Welcome to the 2015-2016 season and the rich tradition of ice hockey in Minnesota. We continue to be the leader in providing players with the opportunity to learn to love the game, develop their skills and have fun because of the strength of our community based hockey associations.
Our success would not be possible if it were not for the dedication and tireless efforts of thousands of volunteers that are the lifeblood of Minnesota Hockey. For all of the volunteers we have the deepest appreciation and extend a big “Thank You”.
Our 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 techniques and enforcing rules to discourage dangerous play and off the ice by protecting all participants from abuse and misconduct through the SafeSport program.
In 2014-15 we grew the base of Mites/8U Girls for the second consecutive season and as a state led the nation in the number of participants in those classifications. The Minnesota Hockey Pass the Puck Grants, Gear Up Minnesota and Little Wild programs in collaboration with USA Hockey’s 2 and 2 Challenge and Try Hockey for Free assist local hockey associations in attracting new participants to experience the fun of playing hockey. It is through the tremendous efforts of our local associations which make it possible to continue to grow the game.
Our player development model based on the principles of the Long Term Development Model and Age Appropriate Training, has produced more players going on to play at higher levels of hockey than any other state. In May 2015, we held our first Hockey Director Symposium where local hockey association player development leaders had the opportunity to learn from player development experts from around the world and exchange ideas on how they could improve their own program. The Minnesota Hockey Hard Ice Divider program where local associations can purchase the dividers at a reduced cost, is entering our third season. During the first two seasons, more than forty associations participated. Cross and half ice games for Mites and 8U Girls is becoming the standard of play, providing more ice time, puck touches, and fun for the participants at that age. The CCM High Performance Programs provide the opportunity for more than 4,000 players, 14 and older, the opportunity to practice and play with and against the best players in our state.
Minnesota Hockey has also been proactive in encouraging good sportsmanship and fueling players’ all-around development by establishing a partnership with the Positive Coaching Alliance (PCA) to conduct parent, coach and leader workshops with local associations. The principles of the Double-Goal Coach, Second Goal Parent, Triple Goal Competitor and Single Goal Leader will establish a positive culture where participants can grow as hockey players and people. Every association can benefit from these workshops so we hope you will encourage your association to establish a partnership with the PCA.
Minnesota Hockey, local hockey associations and programs provide everyone the opportunity to experience the excitement and fun of playing 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 and partners who make it possible for Minnesota Hockey to be the premier development model in the United States.
Best wishes for an exciting, rewarding and fun filled 2015-16 hockey season.
See you at the rink,
President, Minnesota Hockey