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What is HEP?

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.

Major Initiatives

Recognized coaches have the opportunity to take in a Minnesota Wild practice.

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, teams that exhibit good sportsmanship and behavior receive additional points in their league standings. 

The Coaching Excellence Award program is presented by the Minnesota Wild, Minnesota Hockey and Park Dental with the goal of recognizing 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.  

Our Positive Coaching Alliance (PCA) Grant program offers youth hockey in Minnesota the opportunity to receive a grant to offset the costs associated with hosting parent workshops in their communities. PCA's parent workshop promotes a positive, character-building athletic environment in which “Second-Goal Parents” focus on the life lessons their kids can learn from sports.

Owen Faste (Chisago Lakes) was the winner of the 2014 HEP Essay Contest

The HEP Essay Contest is an annual contest held each fall in which youth hockey players are encouraged to submit a themed essay. The essay contest supports the HEP mission by focusing on topics like sportsmanship, teamwork, respect for opponents and having fun.

2017 HEP Essay Contest Finalists Announced

HEP Mission Statement

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.

HEP News