For the NHL’s New Jersey Devils, Welcome Back Week meant launching its Youth Hockey Alliance program for 2018-19. Kevin Fox, the Devils’ senior manager of grassroots hockey initiatives, helped lead the festivities Monday night at the Prudential Center, where more than 50 club directors convened to map out the coming season in and around the Garden State.
Devils head coach John Hynes, formerly of USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program, served as one of the event headliners, along with Devils alumni Bruce Driver and newly named vice president of business development Martin Brodeur. Kenny Rausch and Rich Hansen from USA Hockey were also on hand to detail how the Devils and USA Hockey collaborate to deliver high-performance youth and girls hockey programming with the American Development Model.
The Devils have demonstrated a passion for growing grassroots hockey through recent years with numerous events and programs aimed not only at welcoming more children to the sport, but also supporting coaching and officiating education. Fox and his colleagues covered all of that and more Monday, giving local hockey leaders a summary of the resources and opportunities available to them in 2018-19.
"The Devils organization did a fantastic job reaching the leaders in its youth hockey community to collaborate on efforts to grow the game and deliver an awesome experience for our young athletes, coaches and officials in the future,” said Hansen. “It’s great to be part of that effort and we’re definitely excited to see the results as they play out not just this season, but in years to come.”