skip navigation

New York Level 4 Coaching Clinic sets a high bar

By Jayson Hron, 01/10/18, 7:15PM MST


International flair, outdoor game among the highlights

USA Hockey’s Coaching Education Program ranks among the most rigorous in all of youth sport. The Level 1, Level 2 and Level 3 clinics set a firm foundation for creating a great youth hockey environment. Next comes the Level 4 clinic, which for most attendees, is an eye-opener.

“It’s quite a bit different than the Level 1 through 3; it’s more intense,” said Chuck Gridley, New York District coach-in-chief. “Almost always, coaches walk out surprised because it’s at a dramatically higher level.”

USA Hockey coaches-in-chief host approximately 35 Level 4 clinics annually. Gridley conducted the most recent, held in conjunction with the IIHF World Junior Championship in Buffalo, New York. In keeping with the typically unique nature of the Level 4, this one had a special flavor, but it wasn’t the hot wings. Instead, it was a distinctly international fare.

Among the highlights:

  • After a welcome from USA Hockey’s Mark Tabrum, IIHF councilman Frank Gonzalez opened the proceedings. The former Spanish national team forward now serves as president of Spain’s Ice Sports Federation.
  • Martin Dahlin, father of projected 2018 No. 1 NHL draft pick Rasmus Dahlin (who converted to playing defense full-time just one year ago), presented on the extremely successful youth hockey development model in Sweden which, incidentally, does not allow full-ice play until the 12U age classification and emphasizes community-based participation.
  • Kalle Valiaho, a regional coach with the Finnish Ice Hockey Association, presented on youth hockey player development in Finland. He also teamed up with New York Associate Coach-in-Chief Molly Morgoslepov to run an off-ice training breakout session.
  • Former Buffalo Sabres and St. Louis Blues goaltending coach Jim Corsi, who played between the pipes with the Italian national team in 1982, taught the Level 4 goaltending session. Corsi played professionally with the Quebec Nordiques and the Edmonton Oilers in addition to a stint as a professional soccer player in Montreal.
  • Boulder (Colo.) Hockey Club director Michele Amidon, formerly general manager of the USA Hockey Women’s National Team and also an American Development Model manager, presented on the art of teaching and coaching effective body contact. Amidon was a member of the 1992 U.S. Women’s National Team that traveled to Finland to compete in the IIHF Women’s World Championship.
  • An American duo with international playing experience as members of Team USA – Kevyn Adams and Brian Gionta – were joined by Canadian Matt Ellis on a player panel that concluded Day 1 of the Level 4 clinic.

A pair of USA Hockey staff members – Kenny Rausch and Rich Hansen – were also among the presenters. They were joined by 2018 U.S. National Junior Team assistant coaches Grant Potulny and Steve Miller, who provided an inside look at the Team USA coaching process.

In all, it was an outstanding two days of education, discussion and networking for the 159 attending coaches. They also got to be part of the memorable IIHF World Junior Championship outdoor game, watching the U.S. top Canada 4-3 amidst the snow and spectacle at New Era Field.

“We make strides every year and our goal always is to give our coaches great opportunities to learn,” said Gridley. “Each year, these clinics get more engaging and inspiring. The coaches leave with new ideas and new vigor. It’s usually pretty inspiring, and this one was no different in that regard. I’ve probably done 14 of these Level 4 clinics and this was the best I’ve seen. We got a ton of positive feedback afterward.”

Recent News