Volume 6 Issue 2 |  May 23, 2018
Cancer took 11-year-old Ross' life in 2013, but his impact on those around him, and hockey, lives on

By Greg Bates, Special to AHAI Ross MacNeill always knew how to lighten the mood.

Standing next to his hockey coach Mike Cecala on the bench, MacNeill would drop plenty of hilarious one-liners during a game. The 11-year-old wanted to suit up for games but he couldn't. The youngster who was losing his hair and fighting the battle of all battles was always on hand to cheer on his Admirals Hockey Club team out of Glen Ellyn. He was the team captain who turned into Cecala's assistant coach and little helper.

"With his condition, he spent a lot of time on the bench and he always kept me entertained," Cecala said. "He was the wittiest little guy in the world. He would just say the funniest thing and would just make me laugh whenever I was coaching, that's for sure."

The Admirals had a great run that year. Ross was his teammates' inspiration.

"Everyone knew what was at stake and it was his last season, so to speak, and we went all the way to the championship game," Cecala said. "The kids around him rallied and the kids were right there for him the entire time."

About six weeks after watching his teammates compete in the title game, Ross lost his nearly four-year battle with cancer. He passed away on May 13, 2013.  FULL ARTICLE>>
AHAI Association Leadership Conference Registration Now Open

Attention Affiliate Club Board of Directors: Registration for the 2018 AHAI Association Leadership Conference (AALC) is now open. If you DID NOT receive your email invitation to register for this important annual event, please contact AHAI Communications Manager, Gretchen Cockey at Please CLICK HERE for a complete schedule and overview of Breakout Sessions for the 2018 AALC. We look forward to seeing you on Saturday, June 2nd at the Woodfield Hyatt in Schaumburg.
Candidates for the 2018 AHAI Board of Directors Election
Six (6) candidates have submitted their nomination in accordance with the AHAI By-Laws to fill the five (5) open seats to serve a three (3) year term on the AHAI Board of Directors. Please click on each individual candidate's name to view their bio. The Board of Directors election will be held after the Town Hall during the Opening Session of the 2018 AHAI Association Leadership Conference. Please note that an asterisk after name denotes an incumbent AHAI Director.
Over the past seven years the "A Step aHead" program has been focused on educating the Illinois Youth Hockey community about concussion awareness and treatment. The four organizations that make up "A Step aHead", the Chicago Blackhawks, AHAI, Athletico, and NorthShore University HealthSystem, will be offering a free seminar this year on a broader range of health and safety topics, as well as other issues important to youth hockey. We would very much like to know about the specific needs of players, coaches, parents and others involved in youth hockey. Please complete this very brief survey so we can tailor the educational seminar to these needs. Additional information, including date, location and presenters will be announced when available. TAKE SURVEY>>
Tier II Substitute Choice Application Process for 2018-19 Season
By Gregg Chudacoff, Tier II Committee Chairman ~ The Tier II substitute choice application process, Squirt 10U through Midget 16U/18U will begin on July 20,2018. All applications will be submitted online. The Tier II Committee will only have (3) three appeal hearings this year for those denied a substitute choice. The dates for the appeals are August 9, August 29, and September 6, 2018 at 6:30pm at the North Shore Ice Arena. If denied, please email Gregg Chudacoff, AHAI Tier II Chairman, at with your preferred appeal hearing date. The deadline for applying for a substitute choice will be September 15th, 2018.
2018 Tier I Tryout Schedules for Youth 15, 16U and 18U
Good luck to all our players participating in the 2018 Tier I Tryouts! Please click buttons below to view schedules at all 4 Tier I clubs.
Congratulations to the 27 Illinois Women Invited to USA Hockey National Camps
Congratulations to the 21 Illinois Men Invited to USA Hockey Select Camps
31 Illinois Players Invited to the 2018 USA Hockey Central District High Performance 14 Player Development Camp in Ames, Iowa
Congratulations to the following 31 players who have been invited to attend the 2018 USA Hockey Central District High Performance 14 Player Development Camp in Ames, Iowa, June 17-22, 2018. Their selection was based on their performance and ratings at the AHAI Player Development Evaluation Tryouts held March 23-25, 2018 at The Edge Ice Arena in Bensenville. VIEW INVITEES>>
IHOA Annual Meeting: Mucha & Foster Named IHOA Scholarship Recipients & Longtime IHOA Board Member Steve Drews Retires
Steve Drews
Charlie Foster
Alex Mucha
Additionally, the annual IHOA scholarships were awarded to two student officials who exhibited in school, on the ice and in their community the true spirit of USA Hockey, AHAI and IHOA. IHOA congratulates Charlie Foster and Alex Mucha and wishes them good luck in the next chapter of their lives.
Ask the Official by Dave Zednik
QUESTION: Immediately following a stoppage of play, the home team makes a player (one to five players) "line change," following which the visiting team also makes a player change. The Coach of the home team then decides that he wants to put different player(s) on the ice to counter the change made by the visiting team. Should the Referee permit the home team to make this "last change"? ANSWER>>

