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:
All coaches must have the required certification level by January 1 of the current season, unless earlier deadlines are established by the district and/or affiliate.
All coaches must complete the online age-specific modules PRIOR to participating with their team.
(a) 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 4. Coaches of only 8 and Under players should remain at Level 1 until such time as they are coaching any older age level of play.
A coach may attend only one (1) certification clinic per year.
Once Level 4 is achieved, coaches will need to complete 5 credit hours of continuing education within each subsequent three-year period [as outlined in Paragraph (c) below].
(b) In addition to the training in paragraph (a) above, 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.
(c) Effective in the 2021-22 season, coaching certification at Levels 4 and 5 is valid for three (3) seasons, as indicated by the expiration date. Before the expiration of their level, coaches must accumulate 5 credit hours of continuing education by either taking Level 5, or by attending other USA Hockey continuing education clinics. The USA Hockey clinic listings will indicate all continuing education offerings and the credit value of each. The Coaching Education Program retains the responsibility for defining continuing education credit values, including clinic or online course work.
(d) Grandfather Clause
For those coaches who received Level 4 or Level 5 PRIOR TO January 1, 2021, only coaches of Tier I and Tier II teams are required to do continuing education as required in (c) above.
(e) Previous/Expired Certifications
Coaches with any expired certification will retain their previous certification levels provided the certification can be verified. Coaches may re-enter the certification system at that previous level and be subject to the certification guidelines in (a) through (c) above.
(2) Evidence of Level
It is the responsibility of the local association to identify those coaches who do not meet the certification requirements. All coaches have until December 31 of the current season, or earlier date as established by the district and/or affiliate, to attend a USA Hockey coaching clinic. All coaches must complete the online age-specific modules PRIOR to participating with their team. Prior to the start of all games throughout the season all coaches are required to indicate their current certification status on the scoresheet, regardless of their certification level. All coaches (except for juniors) must legibly print their USA Hockey Coaching Education Program (CEP) card number, their CEP level (levels 1-5), their online age-specific playing level module and the year their CEP level expires. Beginning January 1 of the current season, prior to the start of each game, all coaches present are required to sign the designated area of the scoresheet in order to verify the accuracy of the player roster, as it appears on the scoresheet, for that game.
(3) Penalty and Enforcement
Any coach not in possession of these certification requirements will be ineligible to coach for the remainder of the season. Districts and/or affiliates are required to uphold this penalty. It will be the responsibility of the local association registering the team to enforce the national policy.