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2018 Hockey Director Conference a Huge Hit

By Minnesota Hockey, 09/10/18, 2:30PM CDT


On September 7-9, Minnesota Hockey and USA Hockey hosted over 90 coaches, hockey directors and player development leaders in Plymouth, MN for the 2018 Hockey Director Conference.

Designed to provide training and best practices for executing world class youth hockey skill development programs, the conference featured presentations, on-ice demonstrations, small group and panel discussion on a variety of subjects.

“The conference provided a unique opportunity for our association player development leaders to learn the latest in development principles and concepts from experts,” said Minnesota Hockey President Dave Margenau.

USA Hockey ADM Regional Manager for Minnesota, Guy Gosselin, took it one step further.

“It was really an awesome event,” emphasized Gosselin. “Not only did we have great presenters, but there was great ideas and interaction coming from the participants too. It’s exciting because everyone there showed a passion for the game and a desire to learn more about doing the right things for kids.”

Here are a few highlights and concepts from the weekend:

  • The United States is a leader in many areas, but one area we can improve is having patience in regards to player development. As multiple ADM Managers put it over the weekend, “We talk about patience in the U.S., but in Europe, they live it.” 
  • We need to give kids more Flintstones vitamins in hockey. Coaches who build skills and concepts into fun drills using games, challenges, scenarios, etc. are going to have more engaged and motivated players, which increases development.
  • Hockey sense and compete level are what truly separates today’s elite players. Coaches must create an environment in practice in which players get a high number of repetitions that incorporate decision making and conflict, in order to better simulate game situations.
  • Great coaches are master manipulators of the practice environment. Coaches can add rules, elements, players, etc. to drills and games to force players to perform any habit or skill the right way.
  • Off-ice training, including a dynamic warm up, should be a part of every team’s regular training schedule.  
  • Goalie development needs to become a focal point for all coaches, teams and associations. This includes providing opportunities to try the position, removing the stigma around the position and incorporating goalie development time into each practice, as well as providing goalie skill sessions.
  • University of Minnesota Duluth head coach Scott Sandelin shared insight on how the 2018 NCAA National Champions progressed from a team many doubted to being the top team in country due in large part to tremendous leadership in the locker room and a team first mentality.

“Now, attendees are tasked with the challenge of applying what they learned to improve upon their association’s player development programming,” said Margenau. “Minnesota Hockey was excited to announce the Minnesota Model Association Program during the conference to help associations accomplish that goal.  This new program will recognize and reward associations for putting into practice the elements of the Minnesota Development Model.”

Additional details on the Minnesota Model Association Program will be announced publicly in the coming weeks.

“People should be excited about what we’re doing and implementing for player and coach development,” said Gosselin. “Minnesota is a special place to grow up playing hockey, and events like this keep moving the ball forward.”

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