USA Hockey’s Annual Congress was held June 6-9 in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The 4-day meeting is attended by representatives from every affiliate across the country, NHL teams’ youth hockey and fan development staff, and USA Hockey’s board of directors and staff. Every year AHAI and IHOA send members of their boards of directors to take part in the meetings as well.
During this year’s Congress, USA Hockey shared that they had another record breaking year for participation – 562,145 players were part of the organization in the 2017-18 season. Of that number, a record 122,135 were at the 8U level and girls’ participation levels continue to be particularly impressive. USA Hockey also finished with a record 1,178,711 players, coaches, officials, volunteers and parents that were part of the organization in 2017-18. See Full Membership Statistics.
“With our focus on safety, growth and player development, it is encouraging to see advancements in all areas, especially in the number of players involved in USA Hockey and particularly at the entry level,” said Jim Smith (Mt. Prospect, IL), who was unanimously re-elected president of USA Hockey at Saturday’s (June 9) Board of Directors meeting.
Throughout each day various committees met to discuss their areas of responsibility. Daily Town Halls also help set the agenda for the upcoming season. The Girls Section, Youth Council, Coaches Section, Junior Council, and many others gathered to iron out new ideas for growth, rules, support, and programming to help our constituents grow and improve our game as well as ways to keep our players safe.
A few key rule changes were born from these intense discussions:
- There will be a mandatory 30-day suspension for any coach not wearing a helmet on the ice during a USA Hockey event.
- Another key rule change that effects Tier II Girls’ hockey is the play up rule for 12U to 14U. The rule that was passed for the 2017-18 season did not allow any 12U players to play up on a 14U nationally bound team. This rule now states that for the 2018-19 and 2019-20 seasons for Girls 14U Tier II only, an affiliate can allow up to 3 players that are 12 years of age for the current season as defined by age classification chart to be rostered on a 14U team if the younger players are needed to field that team with a roster size recommended by the ADM or there is no 12U team available in the local geographic area.
AHAI will have more to follow on the rules mentioned above and others passed at Annual Congress in next issue of AHAI’s bi-weekly newsletter, Snapshot.
This year Illinois celebrated several award winners at the Night of Tribute Dinner – AHAI’s registrar, Laura Johnson received an award for her 10 years of service as both an Associate Registrar for the Central District and for the Disabled Hockey Section. Paul Jakubowski, AHAI’s Executive Director was honored for 5 years of service as AHAI’s SafeSport Coordinator. AHAI Director, Keri Zschach received the USA Hockey New Leader Award for her contribution to growing and improving hockey within our affiliate and the Central Illinois Girls Hockey Association was recognized as a leader in the growth, development and promotion of ice hockey for females with the USA Hockey Female Honors Award.
The Chicago Blackhawks’ Patrick Kane received the Bob Johnson Award for Excellence in International Competition at the President’s Awards Dinner. Finally, USA Hockey celebrated the Women’s Team and Sled Team for their gold-medal winning performances during the 2018 Winter Olympics and Paralympics in South Korea.
More information on USA Hockey’s Annual Congress can be found by clicking here.