Volume 8 Issue 18 | January 27, 2021
A LETTER FROM THE AHAI PRESIDENT
Dear Members,
 
Although we have not been cleared to play, I truly believe it will happen very soon. Unlike the past, positive changes are occurring daily if not hourly. It would appear that sanctioned play in February is not a stretch.
 
AHAI is in contact with the IDPH to confirm the IDPH interpretation of the updated guidance regarding game and Tournament play within Illinois for high-risk sports. Until we are cleared by the State of Illinois however, per USA Hockey, we must abide by the Governor's mandate.
 
With that being said, AHAI is working with the Illinois leagues and clubs to send representative teams to USAH Nationals. We have received a great deal of cooperation from USA Hockey to make adjustments to get our players to district and nationals.
 
If sanctioned games are cleared to be played, I believe it will assist in this goal. If we are not cleared or not cleared soon enough, AHAI is working with the leagues and clubs, and with the guidance of USA Hockey to ensure our players have the opportunity to have sanctioned games and participate in USAH events.
 
We will update you immediately as the situation changes.

Kevin Bolger
AHAI President
2021 STATE TOURNAMENT ANNOUNCEMENT
AHAI recently announced the cancellation of the 2021 Illinois state championship hockey tournaments across all levels and divisions because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The AHAI Board of Directors voted to approve the cancellation at its meeting on Jan. 18.

The decision was made in accordance with USA Hockey's mandate to affiliates to follow state and local health guidelines. Illinois' COVID-19 mitigation restrictions currently do not allow the state tournaments to be held.

"The health and safety of our players, parents, coaches, officials, administrators, and volunteers remains our top priority, and following state guidelines is not optional - it is required by USA Hockey," said AHAI President Kevin Bolger.

"We understand that this decision is disappointing to our competitive players and teams, but we look forward to safely resuming the state tournament championships in 2022," Mr. Bolger added.

Because of the extensive planning, ice rink commitments, and other logistics that are required to stage the multi-level state tournament, it would be impractical to reverse the decision even if the pandemic situation and guidelines were to improve at some point in the future. The state tournaments were scheduled to begin next month and extend to early March.

AHAI is analyzing and exploring options for qualified Illinois teams to participate in USA Hockey Central District playoffs and national championships, if available, but there is no assurance at this time that such opportunities will exist.

AHAI Board of Directors
USA HOCKEY INSURANCE UPDATE
Correction Regarding USA Hockey Insurance Coverage
I have been getting questions from all over the District about insurance coverage as it relates to government or club-imposed restrictions. Teams are attempting to "get around" restrictions by their state government, affiliate, municipalities, and clubs because they think they will avoid getting in trouble. Some inventive ways are "controlled scrimmages or scrimmages" (not calling them "games") with two different teams, no score sheets, officials not wearing their current crest, coaches officiating the scrimmage or controlled scrimmage. There is no Central District definition of a scrimmage or controlled scrimmage and in fact they may look like a game as defined in the Insurance Handbook. If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck and looks like a duck, it is a duck.

It was previously believed that USAH insurance did not protect the players, coaches or if they were playing scrimmages or controlled scrimmages with two different teams/clubs. After meeting with the Risk Managers, USAH and the insurance carrier at our Winter Zoom Meeting, it was determined that the above situations are covered by USAH insurance (as stipulated in the Insurance Handbook).

USAH coverage includes: 1) Participant Accident (Excess) Coverage. This coverage may pay up to $50,000 for covered medical expenses incurred for medically necessary treatment required as a result of an accidental bodily injury. This includes fans being injured by a puck. 2) General Liability coverage up to $2,000,000. This provides broad liability protection and defenses for all USAH members, teams, affiliated organizations, directors, officers and registered volunteers. 3) Catastrophic Injury insurance provides $2,000,000 insurance for seriously injured members.

USAH encourages teams to abide by government/club restrictions. However, in spite of any restriction, a game, players, coaches and fans are covered by USAH insurance as long as all the rules are followed, for example: HS v HS, Bantam v Bantam, players on an approved team roster, etc.

USAH G/L coverage is not available for COVID related claims or COVID claims against your D&O policy.
If you have any questions regarding coverage, please email or call me.

Don Allord
Central District Risk Manager
USAHRMCentral1@gmail.com | 630-464-5910
2021 COACH OF THE YEAR NOMINATIONS
AHAI recognizes that Illinois Hockey is comprised not only of incredible players, but also of dedicated and talented High School, Youth, Girls and Disabled Hockey coaches who guide our teams both on and off the ice.
 
This season has proven especially challenging and the role of the coach even more important than ever. Candidates for AHAI's Coach of the Year Awards should embody good sportsmanship and respect toward teams, parents and officials while providing a positive experience for their players. Candidates should also teach positive life skills while demonstrating dedication, passion, and commitment to community. 

Regardless of whether teams played a game or just practiced this season, we know there are many coaches that have gone above and beyond to provide a positive environment for development, both on and off the ice. Deadline to nominate is Friday, February 5, 2021.
2021 USA HOCKEY WINTER MEETING UPDATE
Community; And Playing Rules Were Focus Of USA Hockey Winter Meeting
USA Hockey's 2021 Winter Meeting, which took place virtually over four days (Jan. 14-17), included wide-ranging discussions focused largely on efforts around COVID-19 safety and adaptations for the remainder of this season and into the 2021-22 campaign; on-going initiatives around building a more welcoming and inclusive environment in hockey; and rule change proposals for the 2021-22 season that will be voted on during USA Hockey's Annual Congress this June.

