Volume 8 Issue 16 | December 30, 2020
The year of tears is finally coming to an end. I hope you and your families have had a safe and happy Holiday. AHAI awaits the reclassification of hockey and is working with USA Hockey to see if we can salvage the hockey season. We will update you as soon as we know something. I am thankful that we are healthy and ending this year. We will all be stronger and reflective of what is really important in life. Hopefully the virus will be done in '21. 

I wish you all a Happy, Healthy, Prosperous, and Hockey filled New Year. See you at the rink!

Kevin Bolger
AHAI President
Reminder - the Coronavirus has had a tremendous impact on our hockey season, but we must still follow the rules regarding declarations. If you are a dual/double rostered player playing on a National Bound youth team and a girls' team, you are required to declare for which team you will participate with during the State Tournament and beyond. This declaration must be submitted by December 31st to Tom Hansen, Central District Registrar, Laura Johnson, AHAI Registrar and Anita Lichterman, AHAI Girls' Committee Chair. You may continue to complete the season with both teams, but only register with one (1) team for the State Tournament and beyond. Please keep in mind that if the team you choose does NOT win the State Tournament you may not continue through State and to Nationals with the other team.

If you do not declare your choice, it will be made for you by Tom Hansen, Central District Registrar and based on which roster was submitted first for certification. No final determination has yet been made for a State Tournament, but declarations must be submitted.

Stay safe, stay healthy & have a Happy New Year!

Anita Lichterman
AHAI Girls Committee Chair
AHAI to Host Hockey Directors & Coaches Webinar Series Beginning January 7th!
Hopefully our coaches and hockey directors took some well-deserved time off to enjoy the holidays. It has been a season unlike any other and your efforts to keep our kids engaged and developing has not gone unnoticed. 

Beginning January 7, AHAI will be hosting a webinar series for hockey directors and coaches covering a variety of subjects including goaltending, practice development and the use of small area games, roundtable discussions with high-level coaches on what they look for, and other to be announced topics. Each webinar will focus on a different topic with special guests to help drive the conversation. We will continue the series each month. Check your inbox for announcements and registration for these events. Let's talk hockey as we get closer to getting back on the ice!

Jim Clare
AHAI Coach-in-Chief
Important Coaching Education Program Update
USA Hockey has approved extending CEP education until January 31, 2021. Additional January clinics will be posted shortly on the USA Hockey website for any coach that wishes to complete their CEP requirements. As before, coaches that have temporary cards for this season will still need to complete the in-person clinic next season or a virtual clinic in January to move to the next certification level.
If you received a temporary card this season and want to receive your next level certification in January, you will not be charged for the virtual class. Attending a virtual clinic in January will allow you to advance in certification levels again during the 2021-22 season rather than stay at your current temporary card certification level.
For example, if you received a Level 2 temporary card this season and did not attend a virtual CEP clinic, you will need to attend a Level 3 CEP clinic next season. However, if you received a Level 2 temporary card this season and do attend a virtual Level 3 this season, you will be able to attend a Level 4 clinic next season. Please contact AHAI Coach-In-Chief, Jim Clare at coach@ahai2.org with any questions.
AHAI Will Host 3 CEP Clinics in January

Virtual Level 3
January 12 & January 14
6:30 pm to 9:30 pm
Virtual Level 1
January 19 & January 21
6:30 pm to 9:30 pm
Virtual Level 3
January 26 & January 28
6:30 pm to 9:30 pm

Clinics have been posted on the USA Hockey website... sign up early as they fill up fast! USA Hockey is also hosting many Virtual CEP Clinics at all levels. Click here to view current CEP Clinic schedule and to register!
Ask the Official By Dave Zednik
Question: What criteria should the Referee use when assessing a major plus game misconduct penalty for head contact?

Answer: Anytime the Referee deems the contact to the head area to be intentional or a reckless act, a major plus game misconduct penalty or match penalty must be assessed. Intentional would be deemed to be when the player "targets" the head or neck area of the opponent when delivering a check. A reckless act is when the actions of the player delivering the check clearly do not take into consideration the location on the body of the opponent where the contact is being made and uses excessive force in delivering the check to the head or neck area. As with other dangerous actions, a major plus game misconduct or match penalty must be assessed if an injury results from Head Contact.

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.
NWHL 2021 Season to Feature an All-Female USA Hockey Officiating Staff, Includes Illinois' Erika Greenen
By USA Hockey - With the help and guidance from USA Hockeythe National Women's Hockey League's (NWHL) upcoming season will have an all-female officiating staff. The league's regular-season contests as well as the 2021 Isobel Cup Playoffs will be staged at the iconic Herb Brooks Arena in Lake Placid, N.Y., from Jan. 23-Feb. 5, 2021.

