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The Global Game on Display in St. Louis

By Harry Thompson - USA Hockey Magazine, 08/13/16, 7:45AM MDT


Foreign Coaches Share In The Free Flow Of Information

Regardless of which side of the international dateline you reside, one commonly held ideal among hockey coaches is that there are very few secrets anymore.

Coaches, it's said, are the world's great plagiarizers. They borrow from each other and incorporate it into their own personal coaching styles.

That free sharing of information is at the heart of the USA Hockey National Hockey Coaches Symposium, where presenters openly share their ideas, concepts and drills openly and freely with anyone who is willing to listen.

Among the nearly 400 coaches intently listening to presenters talking about everything from leadership to individual skill development within the team environment are several European coaches who are looking to take that knowledge and incorporate it into their own coaching curriculum.

The contingent of foreign coaches were guests of Jack Witt, USA Hockey's coach-in-chief in Michigan.

Amos Coppe sat in the back of the massive ballroom intently listening and taking notes as Dallas Eakins, head coach of the AHL's San Diego Gulls, talked about the concepts of leadership. He hopes to take some of these concepts with him back to Lugano, Switzerland, and introduce it into what his club is doing to develop young hockey players.

"I am here to open my mind and expand my horizons," said Coppe, who previously attended a USA Hockey Level 4 clinic in Nashville.

"You can always learn something from anybody. There is always an opportunity to improve. That's the idea of coming here, to learn as much as possible and then try to put everything into practice."

For Sara and Claes Ridderlund, they are hoping to incorporate the best of the American system and add it to the great things being done back in their native Sweden.

"I think it's a great opportunity because it's something different from Swedish hockey," said Claes. "When you're in your own association you don't go outside the box. This is a way to seeing things outside the box."

Tobias Johansson would agree. Like the Ridderlunds, he has spent time in the U.S., and has attended other USA Hockey coaching clinics.

"I think we're doing a lot of good things in Sweden and I think they're doing a lot of good things in USA Hockey as well. We aren't doing exactly the same thing so I want to take out the best parts and take it home to my organization and try to improve what we are doing."

One thing that's impressed them about the American style of play is the team-first concept. They said that over the years the Swedish system has done a great job with individual skill development, but that focus has come at a price.

"My analysis is that 10 or 15 years ago we made some changes to our program where we've focused so much on individual player development. That's why we have so many good players," Johansson said. "But during that time we've kind of lost that team spirit."

It's one of the many things they're hoping to find here in St. Louis and take back home to Sweden.

"What I want to learn from USA Hockey is the belief that when you put the jersey on you're ready to die for each other. I want to take that [philosophy] and combine it with the Swedish model," Claes Ridderlund said. "That would be pretty awesome.

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Have you verified the score sheet?

By USA Hockey 02/13/2019, 8:15am MST

Remember when score sheets simply consisted of three or four carbon copies at the scorer’s table?

While we’re still likely to see that classic technique at some facilities, most have abandoned the handwritten score sheets in favor of electronic scoring systems and advanced score sheets – or minimally combined the process of both.

But whether it’s handwritten or electronic, the score sheet is not deemed “good to go” until an official signs off on it at the conclusion of the game. Rule 502(e) is clear in saying, “At the conclusion of the game, the referee shall check the official score sheet, including team rosters and players in uniform, for accuracy prior to signing.”

The game score sheet is considered an official record that documents the participants and the actions that take place during a game. Teams need them to document participation for eligibility in state or national tournaments, or to provide verification of a suspension served. They may also be keeping stats on players for their continued development and promotion to higher levels of play.  Plus, the score sheet provides a means to track progressive penalties or to identify trends within a local area or league. 

Regardless as to what system is used (hard copy or electronic scoring), the game score sheet is considered an official document and officials must adhere to their responsibility to treat it as such. Whereas the vast majority of officials have been good at reviewing and signing off on hard copy score sheets, there appears to be some confusion as to the need to verify the electronic version.

The electronic score sheet is an official document. Teams print these from the web-based system to verify their eligibility as mentioned above. Because it is an official record of the game, the officials have the responsibility to make sure all data is entered correctly, including the officials’ names, and must sign-off on the information prior to having the game sheet closed and finalized. This is no different than crossing off blank areas, making sure penalties are recorded properly and signing the actual hard copy score sheet. 

As a refresher, here are some tips on what to look for, and the officials’ responsibility to verify game sheets at the conclusion of every game.

1) Make sure that players who are not present to participate in the game are crossed off (hard copy) or removed from the game sheet (electronic). Only those players/coaches who are eligible and present to participate should be listed on the score sheet.

2) Confirm all penalties are recorded properly and to the proper player. Many times a game misconduct penalty will be recorded as a ten-minute misconduct or vice versa. If a player is assessed a minor plus misconduct, each of those must be recorded as a separate penalty. If you find there is a clerical error where a penalty was assessed properly, but not recorded correctly, fix the mistake prior to signing or closing off the game sheet.

However, an official is not allowed to simply change their call that was made during the game. For example, if an official assesses a major penalty for slashing during the game and the player serves the five minute major, but after the game, the officials talk and determine that the player deserved a major plus game misconduct penalty, or match penalty instead, the score sheet cannot be changed at this time. The officials may submit an incident report requesting the incident be reviewed under Rule 410 Supplementary Discipline.

3) Make sure all of the on-ice officials who worked the game are listed properly on the game sheet.

4) Once you have determined that all of the recorded information is accurate, the officials must sign (legibly) the hard copy of the score sheet or sign off and approve the electronic version so it can be finalized.

The one exception is when the scorekeeper manually keeps track of all of the game actions, but will then later enter the data into an electronic system. In this instance, it is important for the referee to make sure the document the scorekeeper used to record actions is accurate and they understand the penalties assessed so they can be entered properly.  It may be a good idea to go back at a later time and check the electronic version for accuracy, as well.

The bottom line is that the game sheet for each game you work is a reflection of your performance on the ice. If you do not pay attention to details and there are inaccuracies on the game sheet, the perception will be your performance on the ice was also lacking effort and attention to detail. Not to mention, it may also effect any potential imposed suspensions and/or eligibility of players/coaches. 

Please take score sheet (hard copy or electronic versions) management seriously as it is a major part of the official’s responsibility.  Doing so will make life easier for volunteers who are charged with tracking such things and will make the game better.  And if the game is better, your job as an official probably becomes more enjoyable, too.