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Rocky Mountain Hockey Continues to Soar

By Mike Scandura - Special to, 09/14/16, 3:45PM MDT


Colorado’s Summit Youth Hockey grows with ADM and top-level coaching

If Summit Youth Hockey keeps growing like it is, its home in Breckenridge, Colorado, may soon have a sport that rivals skiing in popularity.

According to Director Chris Miller, the organization has increased its membership by an average of 15 percent annually over the last three years.

Among many reasons for growth, one that Miller is quick to cite is USA Hockey’s American Development Model.

“Our coaches have embraced the ADM,” said Miller. “They understand age-specific hockey training and continue their education after reaching required training levels.

“My favorite part about the ADM is how it works on the one thing that’s hardest to coach: hockey sense. The more game situations we put players in, the better. Most importantly, we want the kid to find the solution instead of trying to present it.”

The ADM is another reason why the organization has not only attracted more players, but also improved its retention rate.

“Whenever you focus on a proven system, you attract and retain your members,” said Miller. “And the ADM is set up to focus on more relevant skills and more relevant development.”

Currently, Summit Youth Hockey includes 8U, 10U B and C teams, 12U A and B teams, a 14U A team, an 18U team, and the Tigers, a high school-age team that consists of SYH 18U players.

“[This coming season] we will have a bantam B team because at every level we want to try and have at least two teams,” said Miller. “Our motive is to have each player play on a team at each level. And we don’t try to push kids into a higher level. We try to have a normal progression.

“We tell coaches what we’re looking for at a specific level and focus on the needs of those players.”

Another reason for the popularity of Summit Youth Hockey is its learn-to-skate and learn-to-play programs.

“We’re definitely an organization that builds from the ground up,” said Miller. “We offer a learn-to-skate program that funnels into our learn-to-play program.”

The latter is aimed at players 10 and under, and offers several player development options that, as Miller noted, are designed to help youngsters improve their basic skills.

“Player development is the key for long-term hockey success,” said Miller. “Our progressive training program helps build a solid skating and skills foundation while still having fun.”

Finding the right coaches is of major importance to Summit Youth Hockey.

“We have a great coaching staff that’s youthful but has lots of experience,” said Miller. “We try to bring in younger coaches that aren’t parents.

“Our peewee A staff includes two college club players that are retired and a former Miami of Ohio college player. Our longest tenured coach coaches our squirt B team because his skill set fits the squirt B level.”

To ensure the growth of Summit Youth Hockey, the organization has made a major investment to improve its rink, the Stephen C. West Ice Arena.

“We have one indoor and one outdoor rink,” said Miller. “Exposing the kids to outdoor hockey has given them a certain appreciation for the game. But because the outdoor rink didn’t have a roof and we get over 350 inches of snow [per year], the town made an investment to build a roof. That’s a $1 million project, which is a major investment.

“We hold practices on a pond that’s resurfaced. It’s the biggest one west of the Mississippi. We want to expose kids to different types of hockey, especially the roots of the sport.”

Summit Youth Hockey coaches and administrators have a sound knowledge of both the subjective and objective aspects of the sport for young players.

“The more we’ve understood coaching, the more we understand it’s parenting instead of old-school,” said Miller. “The mental state is as important as the physical state.

“We’re a developmental organization and not a outcome-based organization. It’s more about the individual players’ development instead of counting wins. We don’t tout ourselves as an exclusive AAA program; we’re a program that can develop kids at all levels.”

In order to do that, Summit Youth Hockey does its best to make the organization attractive to kids who might be inclined to try other sports.

“If the kids aren’t having fun, they’re going to do something else,” said Miller. “We coordinate with other sports. We don’t try to take over the entire calendar. We try to become that puzzle piece that fits in with everything.”

Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.

Popular Articles & Features

2021-22 ATO | WEEK 11

By USA Hockey 10/15/2021, 6:00am MDT

This week’s features: Face-off locations...Goalkeeper sticks...Penalty termination...and more.

QUESTIONTeam B is on the power play (5 v. 4), and takes a penalty. The penalty is placed on the game clock, but Team B does not become shorthanded (play resumes 4 v. 4). Where is the face-off located in this situation?