The 10 officials selected to the NWHL officiating staff include Sarah Buckner (Crystal, Minn.), Erika Greenen (Romeoville, Ill.), Kendall Hanley (Minneapolis, Minn.), Alicia Hanrahan (St. Paul, Minn.), Jacqueline Howard (Gaithersburg, Md.), Jamie Huntley-Park (Escondido, Cali.), Jackie Spresser (Thornton, Colo.), Amanda Tassoni (Bradford, R.I.), Mackenzie Welter (Rome, N.Y.), and Laura White (Runnemede, N.J.). READ MORE>>
Chicago Park District Outdoor Clinics
Sign up today for the opportunity to participate in a FREE Learn to Play ice hockey clinic! Use of skates and stick will be provided at no cost. Some prior ice skating experience is required. All participants will receive a jersey to keep. Clinics are geared towards beginner and intermediate skaters. Click here to register or for more information.

Back with Marist, Senior Luke Schuler Brings Talent, Leadership
By Ross Forman - Luke Schuler is back on the Marist varsity after spending the past two seasons skating for the Orland Park Vikings 16U and 18U Central States teams, bringing skill and leadership to the rebuilding RedHawks. "I thought it would be an honor to represent my school during my senior year," said Schuler, 18, who lives in Mokena. The right-handed shooting center, in jersey No. 6, was a Marist varsity player as a freshman. He also previously has played for the Arctic Jr. Fury.

"My 2019-20 season began very unexpectedly. Having just suffered an ACL tear near the end of my 2018-19 season, I was doubtful that I would even skate again, let alone play at such an intense level. I was determined to get back on the ice. After intensive rehabilitation for 10 months, I dressed for my first game in October of 2019," Schuler said. "My first shift back, I took a high hit and suffered a wrist fracture. As expected, I was shattered. READ MORE>>
Defending Kennedy Cup Champion Benet Looks to Repeat Behind Klos, Casto
By Ross Forman - In the Chicago Catholic Hockey League, the season - every season for every team - is centered on the Kennedy Cup championship. Win the Kennedy Cup, that's all that matters. Period, end of story. Awarded annually to the CCHL playoff champion, the Kennedy Cup dates to 1964 and is the oldest trophy in Illinois High School hockey. Every team wants to win the Kennedy Cup every season, and then CCHL teams turn their attention to other season-long goals.

Benet Academy is the defending Kennedy Cup Champion, hoisting the title this past March days before the pandemic silenced the sport. Benet topped Providence Catholic in the best-of-three series, winning the deciding game 4-3 in overtime. I am proud to spotlight two key returning players for the Redwings who again are focused first off on repeating. Nothing less than a Kennedy Cup championship will do...for Benet or any CCHL team. READ MORE>>
IHHF Bio Series: Jim McKeague, Builders Category
Jim was born in Chicago where he spent the first ten years of his life growing up as a Southsider. Following a stint of seven years in Pennsylvania, Jim returned with his four siblings and parents back to the Chicago area. Having attended high school at St. Laurence, he went on to attend Lewis University, where he earned his degree in 1972. He spent his 43-year career with Jewel Foods where he held several leadership positions during that time. Jim is currently enjoying retirement with his lovely wife Karen while residing in Naperville. 

Jim's hockey involvement spans across several decades as both a player, where he laced them up in every local Chicagoland rink imaginable, and as a diehard hockey purist and fan. His passion peaked as he took a critical board position for the Waubonsie Valley Hockey Club where his son, Jimmy, was playing his high school hockey. READ MORE>>
Illinois Hockey Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony Update
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we will not be holding an induction ceremony this year. We will be inducting this 16th class into the Illinois Hockey Hall of Fame on Sunday, January 30, 2022 at the Belvedere Banquet Hall in Elk Grove Village beginning at 5:00 pm. More information will follow when we get closer to the event.
2021 USA Hockey National Championships
Click here for updated dates for the 2021 Chipotle-USA Hockey National Championships.
Favorite USA Hockey Stories from 2020
While 2020 has been filled with unique and unanticipated challenges, our sport has continued to put smiles on the faces in our community. Click here for a list of some of USA Hockey's favorite storylines and highlights from the past year as we close the book on 2020. We hope you all have a holiday season filled with joy. Here's to good health, hockey and more smiles in 2021.

2021-2025 Playing Rules Change Process
Curious about the 2021-2025 USA Hockey Playing Rule Change Process? Click here to learn more and check out the proposals and committee recommendation summary. 

Note: The proposals will not be officially accepted or defeated until the 2021 USA Hockey Annual Congress.
New Year's Resolutions Apply to Hockey as Well
By Greg Bates, Special to AHAI - New Year's resolutions aren't just for life in general. In hockey, setting specific goals the first of the year can be a big motivating factor in how a player improves on and off the ice. Resolutions are also an important new-year idea for coaches and parents. This year, with players having limited ice time or no ice time at all because of the pandemic, has really thrown a wrench in plans. 
"This has been a real interesting time to figure out how to do it on your own - whether it's working out at home or it's finding a gym to go work out at where it's one-on-one and they can do it with the varying governmental requirements," longtime Illinois coach Brad Bialas said. Depending on a player and their age, it is best to set resolutions by pinpointing a specific area of their game where there is room for improvement. READ MORE>>