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NARCE Conference Paying Dividends for Andover Hockey

By Mike Scandura - Special to USA Hockey, 01/25/17, 9:45AM MST


Association directors Eddie and Kelly Hill applying lessons learned

It started with Roger Grillo, USA Hockey’s Massachusetts/New England District American Development Model manager encouraging Andover Hockey Association hockey directors Eddie and Kelly Hill to attend the North American Rink Conference and Expo in Columbus, Ohio.

The Hills immediately put together a presentation for the board of directors.

“Andover is a huge association [of 36 teams],” Eddie Hill said. “They asked us for help. Now the association has structure. Our practices have structure and meaning. It’s a guide we’re following made up by brilliant hockey minds."

“Fast forward four and five months out, our parents, coaches and players are seeing the benefits of [USA Hockey’s American Development Model] — specifically the structure of the ADM that we put in place.”

Of all the courses that were offered, the one that proved to be the most beneficial to the Hills was USA Hockey’s certification course.

“For me, personally, the experience in that course was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had,” Hill said. “For us to listen and learn from the most brilliant hockey kinds in our country … Kelly and I were sponges.

“The course itself and the presentation was so invigorating for us. We run camps in Massachusetts and this course was a breeding ground for information.”

The Hills also relished the opportunity to further educate themselves in long-term athlete development.

“From an association standpoint, what I wanted to bring back to Andover were the priorities for developing youth hockey players,” Hill said. “Fundamental skills are a huge piece for me. In addition, character development and life skills are huge in what we do as hockey directors and coaches.

“What we identify with in our program includes being a good teammate, citizen and family member. Hockey has good life skills built into it.”

Even though Hill already was cognizant of the ADM’s benefits, his belief was fortified after attending the NARCE conference.

“You implement the ADM or you don’t,” he said. “We chose to implement a world-leading program in the ADM.”

The ADM is of particular importance to the Hills because, in their positions with Andover, they conduct coaches meetings, create and distribute practice plans for the entire association, hold tryouts and placements and more.

“We observe games and see each team play twice a year,” Hill said. “We created a skill development progress report.

“Most importantly we run team practices which we call practice plusses. Two days a week, Kelly and I hold a three-team practice.”

The Hills also are involved in the annual Heseltine Tournament, which is a cross-ice 8U tournament held in November.

“What was amazing to me, personally, was watching our 8Us play and watching the small-area puck battles and watching how hard our kids were competing for the puck,” Hill said. “I was thrilled with the compete level of our kids.

“Then, at practice, I had the same group in a small area for a two-on-two game and saw the same thing. It really hit me that our 8U players are competing so hard for the puck.”

Because the Hills ensure that players are put in a game-like environment for practices, when it’s time to play games, what they’ve learned has become second nature.

“We have station-based practices where we take away time and space,” Hill said. “A lightning bolt went through me. I shouldn’t have been surprised, because Andover is a special place to be right now because we have an athlete-first approach.

“We now have structure for our program from 8U all the way up. We have every team and coach moving in the same direction.”

That direction ensures players will progress in their development instead of regressing or plateauing.

“Number one, with our practices, our approach has been from a coaching standpoint that they have become our games,” Hill said. “Our coaches bring excitement to our drills. The players feed on that. The coaches also bring knowledge. The coaches get the practices plans e-mailed to them.

“When it’s time for practice, we’re moving. Every second is accounted for.”

Hill firmly believes that structured practices combined with the ADM are of the utmost importance for younger players.

“Our young players are only young players for so many years,” he said. “If they don’t get those fundamental skills, they miss that window of opportunity to learn.

“It’s the same as basic reading skills in schools.”        

Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.

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By USA Hockey Officiating 11/25/2022, 6:45am MST

QUESTIONA player received her second misconduct during a game and was assessed a game misconduct. The player had to skate in front of the opponent's bench to get to the rink exit, and as she did multiple players on the opponent's bench began banging the boards and cheering (essentially taunting her). A bench minor was assessed for unsportsmanlike like conduct to the cheering team. Was this an appropriate unsportsmanlike call?

ANSWER: This behavior by the non-penalized team should be penalized under Rule 601 for “taunting”. If the behavior is only committed by one player, then that player should be penalized. However, if the entire team engages in taunting behavior, and the team coaches make no effort to stop it, then a bench minor penalty would be correct.


QUESTION: During a game there is a scuffle following a check-from-behind into the boards. I reach the scuffle and notice Player A has his hand on the throat of Player B and is pushing him backwards towards the boards. I couldn't tell if he was squeezing the throat or not. What is the correct call? Would this just be a minor for roughing (or something else), or considered a match penalty for attempt to injure?

ANSWER: Considering the USA Hockey Playing Rules mandate a Major plus Game Misconduct for Grabbing the Face-mask, a Match penalty should be assessed to any player who grabs an opponent’s throat. What other rationale could apply to this situation other than the offending player is “attempting to injure” the opponent?


QUESTIONA puck was motionless in the high-slot and an attacking player was skating in from just past the center-line. I (as a goalie) came out to the puck and knocked it away. Just after knocking the puck away, that player and I collided and he fell down. We were moving about the same speed (not super fast). It was pure chest to chest contact. The referee told me that he would assess a penalty if I did that again. What is the USA Hockey's assessment of that interaction?

ANSWERIt's very difficult to answer this question without actually seeing the play. However, due to the fact that strict rules exist that limit player contact with the goalkeeper, it stands to reason that goalkeepers cannot make any reckless contact with players. In the situation you describe, the opposing forward did not have possession of the puck therefore they may not be checked.

However, if the contact was unavoidable, non-injury threatening and incidental from a clean battle for a 50/50 puck then the contact could be deemed “Body Contact” and not against the rules.


QUESTIONTeam A receives a minor plus misconduct, and Team B receives a minor during the same stoppage of play. Since the minors are coincidental, does the misconduct start as soon as the coincidental minors end? Or does it start after two minutes and a whistle?

ANSWER: In any case where a player is assessed a minor plus misconduct, they must serve the entire penalty time in the penalty bench and the misconduct would start immediately once the minor expires.


QUESTIONAttacking player in attacking zone bats the puck towards the net. The goalie decides to cover the puck and play is blown dead. Does this constitute as a “Hand Pass” situation? Do goaltenders count as player that can nullify “hand passes”? Where does the following face-off take place in the above situation?

ANSWERThis situation is not a Hand-Pass since a teammate never touched the puck. The USA Hockey Playing Rules allow a player to bat the puck with the hand, but it may not be played by a teammate immediately following. Since a teammate never touched the puck, there is no Hand-Pass violation.

The face-off would stay inside the attacking end-zone.


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

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