QUESTION: During a stoppage of play, both teams change players. Immediately after the start of the play, one of the On-Ice Officials notices that one of the teams has too many players on the ice and stops play. Should the Referee assess a bench minor penalty? ANSWER>>
Chicago Blackhawks Youth & Girls Hockey Summer Camps
Registration is now OPEN for the 2018 Chicago Blackhawks Summer Camp! Camps will be held at MB Ice Arena and Mt. Prospect Ice Arena. Our last day of camp will consist entirely of fun events (cross-ice tournament games, challenges and much more!). Our girls camp will feature Olympic Gold Medalist Kendall Coyne, along with other high level players and coaches, including Blackhawks alumni, to help your son or daughter learn from the very best in the business. Please click HERE for more information.  Contact Michael Rigitano at  312-455-7662  or with any questions. REGISTER NOW>>
Lady Blackhawks Girls Hockey Camp at MB Ice Arena
Lady Blackhawks is a program for girls ages 11-14 who have experience playing organized hockey and want to continue to grow as a hockey player! The girls will be coached by an all-girls coaching staff with guest appearances from Olympians, USA U18 women's players, and NCAA D1 and D3 women athletes. The girls will have the opportunity to work on their skills in a 3-phase program and benefit from the knowledge of this experienced staff with weekly Q+A sessions on various topics. MORE INFORMATION>>
Summer 3 vs 3 Cross Ice League for Squirts and Peewees
Looking for a fun way to sharpen your skills and develop your hockey IQ this summer? MB Ice arena is offering a 3v3 league for Squirt and PeeWee A and AA level players this summer. Full size cross-ice boards will be set-up every game for an exciting day of 3-on-3 cross-ice hockey games. Teams will play back to back games once a week on either Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday evenings.

Small area 3v3 forces players to create more time and space for themselves while making quicker reads on the ice. This league will allow players to have more "touches of the puck" and present more offensive/defensive situations than a full ice game.  Sign up as a team with your friends or register as a free agent to be placed on a team and experience the action this summer! Click  HERE  to register.
Growth of Blind Hockey Demonstrated at Disabled Festival
By Greg Bates ~ The first time the blind discipline was implemented at USA Hockey's Disabled Hockey Festival in 2016, there were a little over 30 players.  A lot has changed in just two years.  Blind hockey ballooned to 86 players at this year's Disabled Hockey Festival, which was held in Chicago in early April.  J.J. O'Connor, who is the chair of USA Hockey's Disabled Section, said blind hockey - which is one of six disciplines recognized by USA Hockey - has players who are thirsty to participate.  "I wouldn't say that I'm surprised, because there are many blind hockey players out there that want to play," O'Connor said. "The sport seems to be growing rather quickly and to have that good representation only a few years after introducing the discipline in the U.S. is great."  In 2017, 42 players skated in the Disabled Hockey Festival. READ MORE>>
The 22nd Annual AHAI Foundation Golf Outing will be held at the  Schaumburg Golf Club in Schaumburg on Friday, August 17, 2018 with  a shotgun tee off scramble at 10:30 a.m. followed by dinner at 5:00 p.m.  The purpose of this event is twofold. First, it creates an opportunity for coaches, referees, administrators, parents and supporters of amateur hockey in Illinois to come together for a day of fun and relaxation to kick off the beginning of the new season. Secondly, r evenues generated from this event are donated each season to specific charities as established annually by the AHAI Foundation. Click HERE for this year's recipients. We hope you will join us for this fun-filled event! Please click buttons below for more information on sponsorship and registration. See you in August!
The AHAI Foundation Golf Outing Needs Your Help!
The AHAI Foundation Golf Outing is asking the hockey community to reach out to their favorite restaurants for a donation of dinner gift certificates to use in our raffles. We are also looking for donations of tickets to sporting events of any kind. Send gift certificates or tickets (this may also be a pledge for tickets) to Don Allord, Golf Outing Chairman, at 3 Roberts Court, Woodridge, IL 60517. Thank you in advance for your support.