Volume 8 Issue 11 | October 21, 2020
I attended the USA Hockey Affiliate's President's meeting via Zoom on October 15. The meeting was attended by all the presidents throughout the U.S. Jim Smith and Pat Kelleher presided over the meeting. We are not the only state that is not playing hockey. Some of the affiliates are playing full schedules, some abbreviated and some not at all. This is not just an Illinois problem.
Both Jim Smith, USA Hockey President, and Pat Kelleher, USA Hockey Executive Director, told us that we must follow the restrictions placed on us by our local governments. We were told not to be irresponsible and not to ignore them. This pandemic goes far beyond children playing hockey. People are dying, people are living with permanent damage from the illness, businesses are closing, people are losing their jobs and their homes. It is SERIOUS.
We are not indifferent to your concerns, but we also have an obligation to follow the government's lead and be responsible for not only hockey, but to the potential victims of "silent carriers". We are now entering a phase which mirrors what happened in the beginning of the year. France, Italy, and England are surging. Wisconsin, Indiana, and Illinois seem to be spiking as well. I hope I am wrong, but it seems that we are headed backwards.

As for what AHAI has been doing or done to help reduce the risk level and get our kids back on the ice, we have been busy.

1. Many months ago, we created a plan to present to the state entities that have determined the risk level that hockey has been assigned. This plan lays out many of the points our members have made to include:

a. Use of locker rooms, rink operations
b. Social distancing, wearing masks
c. The actual level of contact in hockey
d. The fact we do not touch the same common object
e. That we wear protective equipment (basketball does not)
f. The fact we have been skating for many months with minimal issues
g. Several other key points

2. We have made several attempts to get this in front of the state entities (IDPH and DCEO). We have reached out to them directly.

3. We have collected several studies done on actual contact in hockey that USA Hockey has provided us to share with the state.

4. We have spoken to many other USA Hockey governing bodies that have been successful, and those that have not been, in getting games allowed in their states.

We absolutely understand the frustration. This is not a USA Hockey or AHAI restriction, this is a state restriction. As I said, USA hockey has told each state to follow their state guidelines and bring hockey back safely. We have been doing just that. Regardless of who governs hockey in Illinois, hockey games are not allowed in the state. In Illinois, high school football is king. The state did not allow football to be played so this makes our task much more daunting. We assure you we are not giving up on efforts to move hockey out of the high-risk category.
We will keep trying to get back to "normal" whatever that may be. Please try to understand this and support us. We will get through these horrible times if we stick together.

Kevin Bolger
AHAI President
AHAI Will Host Several Virtual CEP Clinics in October
By Jim Clare, Illinois Coach-In-Chief - AHAI will be hosting a Level 3 Virtual CEP Clinic over 2 evenings, October 27 and October 29, 2020, from 6:30 pm to 9:00 pm. We recommend registering as soon as possible as this clinic will fill up quickly. USA Hockey is also hosting many Virtual CEP Clinics at all levels. Click here to view current CEP Clinic schedule and to register! We are working to schedule several additional CEP Clinics at multiple levels in the coming month. We will announce those dates once they are finalized.
When it Comes to Coaching, Players Are Players, Not Boys and Girls
By Greg Bates, Special to AHAI - Part of coaching is learning how to reach a group of players, each with their own individual personalities. So, a coach may ask, is a player's gender a part of that? Should males and females be coached differently? According to Heather Mannix, USA Hockey ADM Manager of Female Hockey, the answer is no. In fact, a study presented at an International Physical Literacy Conference showed that when girls aren't given the same instruction, there can be negative side effects in the long run. READ MORE>>
IHOA Adds Virtual Level 4 and 2-Part Level 1 Officiating Seminars in October & November
IHOA has added a Virtual Level 4 seminar on October 29 from 6:00 to 9:00 pm and a 2-part Virtual Level 1 seminar November 4-5 from 6:00 to 9:00 pm with an optional on-ice session on November 7 at Joliet Inwood Ice Arena. Please click here to view the remaining dates for IHOA Officiating Seminars for the 2020-21 season. Visit www.ihoa.com for more details and registration information.
Ask the Official by Dave Zednik
QUESTION: What are some guidelines to be considered when assessing interference penalties to the centers during face-offs?

