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Southwest Minnesota Unveils Mite Development Series

By Minnesota Hockey, 10/31/16, 1:00PM CDT


District 4 of Minnesota Hockey, which features youth hockey associations in the southwest corner of the state, has announced it will be launching a district-wide development program for the Mite/8U level. The program is designed to provide players and coaches with new opportunities while minimizing the cost and travel involved.

Starting on Sunday, November 20, Mite/8U teams from District 4 will convene once a month on a consistent day and time for a district development series.  The players and coaches will participate in a shared station-based practice and cross-ice games with local teams.

“It’s based on the foundation of the Minnesota Development Model and encouraging cross ice,” said District 4 Director, Jeremy Reed, who has played a key role in developing the program. “There are some programs that are doing things very well. We’re going to use that and try to help each other out. That’s the whole goal.”

Minnesota Hockey Player Development Coordinator Wes Bolin and USA Hockey Regional ADM Manager Guy Gosselin will join District 4 for the kickoff events on Sunday, November 20th in Fairmont and Redwood Falls, respectively. Bolin and Gosselin will lead a classroom training session for coaches and assist the coaches in an on-ice shared practice before splitting the teams up for cross-ice games.

Local coaches will utilize lessons learned from Bolin and Gosselin, as well as their best practices, to lead the rest of the district practice sessions. This framework will enable coaches from different associations to share instruction tips and drills throughout the season. 

In addition to the direct benefits to players and coaches, District 4 believes encouraging communities within the district to work together could have a larger impact on the overall culture of hockey in some areas and may eventually help grow the game in their region of Minnesota.

“Everybody wants to travel,” said Reed. “All these young parents want to travel - the more travel, the better. I don’t think we have to do that. We can do a lot of things locally to encourage more opportunities in the district.”

Minimizing travel, especially at the youth level, has been shown to have a significant influence on improving recruiting and retention efforts. Therefore, this new program could enhance the development of current players while also making hockey more accessible to potential new players.

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