goalkeeper contact then the goal should be awarded. The resulting illegal contact after the goal should be penalized as normal.
If the puck enters the goal AFTER the illegal goalkeeper contact, then the goal should be disallowed.
QUESTION: What are the actions taken by the referee following a “kick shot”?
ANSWER: USA Hockey Playing Rule 627.c states:
"Kicking the puck shall be permitted provided the puck is not kicked by an attacking player and entered the goal either directly or after deflecting off any player including the goalkeeper. However, the puck may not be played by the so called “kick shot,” which combines the use of the leg and foot driving the shaft and blade of the stick and producing a very dangerous shot."
If the puck enters the goal through use of a "Kick Shot", the goal must be disallowed. If the puck doesn't enter the goal, play should be stopped. In both situations, the face-off should be located at the nearest neutral zone spot.
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This week’s features: Kicking the puck...Penalties and on-ice strength...Punctuality...and more.
QUESTION: What is the rule for matching hitting from behind penalties? Do each of the offending players serve the minor as they were coincidental or does another player serve them? Does the misconduct run concurrently to the minor or does it begin at the conclusion of the minor?
ANSWER: In the situation where two opposing players are assessed “matching” minor plus misconduct penalties (Charging, Boarding, Checking-from-behind, etc.), both players enter the penalty bench and are substituted for on the ice (play resumes 5 vs. 5). Both players will serve twelve minutes (2 + 10) and return to play at the first stoppage after twelve minutes. There is no need to place additional players in the penalty bench.
QUESTION: If there is a hand pass in the attacking or neutral zone, where is the next face-off?
ANSWER: Rule 618(b) in the USA Hockey Playing Rules states,
“A player or goalkeeper shall not be allowed to “bat” the puck in the air, or push it along the ice with his hand, directly to a teammate unless the “hand pass” has been initiated and completed in his defending zone, in which case play shall be allowed to continue. If the “hand pass” occurs in the neutral or attacking zone, a stoppage of play will occur and a face-off will take place according to last play face-off rules provided no territorial advantage has been gained.”
Furthermore, Rule 612(c) states,
“When a stoppage of play occurs as the result of any action by the attacking team in the attacking zone, the ensuing face-off will take place at the nearest neutral zone face-off spot, unless the stoppage was a result of a shot going directly out of play off of the goal post or crossbar.“
QUESTION: My son of 11 has UHWK camera on his helmet. The helmet has not been modified. The UHWK is designed to fit on a hockey or lacrosse helmet. When the rules were change last year is when we bought one and told it was legal now. We have heard the GO pro is not since it protrudes the helmet and you sometimes have to modify the helmet.
ANSWER: The USA Hockey Playing Rules do not allow players to wear ANY type of camera during a game. The 2021-25 Playing Rule Changes did not change this rule.
QUESTION: Player A scores a goal off of teammate's skate Player B. Player B did not kick or intentionally redirect puck. Does the goal count and is Player A awarded a goal and is Player B awarded an assist?
ANSWER: A puck that enters the goal after a “deflection” (not “directed” or kicked) off an attacking player’s skate should count as a legal goal. The player the puck last touched shall be credited with the goal.
QUESTION: What is the game officials responsibility to be on time for a game? Where does it state their responsibility in a code of conduct? What are the codes of conduct for game officials? Can teams take to the ice prior to the game officials entering the rink before game? Who is responsible for reviewing unsafe officiating practices of officials?
ANSWER: Game officials are always expected to enter the ice surface on time, and before the teams. You will find a copy of the USA Hockey Game Officials Code-of-Conduct in the preface of the USA Hockey Playing Rules.
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