skip navigation

Pottstown Penguins Fly With Help from the ADM

By Mike Scandura - Special to, 09/30/14, 4:15PM MDT


The Pottstown Penguins aren’t the biggest youth hockey organization in Pennsylvania, nor are they a Tier I elite program.

Yet what’s kept the organization thriving — it will celebrate its 50th anniversary this season — is simple.

At the Penguins’ core is a determination to offer young boys an activity that can pay dividends now and in the future. And in recent years that mission has been boosted by USA Hockey’s American Development Model, a skill development-focused, age-appropriate competition format that helped improve the association’s retention rate.

“The small-area play makes a definite difference in the number of touches the players get with the puck,” said Penguins President Mark Moyer. “In the past, it wasn’t uncommon to see players fail to touch the puck. You don’t see that anymore. The younger kids benefit from the cross-ice mite program."

“In the second component of the ADM, with the squirts, we make sure the practice-to-game ratio is great. Years ago, squirts were playing 60 games. That’s subsided with more emphasis on skill development. The better the kids become, the more they will stay in the game.”

Moyer said the board of directors and the coaching staff works hard to ensure their members develop an affinity for hockey.

“It’s kind of corny, but I gauge how well we’re doing by the number of kids that come back and who coach and help with the learn-to-skate program,” Moyer said. “We do pride ourselves on the fact that the kids who go through our program come back to our program. That’s more important than winning national championships."

“A couple of years back, when things got tight, one of the coaches said, ‘If we keep the Penguins alive and can keep even one kid from getting in trouble, it’s worth every cent.’ Hockey teaches responsibility and work ethic. If we can make them better adults, then it’s worth it. It’s not lip service. That’s what we really believe.”

The Penguins also believe in the benefit of practices as opposed to playing multiple games every week.

“You can’t practice enough,” Moyer said. “Practices give you the chance to hone your skills — like shooting, passing and skating. You need practices in order to be able to hone your skills.”

Before players move on to higher levels, where the commitment increases, they first must participate in the Penguins’ learn-to-skate/learn-to-play program.

“We offer a very low-cost program and it’s very popular,” Moyer said. “They’re extremely beneficial and feed our mite program. We also offer them for squirt and peewee-age players.

“We get a lot of cross-over players who play deck hockey or roller hockey who want to play ice hockey but we have to get them acclimated.”

Another aspect of the Penguins that has grown in popularity over the years is the Cuesta-Thomas Tournament. Now in its 46th year, the tournament was founded by two members of The Hill School faculty and caters primarily to teams from the Mid-Atlantic region. It features four-team competitions at the mite, squirt, peewee and midget levels.

There are a number of factors why the tournament has been so successful, Moyer said.

“No. 1, our organization is a 100-percent volunteer organization,” he said. “The tournament is run by the parents for the kids. We work really hard to make sure every team wants to come back."

“We also try to make it a competitive tournament all the way around. We work with teams that are of the same caliber. A lot of the games are one- or two-goal differentials. Blowouts do happen, but that’s uncommon.”

Another reason why teams want to play in the tournament is the rink at The Hill School.

“The accommodations at the rink are spectacular,” Moyer said. “Prior to 2002, the tournament was held outside, and then it was moved inside when the new rink was built. It has some of the best ice surfaces you’ll play on in this area.”

There’s one more inducement.

Championship teams have their name as well, as the names of the players and coaches, engraved on a cup, which is similar in nature to NHL teams that capture the Stanley Cup.

“We only started that a couple of years ago,” Moyer said. “It was a new feature we decided to provide. When the names are added, the kids think it’s neat.”

Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.

Popular Articles & Features


USA Hockey Launching

By USA Hockey 03/07/2023, 8:55am MST

Will Serve as Home for USA Hockey High School, Youth and Girls Nationals

2022-23 ATO | WEEK 26

By USA Hockey Officiating Program 02/24/2023, 6:15am MST

QUESTIONGoalie goes to the corner to play the puck, but turns the puck over to an attacking player. The goalie then body-checks the attacking player. Is this a penalty?”

ANSWERRule 640.f in the USA Hockey Playing Rules states:

A minor penalty shall be assessed to any goalkeeper who body checks an opponent.


QUESTIONAfter the whistle, Player A and Player B are jawing at each other. Player Red-A drops their gloves, looking to provoke a fight. Player B does not reciprocate, and Player A does not throw a punch. Referees step in the middle and separate the players. What penalty should be assessed to Player A, considering they seemed to be intending on fighting and attempted to provoke one, but did not actually throw a punch?

ANSWERRule 601.a in the USA Hockey Playing Rules states,

“A minor penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct shall be assessed to any player who commits the following actions:

-  Challenges or disputes the rulings of any official.
-  Taunts or incites an opponent.
-  Creates a disturbance during the game.
-  Shoots the puck after the whistle, if in the opinion of the Official such shot was avoidable.”


QUESTIONWhat can an official do if a game will exceed the scheduled ice time? Rink management has no time to finish the game and no local league rule address this. Can you apply Rule 636.e and suspend the game?

ANSWER: The USA Hockey Playing Rules are written with the expectation that all games will be scheduled with enough ice time for completion. That is why you will find no reference about “Running Clocks”, “Mercy Rules”, or other time management devices. However, sometimes games are delayed or not enough ice time is purchased. In this case, the Rink Management is under no obligation to allow the game to continue if they have committed the next slot of ice to another customer.

Therefore, the Game Officials will have to work with the Team Officials to decide how to manage the result. In some cases, the game will be just a Rec-League friendly match and the final score is meaningless. However, the case of League Games or games involving “Tournament Bound” teams will need a resolution. In this case, the teams should not be allowed to select the final result (due to potential conflict of interest). The Game Officials will have to suspend the game and submit a report to the governing league or entity so they can decide the final result which will affect league standings. From there, it’s in the hands of the league to decide.


QUESTIONA goalie has altered and cut a deep "V" notch into the top of the paddle of his goal stick, on the back-side, approx 1" down from where the shaft of the stick and flat part of the paddle meet. The goalie has taped this area up to cover sharp edges? All other stick measurements are within legal standards. Is this stick legal to play with?

ANSWER: Provided the alterations to the stick do not make the stick’s dimensions illegal under Rule 301 in the USA Hockey Playing Rules and all rough or sharp edges have been covered to prevent injury to players, there should be nothing to prevent this stick from being used in a game. The USAH Playing Rules do not mandate that a goalkeeper’s stick-paddle must be completely straight-edged.


QUESTIONPlayer A loses his stick on the ice and play continues. A short while later as Player A goes to retrieve his stick, Player B uses his skate to move the stick out of the way using a kicking motion. Normally, this is a straightforward Interference penalty. In this case, when Player A picks the stick up as the penalty is being reported, the stick is unplayable as it is broken. Does that change the scenario?

ANSWER: In your situation, the fact that the stick was broken does not affect the call.


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 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

Hayley Scamurra helps a young skater at the Kraken Community Iceplex.

Seattle Kraken’s Iceplex is Truly for the Community

By Nicole Haase 02/21/2023, 11:45am MST

The Kraken’s practice facility is open once a week for refugee children to skate for free