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Coach Certification

USA Hockey is a leader across all youth sports in developing coaches through education, training and communication of the best practices. Minnesota Hockey, USA Hockey and the Coaching Education Program take great pride in ensuring youth hockey coaches are prepared to create a safe and positive learning environment for all participants. 

To meet these standards, a few basic steps are required for coaches to become certified. The following requirements must be completed before participating in any team activities, unless stated otherwise:

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, USA Hockey will be conducting its Level 1-4 coaching certification clinics virtually until it is deemed safe to host large group gatherings. In addition, a new temporary card is being introduced as a flexible option for coaches to maintain their certification if they are unable to attend virtual coaching clinics.

CEP Requirements

All coaches must enter USA Hockey’s Coaching Education Program at Level 1, and must continue their education with a coaching clinic each year until, at a minimum, they achieve Level 3. Exception: Coaches of 8U or younger players may remain at Level 1 or their current level.

A coach may attend only one (1) certification clinic per year (not including age-specific requirements). Coaches who do not coach in continuous years must re-enter the program at the next level when they resume coaching responsibilities.

Once Level 3 is achieved, periodic renewal [as outlined below] is required for coaches who have not achieved Level 4. Coaches who attain Level 4 certification are not required to attend any further certification clinics but must adhere to the age-specific requirement.

Coaches must also complete online age-specific training modules specific to the level of play they are coaching, if they have not already taken that module. This requirement applies to all coaches at all levels, 1 through 5. Coaches may complete more than one age-specific module in any given season.

Grandfather Clause
For coaches who had achieved Level 3 in the Coaching Education Program prior to May 1, 2011, they must adhere to the current rules and requirements once their Level 3 expires.

About Coaching Education Program (CEP)

All youth hockey coaches in Minnesota and the rest of the country are required to attend a series of clinics, via the Coach Education Program (CEP), before they are eligible to coach.  The clinics are designed to help coaches provide curriculum and use the proper teaching techniques to insure the proper development of their players.

CEP clinics for Levels 1-3 are held statewide beginning in September and typically run through December.  Minnesota typically hosts two Level 4 clinics each season with one being in the spring and the second coming in the fall. A Level 5 offered every two years at the National Coaching Symposium. 

Clinics will be added to the USA Hockey CEP Clinic database periodically. To find and register for a clinic near you, it is recommended that you check the list frequently.  Coaches must register and attend a clinic prior to January 1st to be eligible for that season.

Each clinic is overseen by USA Hockey qualified instructors with at least a Level 4 certification.  The 12 districts in Minnesota Hockey each have a head coach who serves as the USA Hockey CEP instructor.  The clinic manuals they use and seminar content presented have been designed by the best hockey coaches and skill acquisition professionals in the country. 

There will be an annual fee to register coaches (head and assistants) and instructors for CEP clinics. Coaches who also play on a USA Hockey registered team are only need to pay one registration fee per season.

Level 3 Recertification

Coaching certification at Level 3 is valid for two (2) seasons, as indicated by the expiration date.

A coach whose Level 3 is due to expire must take the online Level 3 Recertification Track 1 curriculum or they may move up to Level 4. Level 3 Track 1 Recertification is valid for two (2) seasons.

A coach whose Track 1 Level 3 recertification is due to expire must take the online Level 3 Recertification Track 2 curriculum or move up to Level 4. Level 3 Track 2 Recertification is valid for two (2) seasons.

Coaches whose Track 2 Level 3 Recertification is due to expire must attend a Level 4 clinic prior to the expiration of their Level 3 Recertification.

Coaches must complete the online recertification program in order to recertify their Level 3 certifications. Attending a clinic or workshop is no longer valid for recertifying any certification level.

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