Friday, September 26, 2014

Playing H-O-P

Paul Lubanski Offers Another Brilliant Coaching/Playing Axiom: "H-O-P!"

A MUST Read For Coaches, Players And Parents --  Regardless Of Age Or Level Of Play

By Paul Lubanski

I once asked USA and NHL Hockey Hall of Fame defenseman Mark Howe (son of Gordie) to describe to me what was the hardest he had ever been hit during professional game or practice-play. Without a nano-seconds' hesitation, he answered this way: "Easy, my teammate with the Red Wings-- Shawn Burr--in practice during a drill--ACCIDENTALLY!"

I wasn't surprised. I had long held post many years of observing the hometown Wings--that pound-for-pound, Burr was the one of the "heaviest-on-the-puck" players in NHL history. Howe concurred. "At 200-plus pounds, he was a monster to knock of the biscuit," Mark exhorted. It was one of primary reasons Burr competed for such a long tenure in the "Show". You see, it most wasn't because of his playmaking or pure goal-scoring skills. He simply won puck and territory battles all over the surface. Extremely important subset of a unique player's arsenal indeed--and one that all winning clubs must have an abundance of and are naturally-- always seeking.

Which brings us to  subject matter of today's column:

Saturday, September 20, 2014

COACHES: Support, Outnumber and Smother

A Coaching Success Tool You Can Very Easily Utilize/Implement

By Paul Lubanski

Those of you who have been reading my blog for the past several years already know that I am a huge proponent of two of the most oft-heard and time-worn coaching-for success principles of "simplicity and consistency".

In other words, I both strongly adhere to and personally agree 100 percent that it is mandatory for coaches at all levels to cultivate an effective, yet easily understandable and digestible message throughout all game and practice play. Additionally, that message must remain relatively consistent throughout the entire season in order to serve to foster a healthy and fun environment.

To that end, today's column provides you with an approach that I recently devised and utilized as I prepared a Junior level team for an international tournament. I refer to it as "SOS."

Let me explain.

Friday, September 19, 2014

AA and House Youth Hockey Fees 2014-15

By CAYH Editor

Finally! Clubs increase fees for the first time in what seems like forever. Wait, this is not a good thing!!! However, it does return a certain relevance to this feature on the blog. We had gotten away from doing this every year since most clubs work hard to keep increases to a minimum. Thanks to the Blackhawks' ongoing success, increasing enrollments helped clubs to hold the line. No more.

I plan to compare this season's fee to the original database and write a post about those clubs that have increased fees the most (and least) from the 2010-11 season. But here is the bad news:

Your fees likely went up $100 - $150!

Like this is news? Ok ok, so your friends at the club across town's fees went up also. Is that better? Hourly charges for ice from those in the ice rink business are up. More teams on the ice means more competition for ice slots. And thanks to the Leafs Ice Centre and the IIC, they are NOT building new rinks any time soon!

Increased demand + static supply = BIG $$$$$$$

I spoke with a board member of a club by email last year, and it was his personal opinion that we will see dramatically higher costs over the next 5 years due to the explosive growth that youth hockey has experienced. Do you want a for instance? If you want to play Central States at the Falcons (and who doesn't amirite?), you will pay $600 more than last year for the privilege!


I would say this means we are looking at the average NIHL season fee going up from $3,500 to $4,000 in 5 years.


I am publishing a Google Docs version of the master 2014-15 fees database. This should make it easy for you to compare the fees charged by most clubs. Clubs are organized by travel B league for proximity with the former SSHL first, NWHL next, and NSYHL last. Central States (CSDHL), NIHL, and in house are also included. You will find the link after the jump.

Friday, September 12, 2014

How F-O-S-P Helps Your Team

By Paul Lubanski

As many of you have discerned by now, I am a firm believer in the use of simplified acronyms as season-long guides - or roadmaps, if you will - for coaches at all ages and skill levels.

I have personally created scores of those acronyms, and am proud to say many are being leveraged smartly and successfully by coaches from Mini-Mite through the professional ranks.

For example, years ago I introduced the acronym S-T-U-D, representing Speed, Toughness, Unselfishness & Discipline. I have been notified that hockey clubs hailing from as far away as Russia appreciate and utilize this idea in their coaching and playing style.

Today, I put forth a new acronym that is just as understandable, adaptable and applicable – F-O-S-P:

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Leafs Centre Bondholders To Take Massive Hit Under Latest Plan

By CAYH Editor

Just when you thought it was safe to go on the ice in West Dundee, we get an update on the ongoing saga that is the Leafs Ice Centre in Crain's Chicago Business. The Leafs "venture", which includes that hockey club, are offering bondholders a 35% haircut in a deal that leaves them in charge of their destiny. WHAT!?!

Aside from that little tidbit, this looks like a pretty good offer to me ... given that bondholders in the nearly identical International Ice Centre in Romeoville received a 90% haircut in the foreclosure sale to Canlan Ice Sports Corp. of Canada. You can find our previous coverage here. How depressing is it that we have so much previous coverage on the topic?

If bondholders take the deal, the Leafs Ice Centre will still be upside down to the tune of $4.5 million according to Ken Male, Vice President of Partnership Solutions for Canlan. He thinks the facility is worth only about $8 million, and I would take his word over anyone in Chicago if I were you.

We also get confirmation in the article of the worst kept secret in the northern burbs - the sparkly new North Shore Ice Arena is not profitable!

Monday, September 8, 2014

"Like Getting Punched In The Gut"

By CAYH Editor

By now, travel hockey tryouts are either over or winding down. Rosters are going up on websites all over Chicagoland. You have played it cool all day, but now it is time to rush to your phone and pull up the team page. Check the roster. Tap your foot and wait for it to load.

"Oh @#$*^!"

Your son or daughter didn't make the team they wanted. The team you thought they would make, SHOULD make. I've gone through it. I know what it's like ... the air goes out of the room so fast the sudden vacuum hits your skin like a percussion. The illogical team placement leaves you truly in a state of shock. It's like getting punched in the gut. When you can move again, you begin the Bataan death march to tell your kid. Maybe there is crying, maybe it is stunned silence. You know that the bewilderment or rage will fade into frustration or depression.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Enter CAYH Blog's Facebook Giveaway Contest

You like us; we like you. A new season means that you need new gear, and we can help. Chicago Area Youth Hockey Blog is giving away a $50 gift card to Total Hockey! All you need to do to enter the contest is to like our page on Facebook. If you are already a fan of our page, worry not. You can also enter the contest by sharing the contest on Facebook.

Please visit our Facebook page here:

A winner will be chosen on September 26 by random selection from qualified entries.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Support Our Sponsor

Are you going to the Winter Classic? If so, why not take your team with you! The 2014 Capital Christmas Classic offers a wonderful opportunity to do just that.

The tournament runs from December 28-31 at four rinks in the DC metro area: Ashburn Ice House, Calin John Ice Rink, Skatequest, and Rockville Ice Arena.

The tournament is hosted by the Reston Raiders hockey club, and there is a four game guarantee. Team placements for all levels mite through midget are open. Deposits are due by October 14, so make your plans now!

Visit the tournament website and reserve your spot today.