Nevada will be an American hockey hub this week as Las Vegas hosts the Golden Knights’ NHL Rookie Faceoff and a sizable USA Hockey coaching education clinic. The events will run concurrently at City National Arena and the Red Rock Casino as part of an energetic kickoff to the 2018-19 season.
The Golden Knights will be one of six NHL teams participating at the Rookie Faceoff, which also includes the Anaheim Ducks, Arizona Coyotes, Colorado Avalanche, Los Angeles Kings and San Jose Sharks. That four-state representation will be more than doubled by USA Hockey’s coaching clinic, which is set to host attendees from 10 states, including some from as far away as Florida and Alaska. In all, some 80 youth hockey coaches, directors and administrators registered for the Pacific District Level 4 certification event, where they’ll experience deep dives into USA Hockey’s American Development Model, including a goalie-specific training track and on-ice sessions with 10U, 12U and 14U players from the Junior Golden Knights, while also learning how to use USA Hockey programs to maximize the growth and sustainability of their hockey programs.
“This will be the first time the Pacific District has hosted a hockey coaching education event of this magnitude, combining the hockey director curriculum with the CEP elements, both in the classroom and on the ice, with skaters and goalie-specific education and certification,” said Flint Doungchak, USA Hockey’s Pacific District coach in chief. “So we’re excited for that and we’re grateful to the Golden Knights for helping make it happen at the same time and venue as the Rookie Faceoff.
“We’re trying what I think is a more realistic coaching education experience with youth players involved, so this is going to be a great opportunity for our attendees. We’re looking forward to a great four days of learning and interaction.”
Joining Doungchak and the attendees in Las Vegas will be Tom Farrey, executive director of the Aspen Institute’s Sports & Society program. Farrey will speak about building healthy communities through developmentally minded youth sport. Several members of USA Hockey’s American Development Model staff, including Joe Bonnett, Bob Mancini and Ken Martel, will also be deployed to help guide the coaching education, along with USA Hockey’s Kevin McLaughlin, Kenny Rausch and CEP Director Mark Tabrum. Additionally, Matt Kakabeeke, USA Hockey’s associate coach in chief from Michigan, will be in Las Vegas, as will USA Hockey regional goalie development coordinator Steve Thompson. In all, it’ll provide a comprehensive exploration of scientific- and experiential-based player development best practices from around the globe.
USA Hockey’s ADM staff not in Nevada will be in the North Star State for a concurrent grassroots educational event hosted by Minnesota Hockey: the 2018 Hockey Director Conference. Designed for hockey directors and player development leaders in youth hockey associations, it will deliver much of the same educational content scheduled for Las Vegas, helping spread hockey knowledge throughout the country.
“Bringing this event to Minnesota and making it more accessible for our local leaders has been a goal of mine for several years,” said Dave Margenau, Minnesota Hockey president. “The conference is a unique opportunity for our hockey skill development leaders to learn from experts as to what others are doing in the world based on the science of athlete development and learn from each other as to what other Minnesota associations are doing.”
USA Hockey’s Guy Gosselin, a two-time U.S. Olympian, along with ADM colleagues Roger Grillo, Rich Hansen, Dan Jablonic, Scott Paluch and Emily West, a former NCAA national champion at the University of Minnesota, will lead participants through on-ice demonstrations, group discussions and presentations starting Friday (Sept. 7) and concluding early Sunday afternoon. Key topics will include understanding and capitalizing on long-term athlete development principles, how to successfully implement the ADM, practice planning, teaching body contact and body-checking and much more.
Minnesota’s 2018 Hockey Director Conference will also serve as a USA Hockey High-Performance Coaching Education Program clinic. Attendees will receive a one level upgrade to their CEP certification.