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You've Stepped on the Ice, Now Develop Hockey Sense

By USA Hockey Intelligym, 12/06/17, 7:15AM MST

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San Jose Sharks forward Matt Nieto uses The Hockey Intelligym to help ensure his game is at the highest level.

Nieto first began using The Hockey Intelligym, which was developed to help teach hockey sense, back in 2009 when he was at USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program.

“At the NTDP, we were the first team to use this program. We used the IntelliGym a few sessions a week and I immediately began to notice improvements in my game.  I was making smart, good, quick decisions on the ice. I’ll try anything if it helps improve my game and it certainly did.”

Hockey sense is one of the most important skills in the game, yet it’s the hardest to teach. The Hockey IntelliGym, a software-based cognitive tutor, is the standard in hockey sense training.

USA Hockey, in collaboration with Applied Cognitive Engineering, created the Hockey IntelliGym. It was originally developed by cognitive psychologists, computer engineers, and game theorists to develop precise instincts in military fighter pilots. Resembling a video game with cognitive scenarios similar to what players will experience on the ice, the IntelliGym trains the decision-making skills necessary to stay one step ahead of the puck and the game.

If you’re aspiring to continue to improve your game and do everything you can to better youself, Nieto suggests you try the Intelligym.

 “The IntelliGym has certainly helped me on the ice with making sharper, quicker decisions, especially with reading plays,” says the Long Beach, California, native, one of many NHLers that have used the Intelligym.  “I have noticed improvement in my game as a result of the program and look forward to progressing this year. “

For more information on the science and research behind The Hockey IntelliGym, and to take advantage of the unique opportunity , visit USAHockeyIntelliGym.com.

USA Hockey members are entitled for 15% off by entering your registration number during the purchase process by visiting the shop

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Many sports across the board have begun to see a decline in their number of officials. USA Hockey is no different, with numbers lagging slightly behind player growth.

With that in mind, USA Hockey has made a particularly concerted effort over the last couple of years to incentivize officials to stick around.

Not surprisingly that was the main topic discussed at the annual USA Hockey's Winter Meetings, according to National Referee-in-Chief Dave LaBuda. 

“I'd say the overriding tone of the meeting was us talking about retention and trying to come up with ways in which to address that particular issue,” LaBuda said. “It's a very complex situation. There are a number of different factors that go into why an official decides not to stay registered. We can only address a certain number of those factors and the rest we have to hope fix themselves in some way.”

In an effort to be proactive, USA Hockey has implemented sweeping change in the registration process for existing officials.

It started by revamping the registration fees, and while some of the other minutiae is rather hard to digest, the most notable change is the reduction of registration requirements for officials that reach the Level 3 or Level 4 status. 

As soon as an official has obtained Level 3 or Level 4 status for three consecutive years, they will become eligible to apply for tenured status. In order to attain that tenured status, officials must also attend what USA Hockey is calling an advanced officiating symposium. 

“It's designed to encourage people to continue their level of registration and to advance to a higher level of registration,” LaBuda said. “Just getting them to climb that ladder and try to attain the highest level of registration will make them better officials, and in turn, improve the game.”

Essentially, USA Hockey wants to send a message to its officials, making it clear that their time is important to the organization. 

“We understand that people's time nowadays is becoming tighter and tighter,” LaBuda said. “We wanted to make sure that we made the entire process as efficient as possible from a time standpoint.”

It seems to be working so far as USA Hockey has been able to stabilize its registration numbers over the last few years, according to LaBuda.

“We are starting to see some movement in that retention area,” LaBuda said. “It seems like every sport is experiencing a critical loss of officials to work their sport. We are hoping that these changes in the registration process will help us retain more officials down the road. It’s been a positive step in the right direction so far.”

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