The Hockey Education Program (HEP) addresses four main areas for improvement in the youth hockey culture: skill development; athletic participation; moral behavior and sportsmanship; and enjoyment by players. Three integrated components address these four challenges:
Skill Development. Skills are learned, evolve over time and integrate knowledge, dexterity, coordination and competence. The goal of the HEP skill development component is to teach skills, have players master skills and evaluate players on a set of age appropriate skills that build on each other at each level of play. Youth hockey players, on average, touch the puck only a few seconds in a game. HEP sets minimum guidelines of three practices to one game to give young players an opportunity to build skills.
Education. HEP’s education component will center on a unique educational program for coaches and parents that has been researched for over 25 years. It will teach coaches skills to develop well-rounded athletes and – as importantly – to promote good sportsmanship. It will teach parents to create realistic expectations for their children’s youth hockey experience.
Accountability. Using the Fair Play program will address major concerns in youth hockey such as lack of respect for opponents, abuse of officials, inappropriate spectator behavior, on-ice violence, a win-at-all-costs attitude and undue pressure on players to win reducing the fun children have playing hockey today. Fair Play rewards sportsmanship and withholds that reward for inappropriate behavior by players, coaches and spectators. Fair Play will not decide the outcome of individual games but consistently good (or bad) behavior will have a cumulative effect through league standings and playoff seedings.
Fair Play. Fair Play holds all stakeholders in youth hockey accountable for their actions by rewarding proper behavior and penalizing improper behavior. Under the Fair Play program, each team starts the game scheduled to receive an extra "Fair Play" point in the standings for playing the game with good sportsmanship. A team loses its Fair Play point if they exceed the penalty minute threshold.
Excellence in Coaching. The Minnesota Wild and Minnesota Hockey are proud to present the HEP Excellence in Coaching Program which recognizes youth hockey coaches at all levels whose behaviors provide for a positive athletic experience allowing players to develop to their greatest potential, have fun and learn to love the game. Parents, players, officials, and other coaches are encouraged to nominate coaches who meet the award criteria.
HEP Essay Contest. Each fall, youth hockey players are encouraged to submit a themed essay. The winner of the essay contest is announced during the Hockey Day Minnesota broadcast later that winter. The essay contest winner receives a unique Wild game day experience for themselves and their youth hockey team with ice time at Xcel Energy Center and luxury suite tickets for a Wild home game. The essay contest supports the HEP mission by focusing on topics like sportsmanship, teamwork, respect for opponents and having fun.
HEP will ensure a positive athletic experience for youth hockey players by integrating a progressive approach to skill development with coaching excellence and accountability through Fair Play.
Terry Evavold Glen Andresen
Dave Margenau Dennis Green
Aynsley Smith Mike MacMillan
Rob Schuman Steve Morris
Sue Redepenning Christian Koelling
Hal Tearse Andrea Altman