Welcome to the 2014-2015 season and the rich tradition of ice hockey in Minnesota! Our community based hockey model is a clear leader in providing all players with the opportunity to have fun playing the game and reach their potential.
All of this would not be possible if not for the dedication and tireless effort of thousands of volunteers that are Minnesota Hockey. For all of you, we have the deepest appreciation and say “Thank You.”
Minnesota Hockey’s priorities continue to be Growth, Player Development and Safety. Growing the Game by introducing children to the great sport and providing programs to keep them playing into adulthood. Maximizing Player Development by providing age appropriate training so they will learn to love the game and achieve their goals. Improving Safety by providing the safest possible environment on the ice by teaching players the correct technique and enforcing rules to discourage dangerous play and off the ice by protecting all participants from abuse and misconduct through the SafeSport program.
Minnesota Hockey supports initiatives to grow the game by local hockey associations with grants and lists of best practices as well as encouraging interaction between local leaders and providing sets of starter gear through the Gear Up Minnesota! program. Last season, Minnesota led the nation in the number of associations participating in USA Hockey’s 2 and 2 Challenge program and Try Hockey for Free events, which paid off with our biggest increase in new 8U players over the past five years.
The American Development Model continues to gain greater support as more communities utilize the best practices in our Minnesota Development Model to enhance their age-appropriate approach to player development. In addition, the Hard Ice Divider program enables our associations to purchase dividers at a reduced cost, leading to higher quality half and cross ice playing surfaces for their players. The CCM Minnesota Hockey High Performance programs provide opportunities for over 3,000 players age 14 and older to experience practicing and playing with and against the best players in our state. The excitement of our state tournaments has been enhanced by adding real time scoring and web-based telecasts of the games. Our disabled hockey programs continue to grow, adding teams in the special, sled and warriors divisions. Through these and many other efforts, we continue to add to our rich tradition and national leadership.
Minnesota Hockey and its affiliate associations provide everyone the opportunity to experience the great game of ice hockey, from four year-olds to the adult player, the recreational player to the elite player, as well as athletes with disabilities. Hockey is indeed for everyone.
Again, I wish to thank our volunteers who make it possible for Minnesota Hockey to be the premier development model in the USA and the mothers and fathers who support their hockey players to enjoy our game to the fullest.
Best wishes for the 2014-15 season and most importantly, have FUN!
See you at the rink,
President, Minnesota Hockey