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Jeff Barat Leads Flint Hockey Into New Rink and New Era

By Greg Bates, 02/16/17, 10:30AM MST


Renovated rink and try-hockey-for-free programs a hit with new players

When the Greater Flint Hockey Association (GFHA) got back up and running in summer 2014, it meant brighter days were ahead.

The previous two years were a dark time for the association after its home rink had shut down. But the reopening and renaming of the Crystal Fieldhouse Ice Arena in Burton, Michigan, meant local kids had another venue to be able to skate and play hockey.

Now the GFHA — which has been around for decades and battled through a number of rink shutdowns — is thriving at its “new” rink.

“We got a lot of support from the community,” said Jeff Barat, GFHA president, treasurer and disabled hockey director.

Barat, who took over the three positions when the GFHA started back up, has been a driving force in helping the association get its numbers to gradually increase.

“I think we’ve made pretty good progress,” Barat said. “Our program’s basically 8-and-under — we have three teams that are 8-and-under.”

The association went from six kids in 2014 to over 70 now. Barat said the Flint area is still in tough financial straits following the country’s last recession.

One big reason numbers have grown so quickly is because the GFHA offers a try-hockey-for-free session at least once a month. Without the free activities, local parents might not be able to afford having their kids play hockey.

“It’s open to the community,” Barat said. “The word’s pretty much out now that every month we get a lot of repeat customers that don’t sign up, but that’s their thing. They come out and play hockey.”

The GFHA, which is offering its next try-hockey-for-free day on Feb. 25, usually gets about 20-25 skaters for each event. Barat noted that two or three kids per month end up signing up to play in the association after taking part in try-hockey-for-free.

“We keep an email record and we notify everybody every month when it’s coming and ask them to sign up,” Barat said. “We do advertising on the radio.”

Kids can come out to the rink on the free days with no strings attached. The GFHA received a bunch of donated equipment from the Detroit area that has really helped out.

“Through the learn-to-play, we have enough for everybody, we really do,” Barat said. “Also, if someone wants to try hockey, we give them a bag of equipment. We just ask them to bring it back.

“We don’t put them in the prettiest stuff, but it works.”

Also, if a player grows out of their equipment, the association is happy to trade gear with them to keep costs low.

“I’d like to find more ways to get the game more affordable, that’s my No. 1 goal,” Barat said. “We do stuff like if you want to try it for a day, you can just come out and try hockey for free any time. But it’s by appointment so we have a coach available to work with.”

Prior to taking over administrative positions in the GFHA, Barat was a coach from 1995-2010 when his kids were involved in the program. He coached from 8U up to 12U.

With his coaching background, Barat likes to stop by youth practices and get on the ice when he can. He’s also instrumental is helping lead the roughly 20 coaches in the program.

“All our new coaches I’ll work with them for about a month and then I’ll kind of disappear,” Barat said. “That way they don’t rely on me too much.”

Barat, 57, is retired and has time to dedicate to the association. That’s a big reason he took on administrative positions when the GFHA was in need of a president.

“I was at the wrong place at the wrong time,” Barat said laughing. “No, I enjoy it or I wouldn’t do it.”

The GFHA recently added a new disabled hockey director, who will relieve Barat from one of his extra duties. That will give him a chance to concentrate on being the president and treasurer. In his positions, Barat spends plenty of time scheduling, making sure everything is lined up with the coaches and handling the learn-to-play program.

Barat loves being a part of the association and playing a major role and it continues to grow.

“It just keeps you busy and you see the kids,” Barat said. “I think we’ve done a lot of good.”

Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.

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2022-23 ATO | WEEK 13

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

New Season, New Rules for USA Hockey

By Greg Bates 09/24/2021, 11:45am MDT

USA Hockey board approved rule changes for 2021-22 this past June