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It's a Summer of Fun for the Walpole Express

06/16/2014, 3:30pm MDT
By Tom Robinson - Special to USAHockey.com

When the Walpole Express teams take their summer break, the girls in the Massachusetts association have plenty of opportunities to keep in touch with the game and their teammates.

Most of the summer programs are designed around fun and exposing the sport to more potential players, according to second-year girls’ director Lisa Stampfli.

The girls gathered for a season kickoff party June 1. Players tried on their game jerseys and had access to vendors for equipment. A tailgate party in the parking lot was followed by an All-Star Skills Competition. The girls competed in skating, puck-handling and shooting accuracy contests.

“Last year, pretty much everything was new,” said Stampfli, who took over and expanded a Walpole girls’ program that had been in place for seven years. “This year, I’m trying to build on what we started with last year.

“We did have a kickoff party last year, but we didn’t have a skills competition. That’s new.”

Instead of trophies or plaques, the prizes were fun toys meant to represent the skill the players possess, such as squirt guns for the best shooters.

“It’s a little bit of competition, but a lot of fun,” Stampfli said.

Girls who are part of the Walpole program can take part in Sunday skills sessions divided into Under-10, U12 and U14 groups in the summer. Walk-ons can take part as well.

The Red Devils U8 girls’ team meets each Thursday night for a more formal program of skill development.

“They’re trying to see if [hockey is] something they want to do,” Stampfli said. “About half the kids in the U8 program are brand new to hockey.”

The offerings for the players already entrenched in the program are much less formal.

“For the older kids, they’re skating once a week on Sunday nights, and we don’t get all the kids every week,” Stampfli said. “For them, it’s a social thing as much as hockey. They skate. We make it fun.

“They’re meeting their teammates for next year, meeting their coaches for next year. We encourage that, but it’s not four days a week like it is in the season.”

Those who are more serious about developing their game in the summer can take part in the Backyard Shooting Contest, pushing themselves toward a goal of shooting 10,000 pucks during the summer. They began June 1 after the kickoff party and are able to input their information and monitor their progress through a website and computer program that Stampfli set up for the players.

Averaging about 100 shots per day would make the goal of 10,000 possible.

Later in June, the newest addition — a U6 group — as well as the existing U8, U10 and U12 girls’ teams have their Summer Open House and Bring a Friend Day to try to expose the game to more players.

The summer activities conclude in August with the second Summer Sizzler Tournament. More than 20 teams from throughout New England, New York and New Jersey took part in divisions from U10 through U19 last year and U8 will be added this year.

When it’s over, the Walpole Express will be ready to continue the expansion of their girls’ program into the next full season.

Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.

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Update on 2015-16 USA Hockey Officiating Registration

07/08/2015, 5:15pm MDT
By David LaBuda, USA Hockey National Referee-in-Chief

District Referees-in-Chief implement changes to registration procedures

As we enter the 2015-16 registration season for officials, I want to give an update of what changes to expect this season.

The Officials Section has been busy since the 2015 Winter Meeting, working on implementing the registration changes that were discussed and voted on by the district referees-in-chief, along with refining the testing and online seminar programs.

REGISTRATION INFORMATION
For 2015-16, there will be an informational video available before an official registers with USA Hockey outlining the requirements and commitment that an individual will need to fulfill in order to complete their registration.

REGISTRATION PROCESS

Next, and a very important change, starting with this season, in order to register for a seminar, an official will have to first register as an official (online) with USA Hockey in order to gain access to the online program to register for a seminar.

This change was due to a number of individuals who would never register as an official with USA Hockey and then ‘no show’ to the seminar that they registered for, which frequently led to other registered officials being denied attendance at that seminar because the seating capacity had already been reached.

This change will provide more incentive for every individual who registers as an official -- and registers for a seminar -- to attend that seminar and complete the registration requirements.

EXAM PROCESS
The open-book testing process has also been modified for the coming season. What hasn’t changed is that a Level 1 official will still have to answer the first 50 questions, while Level 2, 3 & 4 officials will have to answer 100 questions. However, the passing score for a Level 2 official has been modified to 80 from 85. All other passing scores remain the same as last year. Those minimum passing scores are 35 for a Level 1 official and 90 for Levels 3 and 4.

While an official is taking the open-book exam, there will be immediate feedback provided after each answer is submitted. If the question was answered incorrectly, the rule reference for that missed question will be given with the appropriate rule book language.

After completing all of the required questions, a summary will be sent of all incorrect responses with their rule references. If a passing score is obtained, then the open-book exam requirement will be complete.

If the result is a failing score, after the seven-day waiting period has passed, the official will only have to retake those questions that were incorrectly answered on their first open-book exam. The retake questions will be based on the same rule reference as the originally missed questions, but will cover a different aspect of the rule.

Once all of the retake questions are answered, the number of correctly answered retake questions will be added to the original test score to hopefully obtain a passing grade. As a reminder, there is no third attempt to pass the open-book exam.

IN-CLASS SEMINARS & ONLINE EDUCATION UPDATES
During the winter meeting, the Officials Section spent considerable time discussing seminar program feedback, and in particular, the online modules. All feedback was taken seriously and an action plan was discussed and adopted.


Two work groups were established to address the new classroom curriculums and to improve the online video modules. Both were comprised of grassroots members who could bring a grassroots perspective to their work. Both groups have completed their work and their recommendations have been adopted. The new shortened classroom curriculums have been distributed for application to this coming seminar season and the online modules are being re-engineered with improved formatting, better sequencing, animation replacing some video clips and reduction of music and voice-overs to allow the viewer to better focus on the presented material.

We’ve also evaluated the number of required modules for each level, and based on the user analytics that the first years’ experience produced, we have reduced the number of required modules in some cases.

Lastly, as a reminder, once an official begins their first online module, they will need to complete all of their online module training within a specified time period. The online module completion time periods are 60 days for Level 1 registered officials and 45 days for Levels 2, 3 and 4. If all of the required and elective modules are not completed within the specified time frame, the official will have to restart all of the module training from the beginning. This requirement was waived during last year’s registration season due to the delayed rollout of the online module program, but it’s back in place this year.

This completion requirement was put in place by the District RICs to encourage all officials to complete their registration as early as possible and to provide continuity in the overall seminar education process.

SUMMARY
As a reminder, to complete an official’s registration an applicant must:

  • Register online with USA Hockey
  • Register and attend a classroom seminar (reduced attendance times depending on registration level)
  • Complete the required and elective online training modules within the required time frame
  • Pass the open-book exam at their registration level
  • Pass the closed-book exam (no closed-book exam at Level 1) for their registration level
  • Complete their online USA Hockey SafeSport training at the end of every two-year cycle

 

Work will continue on improving our educational programs, and as always, we will continue actively listening to your constructive feedback. Without your involvement and support as a community, we cannot continue moving forward.  Acknowledging that improvements were needed was only one step in the process.  Implementing those changes in a way that meets the needs of our officiating community is the next step and we’re excited to be taking that step.

Have a great 2015-16 season and as always, skate hard and have fun when you’re on the ice.

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