Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Northbrook Forms Jr. Spartans at 8U And Joins CUHL

The Northbrook Hockey League has sent the following email to their members:

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.  

Monday, June 30, 2014

The Mite Hockey Battleground

By CAYH Editor

Mite hockey is played by children 8 years of age or younger (aka 8U). In the upcoming 2014-15 season, it is also a hotly contested demographic between the two organizations that promote hockey as an athletic activity for energetic boys and girls ... and insures them while playing it. USA Hockey is the incumbent and heavyweight in this fight, and their affiliates are Amateur Hockey Association of Illinois (AHAI) and Northern Illinois Hockey League (NIHL). The challenger is Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) and its affiliate Hockey Illinois.

In my opinion, Hockey Illinois was launched in response to the negative reaction some coaches and parents had to the changes to 8U hockey mandated by USA Hockey as part of their ADM initiative. One of the more problematic changes related to a reduction of the ice surface for games to 'cross ice' last season. Many competitive 8 year old players, some of whom had been playing full ice games for a season or three, were asked to play cross ice games and 'jamborees' hosted by hockey clubs that volunteered for the privilege. This cross ice season was to last until December 1 in Illinois, when the seeding round began and full ice games were allowed.

What actually happened was that many these 8 year olds quietly played a schedule of full ice games through Hockey Illinois and AAU. As Jack Blatherwick so eloquently put it in this column, parents and coaches decided that they don't need the restrictive legislation that comes with the USA Hockey membership. Is forcing cross ice games on you really what your $53 in annual dues gets you?

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Become More Productive on Every Shift

FOR Coaches/Players & Parents...

In Today's Post  --  Paul Lubanski Offers Extremely Simple Yet VERY Effective Methodology For Youngsters To Learn How To Become More Productive Throughout Each And Every Shift ... via his FIVE-SECOND-INTERVAL-FOCUS technique  --  ANOTHER MUST READ!

By Paul Lubanski

A fantastic method for getting players to focus on their assignment EVERY shift is to teach what I invented and refer to as five-second-interval-focus or FSIF.

Please let me explain...

We all have heard and most likely utilized the "one shift at a time" mantra in order to stress and encourage our players to remain in the proverbial competitive "moment." However, what I propose in my opening takes the aforementioned concept to an entirely new level.

In other words, instead of generically requesting that our youngsters compete "all out" for an entire 40 second or so shift, we aid them in accomplishing that very important goal by requiring them to psychologically "break-down" the shift into five-second intervals.

How so?

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

AAU Hockey News February 2014

From the February 2014 AAU Hockey newsletter, we bring the following excerpt concerning AAU Hockey Illinois:

"Following their outstanding [inaugural] regular season, Hockey Illinois has made several announcements concerning their expansion and growth, finalizing this season, continuing through Spring and for next season.

  1. The Hockey Illinois - Frozen Four AAU Illinois Mite A State Championship will be held March 14-15, 2014. 
  2. Title Sponsor for the State Championship and AAU 2014 Spring Season is Rosebrook Pools.
  3. The Hockey Illinois Spring League is already planned. 
  4. During the 2014-2015 regular season, Hockey Illinois will be adding Squirt level classifications to their Mites and 6U.

Blackhawk Cup 2014 Bracket Boards

AHAI's State championship tournament, which is known as the Blackhawk Cup 2014, is under way. Good luck to all teams as they go for a State banner!

Here is that link to the scores for which you have been searching:

After the jump, you can find direct links by category (ie Squirt AA, A, B etc) for tier 2 clubs.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Team Accountability


LUBANSKI'S Theme TRANSCENDS Sports And Can Positively Affect Family, Faith And Potentially ALL Of Our World(s)!! AN AMAZING MUST READ For Coaches, Parents & Players!!!

By Paul Lubanski

Throughout the years, I have often been asked how I would judge the success or failure of the typical youth hockey coach.

The answer is a simple one--and the subject matter that encapsulates today's column.

And it is thus:

By season's end, has he/she taught his/her player's precisely what it means to be "accountable to the team?"

In other words, can each and every player (when queried), easily rattle-off the correct answer as it relates to exactly what it means to be "accountable to his/her teammates?"

 Of course, the ideal response would--in so many words--be that "my responsibility as a good teammate is to insure that all of my actions in and around team functions are designed to help the team "become a better team!"

Having your former (and current) players answer in that fashion is indisputably what attaining an "excellence in coaching" moniker is all about--and is definitively what we all SHOULD BE STRIVING FOR!

So today, I am going to pass along an easily implementable tip that will allow for you--the average volunteer (non-paid) youth ice hockey coach, to become that highly-regarded mentor and leader. One that leaves his players with the psychological infrastructure to succeed anywhere in life. As, the "accountability" message (what is contained there-in) above most certainly will for-tell to those that have embraced it.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Always Have At Least One Eye On The Puck -- ALWAYS!

IN TODAY'S POST--Paul Lubanski Harkens Back To His Squirt Outdoor Rink Playing Days To Pass On One Of THE Most Valuable Pieces Of Advice He Has EVER Received As A Player Or Coach.

By Paul Lubanski

"Son, I am about to give you the most valuable piece of advice you will likely ever receive from a hockey coach and it is the following: never let your opponent get you in a position that doesn't allow you to have at least one eye on the puck. You see kid, you ALWAYS need to know where it is but even more importantly, where it is HEADED so you can get your rear-end there!" Coach Bob Thomas formerly of the Junior A Flin Flon, Manitoba Bombers as told to me somewhere-in-time when I was a second-year Squirt on an outdoor ice surface in Oak Park, Michigan.

With Bob's declaration having been served oh so long ago,  you would think that something as fundamental as seeing/knowing where the biscuit is on the surface AT ALL TIMES would be consistently emphasized and practiced at all levels--even the NHL--wouldn't you?

Not true--sadly. Want a very recent and prime example? Here goes...

Friday, November 1, 2013

Tournament: Bauer World Invitational Chicago 2013

Did you wonder why you don't have practice or a game this weekend? We have been invaded! Chicago is proud to host the Bauer World Invitational Tournament 2013 from November 1-3.

AAA (and AA) teams from all over the world compete at Squirt through the Midget Minor level at rinks throughout the area.  Since you aren't playing hockey, go out and just watch a game at a nearby rink.

Check out the tournament website for schedules:

Good luck to the following teams in the universe that we cover: