Each fall Minnesota Hockey hosts a series of player and coach development clinics, designed to support its community-based associations. Over the past ten days, Minnesota Hockey and USA Hockey ADM instructors visited 10 different communities and impacted players and coaches from 19 associations across Greater Minnesota through a variety of events.
“We feel it’s very important our Minnesota Hockey Player Development team gets outside of the metro area and works with players and coaches in all corners of the state,” said Mike Terwilliger, hockey programs manager for Minnesota Hockey. “It was terrific over the past couple weeks to have positive touchpoints with coaches and players in District 4, District 10, District 11, District 15 and District 16.”
The first section of the road tour kicked off October 18 in northwest Minnesota as USA Hockey ADM Regional Manager Guy Gosselin led a series of meetings and clinics in East Grand Forks. From there, Gosselin went on to host body contact clinics in Thief River Falls and Park Rapids, reaching about 100 Peewee and Bantam players from four communities.
The focus on body contact sessions continued this past weekend as District 4 held clinics for all Bantams players in the district in Windom, MN. Sean Stewart ran a total of nearly 120 players through a body contact and checking skill progression, teaching the participants important techniques and building confidence in physical situations.
District 4 also hosted a skill development festival to kick off the Squirt season on October 26-27. Four Squirt A teams met in Marshall, and the district’s eight Squirt B teams all met in Fairmont. At each location, the teams participated in a shared practice, led by Minnesota Hockey instructor Erik Anderson, three-on-three cross ice games, four-on-four half-ice games and concluded with full-ice scrimmages.
“District 4 Director Jeremy Reed did a fantastic job making the Oct. 26-27 weekend all about player and coach development,” said Terwilliger. “Minnesota Hockey has the ability to partner with an association's coaches and players and can run just about any kind of clinic, but it really starts with a desire by local leadership to improve in some area, whether it’s multi-team practices, body contact or dry land training. Our role is to support that effort by giving them the tools to be successful.”
Wes Bolin, who leads Minnesota Hockey’s Player Development team, displayed that flexibility in adjusting to association’s needs during his own road tour this past weekend.
Bolin started off hosting a meeting Saturday, Oct. 26 with Mite/8U coaches in Forest Lake on principles of the American Development Model. In the afternoon, he held a body contact clinic in Moose Lake for their Peewees and Bantams. On Sunday, he hosted another coach meeting in Cambridge, this time for all of the association’s coaches, and he finished the weekend in Pine City, where he showcased the principles and benefits of a high performance two-team shared practice.
“Wes Bolin and his team of coaches do a tremendous job of driving player and coach skill development when they work with associations,” said Terwilliger. “We would love to have even more opportunities to work with associations throughout the state. Our goal is to help every association in Minnesota provide their players with a world class hockey experience right in their hometown.”