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 the foundation of enjoyment for players of all ages and abilities. HEP encourages a long term approach to player development that emphasizes the teaching of age-appropriate skills and fostering a love for the game. By focusing on the mastery of on and off ice skills, HEP will help provide kids with the tools they need to succeed in hockey and in life, while educating parents on how to assist them in reaching their goals.
Education. HEP’s education component will center on helping parents create realistic expectations for their children’s youth hockey experience. Research continues to show that the number one reason kids quit sports is a lack of fun. Many times undue pressure to win and other societal influences force players out of hockey before they reach their potential. Our goal is to reduce or eliminate those pressures, allowing players the freedom to have fun and develop at their pace.
Accountability. Through the use of the Fair Play program and other initiatives, HEP will address major concerns in youth hockey related to inappropriate spectator behavior, win-at-all-costs attitudes and other behaviors that reduce the fun children have playing hockey. Our mission is to reward sportsmanship and proper behavior in a manner that empowers players, coaches and parents to hold each other to a higher standard of conduct.
Recognized coaches have the opportunity to take in a Minnesota Wild practice.
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.
Owen Faste (Chisago Lakes) was the winner of the 2014 HEP Essay Contest
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 actively encourage a positive athletic experience for youth hockey players by providing a comprehensive approach to player development through parent education and accountability.
Terry Evavold Glen Andresen
Dave Margenau Dennis Green
Aynsley Smith Mike MacMillan
Rob Shuman Steve Morse
Lisa Mackeben Christian Koelling
Hal Tearse Jeff Johannsen