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Nearly 150 U.S. Locations to Celebrate 2014 IIHF World Girls' Ice Hockey Weekend

By USAHockey.com, 10/06/14, 9:30PM MDT

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Nearly 150 locations across the United States will help celebrate the fourth annual International Ice Hockey Federation World Girls' Ice Hockey Weekend this Saturdayand Sunday (Oct. 11-12). As part of the festivities, past and present members of the U.S. Women's National Team will take part in select events across the nation.

The IIHF World Girls' Ice Hockey Weekend is an opportunity to celebrate female participation in the sport. The goal of the event is to grow the game through a variety of events that aim to introduce beginners to basic skills in a positive, fun and safe environment; provide more opportunities to play ice hockey; teach fair play, sportsmanship and teamwork; create new friendships; and develop a lifelong love of the sport.

"USA Hockey is proud to be a leader in the continued advancement of girls' and women's hockey," said Dave Ogrean, executive director of USA Hockey. "It's terrific to see all the activity happening around the country this weekend and we're most grateful to all the volunteers who are dedicated to helping grow the game."

Events being hosted include youth hockey clinics featuring the American Development Model, hockey jamborees, Try Hockey for Free opportunities, female-only tournaments, introductory informational sessions about the sport and other hockey-themed gatherings.

Those taking part in the festivities this weekend are encouraged to share their experiences by posting photos and stories on USA Hockey's Facebook page and on Twitter using the hashtag #girlshockey.

Thirty-four states are hosting activities as part of the fourth annual IIHF World Girls' Ice Hockey Weekend. For more information on the IIHF World Girls' Ice Hockey Weekend, click here.

NOTES: Teams from the NHL, AHL, NCAA, and USHL are among those helping celebrate the IIHF World Girls' Ice Hockey Weekend ... Participation in girls and women's hockey in the United States has increased by nearly 25% in the past decade and now has more than 67,000 registered players.

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USA Hockey: What is the biggest change made to the registration requirements for this season?

Matt Leaf: With more and more seminars transitioning to a virtual format, the Referees-in-Chief (RIC) have determined that there really is no need for the closed book exams. So, level 2, 3 and 4 officials this season will no longer be required to submit a closed book (or modified online closed book exam) upon completion of the seminar requirement. Instead, the open book exams have been expanded to 75 questions for level 2 and 100 questions each for level 3 and level 4.

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USAH: Are there any other changes to the exam process

ML: The only other change to the exams deal with those who do not pass the original exam. Level 2, 3 and 4 officials will now be able to complete their retake exam 24 hours after failing their original exam. Level 1 officials will still need to wait seven days as we want them to slow down and take some time reviewing the rules so they can gain a better understanding and improve their chances for success on the ice.

USAH: What changes, if any, have been made to the seminars? Are all officials still required to attend a seminar each season?

ML: Yes, except for Tenured Officials, all officials are required to attend a seminar for the level that they apply for each season. So, a Level 1 official must attend a Level 1 seminar, Level 2 attends a Level 2 and then Level 3 and 4 seminars will be combined as one seminar in many cases.

Level 1 officials are strongly encouraged to attend a seminar in their own area and most areas will mainly conduct in-person Level 1 seminars. Although there will be some hybrid Level 1 seminars with both a virtual and in-person component, the key here is that every Level 1 official is required to attend a Level 1 seminar ice session. This may require some additional coordination of scheduling for these new officials, but the reality is this on-ice practice is so critical to any future success they may have on the ice that the RICs feel it is critical that the ice session is part of their educational experience.

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USAH: Have there been any changes to the curriculum for the various levels?

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Experienced officials should expect to receive information later this summer that outlines expectations of a formal Mentor Program and asking them to volunteer their time and expertise to become involved as a mentor. Once we have established a pool of officials that are willing to contribute in this way to the next generation of officials, they will be assigned a group of new officials they can reach out to and guide them through the registration process, seminar attendance, assistance in completing the open book exam and reaching out to prospective assignors when the time has come they are ready to work games. Once they have stepped on the ice, that mentor can continue to be a valuable resource for the new official and provide the necessary support needed to be successful. We will also be encouraging local clubs, assignors and officials’ groups to implement Shadow Programs that will complement the Mentor Program and positively enhance the officials’ experience even more.

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