Volume 1 Issue 8                                                                       June 23, 2014

The 2014-2015 Mite Hockey Season

Tier I Mite ADM Program Filling Up Quickly!

Hershey Savoring Sweet Success with ADM

Sorting ADM Truths from Myths

Video: Hal Tearse: Why Are We Involved in Youth Hockey?

Video: Tony Granato: Why We Play

Just for Coaches: On- & Off-Ice Practice Plans


The 2014-2015 Mite Hockey Season

 By Jim Clare

AHAI has announced the programming for Mite Hockey for the upcoming Fall season. Before I explain, one change that has been made by USA Hockey is the addition of the U6 Mite classification. Mites have been split into two age classifications so keep that in mind as we discuss what was passed by AHAI for Mite Hockey. As many of you know, USA Hockey requires all its State Affiliates to abide by the rules as written in their guidebook. One rule that has received special attention is the mite rule that requires all mites to play on a reduced ice surface (half-ice or cross-ice). They have also allowed State Affiliates to apply for an exception to that rule to allow some full-ice hockey if so desired.


There are 34 USA Hockey Affiliates, of which 18 did not apply for any exception and have gone all half-ice/cross-ice. All Affiliates have gone to cross-ice only for U6. 16 Affiliates have applied for an exception and received it from the review committee at USA hockey, including AHAI. This committee is made up of mainly Affiliate Presidents. However, as most know, AHAI's original exception was for 25 full-ice games and 20 half-ice games for the upcoming season. The Board at AHAI fought for this exception even though they knew it was an uphill battle. For comparison, the closest exception to ours was for 12 full-ice games beginning January 1st, all others were 10 games or less beginning January 1st.


Based on being so far outside the norm, AHAI was presented with a decision, ignore the USA Hockey rule and put Illinois in jeopardy of sanctions for violating it (possible sanctions included no teams allowed at Nationals or player development camps) or submit an exception that is acceptable to the committee. Faced with this, the Board made a decision to not put our players and teams in jeopardy. We compromised with USA Hockey and still received the most liberal exception, 15 full-ice games after December 1st.






On the heels of the recent ADM Open House hosted by Chicago Mission at Seven Bridges Ice Arena on May 31, registrations for the Fall Program at all three Tier I organizations are pouring in. Over 55 skaters participated in the 70 minute skate along with Tier I coaches and USA Hockey staff. The kids were put through a fun, challenging, and rigorous skate while the parents attended an information session. USA Hockey ADM Regional Manager, Bob Mancini, addressed the parents and answered questions about the ADM Program. Gino Cavallini, Hockey Director of the Chicago Mission, shared the story of his own son's experience with ADM style practices and half-ice games while living in Europe. Gino discussed the benefits that his son, who is now a freshman on the University of Wisconsin Hockey team, received as a mite that prepared him to play his first full-ice game as a Squirt back in the States.  Gino stated, "It was a great introduction to hockey for my son. The cross-ice format was how they played in Europe at those early ages and this was back in the mid 1990's while I was still playing professionally. The kids couldn't wait to get back to the rink. Five years of skill development while playing cross ice never hindered his growth and development in the game." 


Additionally, Bob Mancini and Ty Hennes, USA Hockey ADM Regional Managers, spent time prior to the on-ice skate with the coaches discussing the details of the ADM Program, on-ice implementation, long term athlete development, and the importance of off-ice training. Registration opened June 1st, and over 100 skaters signed up in the first week. Please click HERE for more information on this new and exciting program. Click HERE to view photos from the Chicago Mission Open House.



Hershey Savoring Sweet Success with ADM


 By Jayson Hron - USA Hockey 


Goal differential.
It's an unusual subject to lead a youth hockey story, but when a team's goal differential improves by 137 goals in one year, the statistic precedes the anecdote.
Want more? One year ago, the 12U Hershey Junior Bears scored 2.4 goals per game. In 2013-14, with essentially the same roster of girls between the ages of 8 and 13, they doubled that average. At the same time, they cut their goals against to less than 1.5 per game and the Junior Bears' goaltenders registered 13 shutouts.
So what ignited the improvement? Certainly another year of physical maturation played a role. Players like Bekah Smith, 13, sprouted seemingly overnight, scoring 28 goals as a stronger, taller version of the girl who scored just a single goal in 2012-13. But there was another change complementing her growth, and that of her teammates. It was a change in the team's training philosophy.



Sorting ADM Truths

from Myths 


 By USA Hockey 


Myth 1: ADM fails in youth goalie development. Kids need to be identified as goaltenders and taught goaltending-specific skills at young ages.


Truth: Almost none of the NHL's top goaltenders began playing between the pipes until they were at least 9 years old. Finland, which is viewed as a model for producing great goaltenders, doesn't let kids play full-time in goal until age 10.


Goaltending experts worldwide state that, at 8U, it's far more important to develop overall athleticism and skating ability than goaltending technique. And, as Kevin Woodley recently wrote in InGoal Magazine, "most NHL goaltending coaches will tell you they'd rather add some structure to a skilled athletic goalie than try to add athleticism to a technician." Thus, the ADM's emphasis on development of athleticism at young ages is ideal for skaters and future goalies alike. 





Why Are We Involved in
Youth Hockey?
Tony Granato:
Why We Play



Minnesota Hockey Coach-in-Chief, Hal Tearse, has 38+ years of coaching experience from Mites to College Hockey. He discusses the question, why is it that we are involved in hockey? What is really important as a coach and parent of hockey players? Listen to Coach Tearse share his thoughts on these and other questions.


Chicago native, former NHL player and current coach, Tony Granato, speaks briefly on understanding why the kids play the game. As parents and coaches we need to reinforce these with our skaters. 


As we have learned over the course of implementing the ADM across the state, it is all about increased puck touches and constant activity on the ice for the 8U skater.  Good, quality station based practices vastly increase the amount of both for the player.  Having tracked players in both full-ice practices and ADM style practices, the amount of added touches and movement for any one skater is 4 fold.  So if we are to give the parents their moneys worth and the skater the development they deserve than station based practices is the best way to do both.



Here is an off-ice drill not for those adventurous coaches out there. Watch as USA Hockey ADM Regional Manager, Ty Hennes, leads a group of kids through an off-ice drill at the Vierumaki Camp for the IIHF.




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