By Jim Clare, AHAI ADM Chairman
Several years ago, USA Hockey (the governing body for amateur hockey in the United States) launched the American Development Model (ADM) for player development at all age levels. AHAI and its membership has embraced the ADM throughout our programming by incorporating small-area games into practices, station-based training on a weekly basis, off-ice training, and age-appropriate training at all age levels. Over the past three years, through the ADM program, USA Hockey modified mite player development protocols, including game limits on full-ice hockey and the start date for full-ice mite hockey. While AHAI supported this philosophy, it was clear that many clubs were resisting this piece of the ADM.
While we know that the ADM has a place in Mite development and that AHAI will continue its full support of that development model as part of the process for developing the strongest skills possible for all our 8 and under players; the direction that Illinois has taken regarding full-ice mite hockey is in direct opposition to USA Hockey’s policies. As teams take their travel mites out of USA Hockey, it has greatly limited our ability to play any games. With most NIHL clubs moving their mites out of USA Hockey, NIHL dropped their Mite Travel Division. We wish nothing but success for those mites playing elsewhere and welcome them back as Squirts to the USA Hockey family.
I would like the membership to keep in mind however, that we still have over 4,000 mites registered with AHAI/USA Hockey. These 8U payers are part of the Northwest Hockey League (NWHL), other leagues across the state, and numerous in-house programs. It is our job as a governing body and the local rinks’/clubs’ responsibility to develop those players regardless of the loss of Travel Mites. We at AHAI firmly believe that our mites deserve the best development, maximum use of ice resources, a cost effective model, and most importantly fun. The ADM is backed by years of research, its philosophies are proven by science, and it has been adopted at the highest levels of USA Hockey (including our National Team Development Program). Finally, the United States Olympic Committee has adopted the ADM as its own and is transforming those sports that have not already done so to the ADM program. Click ADM logo below to learn more.