Minnesota Hockey’s CCM High Performance Tier I Leagues opened their season this past weekend with the second annual TRIA Training Camp at TRIA Rink in Saint Paul, MN. All 23 teams in the Girls 14U, Youth 14U and Youth 15 Leagues participated in a series of on-ice and off-ice sessions designed to prepare the players and teams for the upcoming season.
Each team participated in a total of six on- and off-ice sessions during Training Camp. Off-ice sessions included an introduction to TRIA’s Hockey Injury Prevention and Performance program, concussion education and baseline ImPACT testing, a session on cognitive training featuring an exclusive three-month membership with The Hockey IntelliGym and professional photographs for individual player profiles. The teams also hit the ice for a team practice and a scrimmage.
“It’s just overall such a great development opportunity, from on-ice to off-ice, and also from a standpoint of learning from other coaches and meeting new people,” said Bemidji State University Women’s Hockey assistant coach, Amber Fryklund about the TRIA Training Camp. “I’m a big fan of what Minnesota Hockey does and think this is a great opportunity for kids to get better.”
Fryklund, who also serves as the Girls 15 Development Director in the spring HP programs, led the practice sessions for the Girls 14U teams.
“We really tried to make the small area games and the skill development portion with our stations competitive and have lots of puck touches,” said Fryklund, describing the team practices. “Make it fun while working on skills such as puck possession, puck protection, shooting and passing, and then, concepts within that as well.”
The focus on teaching hockey concepts during the practices was also highlighted by USA Hockey ADM Regional Manager Guy Gosselin, who joined forces with Minnesota Hockey ADM Coordinator Wes Bolin to lead the Youth 14U and 15 practices.
“We’re talking about habits and concepts,” said Gosselin. “Instill them into the player where they don’t have to think about it, and it becomes second nature.”
Gosselin also emphasized with the players and their coaches at TRIA Training Camp the importance of developing good mental habits that will help players succeed both on and off the ice.
“Obviously, skill sets are very important, but the mental aspect of the whole game weighs right up at the top,” said Gosselin, who was a two-time member of the U.S. Men’s Olympic team. “We’re trying to get them to understand where they’re at on the ladder of development, and that they’re just hitting the tip of the iceberg.”
“Decision making out on the ice becomes crucial, taking control of your own destiny, body language, learn from failing, those are kind of messages we’re focusing on with these kids.”
Both Fryklund and Gosselin also made a point to note that while the Tier I Leagues provide an opportunity to compete against the best players in the state, these players are still only 14 and 15 years old and need to remember to enjoy the game and experience along the way.
“The biggest thing about this is it should be fun,” said Fryklund. “The Fall Tier I League is really about not only working hard and getting better, but having a lot of fun doing it.