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Try Hockey For Free Days Set for 2014-15 Season

By USAHockey.com, 08/13/14, 1:45PM MDT

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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — USA Hockey announced today that associations and rinks can begin registering now to host Try Hockey For Free events scheduled for the 2014-15 season at USAHockeyProgramServices.com.

The first nationwide Try Hockey For Free Day will be Saturday, Nov. 8, 2014, as part of Come Play Hockey Month. The second opportunity will occur Saturday, Feb. 21, 2015, during Hockey Weekend Across America, presented by CCM.

USA Hockey's Try Hockey For Free program, with the support of the National Hockey League and NHL member clubs, among others, is designed to provide youth hockey associations a national platform to introduce new kids to the sport. Total Hockey is an official sponsor of Try Hockey For Free Days.

Associations and rinks interested in hosting on a designated Try Hockey For Free Day can click here to register.

NOTE: Entering its fifth season, USA Hockey's national Try Hockey For Free Days have introduced more than 70,000 children to the sport, including a record 28,446 in 2013-14.

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By USA Hockey 08/03/2020, 5:45pm MDT

Dave LaBuda and Scott Zelkin talk Zero Tolerance Policy and Virtual Seminars

It’s an off-season that continues to be full of changes, reactionary and planned, as all of us in the USA Hockey Officiating Department forge forward in the new normal. Our efforts are consistently focused on ensuring safety, fun and development for players, coaches and officials.

One issue that continues to arise is the abuse of officials and the effects it has on retention. To counter and help improve the environment, USA Hockey’s rules sub-committee has been focused and committed to solutions.

This sub-committee was established to define and recommend programs to confront this problem. As a result of this, a first step was taken at the recent Annual Congress to amend the Zero Tolerance Policy. Several proposals were made and adopted by the Board of Directors to constructively confront this problem. 

These changes strongly recommend things like game officials introducing themselves to the coach during warm-ups in order to start the communication process and set some guidelines for in-game communication.

The parents/spectators section was amended to clearly state the behavioral expectations of this group. Another strong recommendation added to this section was to establish a parent/spectator monitor by each local youth hockey team for all games. Ideally, this monitor will address and de-escalate parent/spectator behavior before it impacts the game and the officials have to stop play. 

Also added, a reminder to administrators that they are responsible for taking any appropriate disciplinary action towards parents/spectators that are removed from a game as a result of a violation of the Zero Tolerance Policy.

Navigating New Norms

As we all still grapple with the effects of the pandemic, the Officiating Program has been working to develop effective ways to fulfill our educational responsibilities when it comes to the annual registration process. To that end, the only process that provides educational value and a safe environment is with virtual seminars. A format and curriculum was developed and approved by the District RIC’s. This was distributed to all of the District RIC’s for implementation as they see fit.  Due to the many different and ever-changing restrictions around the country, if the situation arises where in-person seminars can be held then the District RIC can also schedule them as needed. The Virtual Seminar Program is the best solution for this season. As situations change, the Officials Section will revisit this program for all future seasons.

ZoomCasts

Every Tuesday, the Officiating Education Program will present an hour-long webinar on various topics of interest and importance to not only USA Hockey’s officials but the entire membership. These panel discussions will cover topics such as abuse and zero tolerance, communication, player safety, as well as items such as game management and positioning within the three recognized USA Hockey Officiating systems. Panelists will include some of the top officials in the country and other experts from the hockey world whose goal will be to inform, entertain and encourage the USA Hockey community to learn more about officiating.

Mentor Project

Getting officials from their first year to their third season is a key focus for the Officiating Education Program. Helping officials understand the basics of the craft and giving them a supportive resource is what the Mentor Project is all about. USA Hockey is helping local Officials Associations put together the framework where a mentor gets matched with a new official and works with them not only in their first month or second, but is a constant resource for the new official throughout their first couple of seasons. Learning about how to read the rule book, navigate the challenges of getting assignments and become a proficient official are all goals of the mentor project.   

Again, we hope everyone is safe and sane as we prepare for a different landscape of hockey – but we are excited to welcome it, and you, back to the game.

See you at the rink!