ANSWER: The resulting on-ice strength when play resumes does not affect where the face-off should be located. The face-off is determined by the penalty(ies) being assessed at the stoppage. So, in the situation below:

12:30 #8 - Minor Penalty  
11:45   #17 - Minor Penalty

The face-off is located in the Team B defending end-zone despite the fact that play will resume at even-strength. The “shorthanded” term is included in the playing rule (Rule 612) to dismiss misconducts and coincidental penalties which are not subject to this rule.


QUESTION: For goalie sticks, is there a minimum thickness that the knob of the stick has to be, and does the knob have to be done in white tape?

ANSWER: Under the current USA Hockey Youth & Adult Playing Rules, there are no rules that mandate the butt-end of a goalkeeper’s stick must be taped, nor that white tape must be used.


QUESTION: Team A had at Penalty at 5:00 (2:00 on Clock - 1 in box - 5 on 4). Team A gets another Penalty at 4:00 (2:00 on Clock - 2 in box - 5 on 3). Team A and Team B get coincidental penalties at 3:30. What happens? How does that work with Team A having stacked penalties?

ANSWER: Since coincidental penalties do not affect the on-ice strength of the game, play would resume 5 vs. 3 with all current penalties continuing and expiring as normal.

The players with coincidental penalties would enter the penalty box immediately and return to the play at the first stoppage after two minutes (just like normal coincidental penalties).


QUESTIONIs the act of placing my stick-blade onto an opponent's stick-blade, ONLY to stop the puck carrier from stick handling, considered hooking? Assume I am next to or slightly behind puck carrier, and no part of my body or stick is touching any part of his body or stick anywhere above the blade. I would also be leaning heavily on my stick to prevent him from lifting or moving his stick only. Consider both my stick blade firmly on top of his turned upside-down or also upright on the ice.

ANSWER: Stick-presses” and “stick-lifts” are considered legal plays as long as the contact is restricted to the lower-portion (blade area) of the opponent’s stick and does not restrict the movement (hook, hold, etc.) of an opponent who is skating. In other words, the stick can be used to briefly lift or press and opponent’s stick for purposes of gaining possession of the puck. However, these actions should be quick and temporary, and should not interfere with the movement of the opponent.


QUESTIONIf the puck goes out of play after hitting the base of the net is the face-off in the attacking zone or in the neutral zone? Rule 612 (c) mentions the "post" and "crossbar" but doesn't say anything about the base of the net. I've seen different officials interpret this rule as differently so I'm curious who is right.

ANSWER: The interpretation of this rule is the puck must strike the goal-frame, glass or boards as the result of a "shot" and leave the playing surface for the face-off to remain inside the attacking zone. A pass or errant shot that strikes the back of the goal frame (i.e. the white-painted part) and leaves the playing surface results in a neutral zone face-off.


QUESTIONWith 13:00 left in a game, Blue has one team in the penalty box with :22 left on a minor penalty. Blue and White each receive coincidental minor penalties for roughing. The Blue player receiving the coincidental minor also receives a 2/10 for head contact. When does the head contact minor penalty start/end? When does the misconduct begin? Does Blue need to add additional player to the box to serve any of the penalties? What happens if a goal is scored with 12:00 left? 10:00 left?

ANSWER: To start...

-  #7 Blue is currently serving a minor penalty (with 0:22 remaining) and play is 5 vs. 4 in favor of White.

-  At 13:00, #10 Blue and #5 White receive coincidental minors (roughing), but #10 Blue also receives an additional minor plus misconduct for Head Contact. At this point both #10 Blue and #5 White enter the penalty bench. #10 Blue must serve 14 minutes (his entire earned penalty time) and #5 White must serve two minutes, and both will leave the penalty bench at the first stoppage after their penalty time elapses.

-  Since #10 Blue earned an additional off-setting minor, Team Blue must place an additional player (#21) in the penalty bench. #21 is there to serve the shorthanded time of the additional penalty, and play will resume 5 vs. 3 in favor of White.

-  If Team White scores a goal at 12:00, #10 Blue’s additional off-setting minor terminates and #21 may leave the penalty bench (#7 Blue’s minor only had 22 seconds remaining at 13:00 and has now expired). Play now starts back at full-strength.

-  If Team White scores a goal at 10:00, all minors have expired (both #7 and #21 Blue have already left the penalty bench), and assuming #5 has not had a chance to leave the penalty bench since his minor penalty started he may now leave the box. #10 Blue will still be sitting tight for a while.

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A Call To Arms

By Harry Thompson 10/14/2021, 12:00pm MDT

Mass Exodus Of Young Officials Threatens The Future Of The Game