Players, coaches and parents from all over the Central Illinois region converged on the Pepsi Ice Center in Bloomington, Illinois, on Friday, July 24. Forty-plus skaters from Bloomington, Springfield, Peoria, Pekin and Champaign took advantage of an 8 & under American Development Model practice led by Illinois State University Head Coach. Michael Hernbrott, as well as sixteen area coaches volunteering their time. There were six stations being run at once with no more than five skaters per station with at least two coaches each. All of the players received replica USA Hockey practice jerseys. “It was great to see big smiling faces on the kids as well as the coaches as they stepped off of the ice, and this was after a sixty minute session where 95% of it the kids were moving and working on just about every hockey skill there is,” said Joe Olson, Illinois Hockey Hall of Fame member and Hockey Director for the Pepsi Ice Center in Bloomington.
The practice was followed by a presentation from Bob Mancini, USA Hockey ADM Regional Manager, about the ADM and Long Term Development. Mancini discussed training windows of opportunity and the 8 stages of Long Term Development. “Bob does an excellent job of showing how appropriate training at the right age levels ties the 8U players all the way up. I coach the 8 and under kids as well as College level players and I do see that direct connection.” said Hernbrott.
The event was an excellent opportunity for parents and coaches throughout Central Illinois to understand what the important development steps are at every level.
Mancini was extremely impressed by what he saw, “The commitment and organization that the coaches and parents show to development is phenomenal. It is obvious they have been doing the right things with the ADM for some time as the player skill level was very high.”