ANSWER: Any time the stick or arm is used to impede the opponent, it is pretty obvious that a penalty should be called. Where the inconsistency comes into play is the use of the body and not properly applying the body position principles. Once a player, defending or attacking, has established their space and is simply trying to occupy that space, they are doing so legally and the onus is on the opponent to try to move around them. Interference occurs when one of the players changes their established space for the sole purpose of impeding the opponent by setting a pick or a block that prevents the opponent from continuing on in their established skating lane or prevents them from occupying the space they are entitled to. 

QUESTION: What are some guidelines to be considered when assessing interference penalties to players other than the centers during face-offs? ANSWER>>
Illustrated Children's Book from Jamal Mayers Spotlights Trials, Diversity En Route to the NHL
By Ross Forman - As a youngster growing up in hockey-crazed Toronto, Jamal Mayers knew the name of every NHL player - from Hall of Famers Wayne Gretzky and Mark Messier to longtime forwards Scott Mellanby and Rick Tocchet. He also was intrigued by such former pros as Dirk Graham, Tony McKegney and Grant Fuhr - players who certainly made an impact for their teams. They also looked like Mayers. Or he looked like them, as African Americans. "I think you seek that out when you're a kid," Mayers said. "There certainly was a commonality in regard to similar backgrounds (of some former players) and seeking out those who looked like me was important for me to believe it was possible." READ MORE>>
Returning Mount Carmel Playmaker George Keeley: 'I Think We Can Go Far'
By Ross Forman - He was the team's top playmaker last season and is optimistic that Mount Carmel is on the rise, driven to improve off its 6-12-1-1 Chicago Catholic Hockey League record of a year ago. George Keeley, 16, a junior who lives in Chicago, is a returning left-handed-shooting left wing in uniform No. 19 a la Jonathan Toews, whose number he matched in hopes of modeling his skills and leadership after the Chicago Blackhawks' captain. READ MORE>>
On a Mission: Four Former Local Players Selected in 2020 NHL Draft
By Ross Forman - Anders Sorenson was the head coach for that monster Chicago Mission team that won the U14 (Bantam Major) Nationals in 2017 and then, the following season, the U16 (Midget Minor) National Championship. They dominated Tier 1 hockey, yet it was their practices that Sorenson still remembers. Namely, the competition, the battles, the friendships among those Mission players.

"There were some special moments during those practices which showed that they really are special players," said Sorenson, now the Director of Player Development for the Mission and assistant coach for the Rockford IceHogs. READ MORE>>
6 Illinois Women Invited to the U.S. Women's National Team Evaluation Camp
USA Hockey has invited 53 players to its U.S. Women's National Team Evaluation Camp that will be held from Oct. 25-31 in Blaine, Minnesota, at the National Sports Center. The camp roster includes Illinois' Hannah Brandt (Buffalo Grove), Jesse Compher (Northbrook), Kendall Coyne-Schofield (Palos Heights), Savannah Harmon (Downers Grove), Nicole LaMantia (Wayne) and Abbey Murphy (Evergreen Park). The camp is part of the process in selecting the U.S. Women's National Team for the 2021 International Ice Hockey Federation Women's World Championship set for April 7-17, in Halifax and Truro, Nova Scotia. READ MORE>>
The A Step aHead partners are excited to announce the 10th year of our program! We are proud of the work that has been done to educate our youth hockey community about sports safety and provide free baseline neurocognitive testing. We look forward to another 10 years of working to keep our athletes safe while they play the game they love.

This year the free baseline testing will be offered through November 30, 2020. We will continue to offer the testing at select Athletico clinics. REGISTER NOW>> 

AHAI's Photo of the Month Contest IS BACK! Submit photos of your AHAI player's awesome hockey-themed Halloween costumes and jack-o'-lanterns, on- and off-ice practices and team bonding activities, or of your player as a car or home dresser... be creative!

Email photos (limit of 2 per month) to AHAI Communications Manager at communications@ahai2.org. Please do not direct message photos via Facebook or Instagram. Photos should include the following: brief caption, player's age level (8U, 10U, etc.), and player's club (must be an affiliate of AHAI/USA Hockey). Finally, please do not submit photos taken by professional photographers. Click here for complete contest details and a list of this year's prizes. Good luck!