"It's been an extremely challenging time for everyone involved in USA Hockey and we've come together to meet the challenges in such a positive way," said Jim Smith, president of USA Hockey. "We have a lot of continued work in front of us, but the focus on risk mitigation related to COVID to help ensure the safety of our participants, and transitioning to continue the education and engagement of our players, coaches, officials and overall membership through virtual means, has been inspiring." READ MORE>>
BLACKHAWK ALUMNI SCHOLARSHIP APPLICATIONS NOW AVAILABLE!
The Chicago Blackhawk Alumni Association (CBAA) distributes college scholarships annually to the three most deserving high school hockey players. Awards are determined from a candidate's level of community service, volunteerism, good citizenship, academic performance as well as the hockey talent of the individual. Recipients will receive an annual $7,500.00 scholarship over four years for a total of $30,000.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic the timeline has changed. Fully completed applications including letter of recommendations, original transcripts, and scholar essays are due no later than March 15, 2021. Once all the forms are gathered, a selection committee from the Blackhawk Alumni Association (CBAA) will review all candidates and then select the three recipients.

We encourage all senior high school players to take the time to submit their applications. We also encourage all coaches, managers, and team/league presidents to promote and support this effort.

Please take a minute to visit the Blackhawk Alumni website to read more about the scholarship, view a list of past recipients and to download the application. If you have any questions regarding the scholarship, please direct them to Tom Dillon at tom.dillon@amwins.com.
COACHING NEWS & INFORMATION
It's Not Too Late to Register for AHAI's Hockey Directors & Coaches Webinar Featuring Dan Muse, USNTDP U18 Head Coach!
By Jim Clare, AHAI Coach-in-ChiefJoin AHAI on Wednesday, January 27 at 7pm, for the 3rd installment of our Hockey Directors & Coaches Webinar Series featuring Dan Muse, USA Hockey's National Team Development Program U18 Head Coach.

Prior to joining the USNTDP, Dan was an Assistant Coach with the Nashville Predators for 3 seasons. In 2017, Dan led the Chicago Steel of the USHL to the Clark Cup Championship. Coach Muse has held a variety of coaching positions since his playing days, including Yale (helping them to the 2013 NCAA Championship), Sacred Heart, and Williams College. Dan brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise around practice planning, drill design, and development.

We encourage you to include any questions you may have for Coach Muse in the space provided on the registration form. Registrants will receive a confirmation email which includes a link to the Zoom webinar. We look forward to a fun and informative evening! REGISTER NOW>>
Did you miss first two webinars in January featuring Kendall Coyne Schofield, Erik Condra, Dan Jablonic and Steve Thompson? We've got you covered! Click on thumbnails below to watch full-length webinars or visit our YouTube page at youtube.com/ahaihockey! Stay tuned to our newsletter and social media sites for more information on upcoming February and March Webinars.
Hockey Directors & Coaches Webinar featuring Kendall Coyne Schofield, Erik Condra & Dan Jablonic
Goaltending Webinar with Steve Thompson, USA Hockey ADM Manager - Goaltending
IHOA NEWS & INFORMATION
Ask the Official By Dave Zednik
Question: What is the USA Hockey interpretation of illegal body checking to a player who is no longer in possession and control of the puck?

Answer: Any avoidable check delivered to a player who is no longer in possession and control of the puck.  A player is considered to still be in possession of the puck after he releases it up until the point the puck is next played by another player.

An avoidable check delivered to a player after he has released the puck must be penalized under this rule. An avoidable check is when the player delivering the check has an opportunity to avoid contact once it is realized the opponent no longer has possession and control of the puck. The concept of "finishing the check" is one that is meant to intimidate or punish the opponent and has no place in youth hockey. Provided this check is avoidable, it must be penalized in every instance.
REST IN PEACE, JOE ZELLER & RICH BLIGHT
The Illinois hockey community recently lost two great volunteers, Joe Zeller and Rich Blight. We wish their family and friends comfort and prayers during this difficult time.

Joe Zeller was past president of AHAI (1979-81) and was instrumental in building hockey in the late seventies and early eighties here in Illinois. He was from the Schaumburg Kings organization and worked closely with Joe Benedetto, Bill Peluse, George Fialco, Tony Rossi, and Steve Pinkstaff back in the 'good old days'. He was inducted into the Illinois Hockey Hall of Fame in its inaugural year of 2005.

Rich Blight served as a volunteer for the Illinois hockey community for over 45 years. He volunteered with the Park Ridge Hornets for nearly 2 decades and Maine South and Notre Dame high school hockey programs. He then switched his volunteer efforts over and became a regular volunteer for AHAI events such as state tournaments, player development camps (both locally and USA Hockey camps), the Chicago Showcase, Holiday Hockey tournament, and more. Rich was also a member of the staff for the Hornets sled hockey team since their inception.
ONE TIMERS
Academic Recommendations After a Concussion in a Remote Learning World
By Elizabeth M. Pieroth, PsyD, ABPP, MPH - During my typical, pre-COVID, workday I would spend a great deal of time writing letters for academic accommodations for my patients who had suffered a concussion.  We would review ways to reduce aggravation of their symptoms in the school setting. However, the school setting for most is now their bedroom or some other room in their home. There are no more concerns about avoiding noisy hallways and cafeterias. There are no more requests for removal from gym class to avoid activities that risk further injury. That doesn't mean there aren't still accommodations/modifications that students would benefit from in the remote learning environment. READ MORE>>
Coaches Need Parents on Board to Help in Player Development
By Greg Bates, Special to AHAI - It doesn't matter the age of an athlete: player development is always going to be one of the most important areas to work on for a coach.

That means teaching on and off the ice and getting the kid's parents involved. Having the coach and parents of a player on the same page is paramount. That happens through good communication. READ MORE>>