Dear Mite Hockey Parents and Bluehawk Families,
I wanted to update you on the state of Mite (under 8) hockey, not only in Northbrook but throughout the Chicagoland area.
Several years ago, USA Hockey (historically the governing body for amateur hockey in the U.S.) implemented what they called the American Development Model (ADM). The Northbrook Hockey League (NBHL) has embraced many of the core elements of the ADM: incorporating small-area games into practices, station-based training, etc. Where we (and many of the youth hockey programs in Chicago) disagree with USA Hockey, however, is with the belief that all Mite hockey must be played on half sheets, or cross-ice. We believe a blended approach consisting of full and half-ice games is more beneficial and enjoyable. Unfortunately, and despite the significant time and effort spent by our club and others to find a mutually-agreeable solution, USA Hockey has mandated a plan that we do not find workable.
The NBHL and at least 17 other local youth hockey programs have been meeting and discussing this issue regularly all while USA Hockey has continued modifying player development protocols, including imposing further game limits, over the past 3 years. We feel that the direction of USA Hockey on this issue is inconsistent with how we believe players at a young age should be developed both in terms of their skills and in their love for the game. Our belief is that local clubs, with direction from their Boards, Hockey Directors, and Staffs, are in the best position to determine the best course of action for their skaters.
After lengthy and careful consideration, a new organization has been established for Mites that will include Travel and House programs.