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Minnesota Wild - Chicago Blackhawks Stanley Cup Series: Valuable Lessons For Youth Coaches

 

The six-game Stanley Cup conference semi-final series between the Minnesota Wild and the defending champion Chicago Blackhawks was really exciting, no matter how disappointed fans in Minnesota were at the outcome (the Blackhawks won the series, 4 games to 2).

As a longtime student and teacher of the game, I had to admire the level of play and skills on display night after night. It was high speed chess, as the home team coaches tried to match lines and get an edge over the other team.

A longtime student and teacher of the game of hockey says the Stanley Cup playoff series between the Minnesota Wild and Chicago Blackhawks taught some valuable lessons for youth coaches in terms of the system discipline and hard work the players showed at both ends of the ice.

Team Culture Is Reflected In Its Attention To Detail


Top teams have a strong culture which is nurtured by coaches and team officials.

It could be described as a "How we do business, here" attitude, one deeply rooted in the leaders' values and beliefs about what is important to run a successful youth sports program.

A program's values and beliefs are on display every day in the form of team communications, attention to detail, group dynamics, and the decisions that the coaches make.  

Top teams have a strong culture which is nurtured by coaches and team officials. A longtime hockey coach explains how a team's culture and values is often reflected in its attention to the smallest detail.

Youth Sports Hero of the Month: Matthew Marotta (Prince George, British Columbia)

 

On Sunday, February 16, the Nanaimo (B.C.) Clippers edged the Prince George Cougars, 3-2, on a hotly disputed goal in the final moments of a hard-fought double-overtime pee wee hockey tournament game in Winnipeg, Manitoba. The victory moved the Tier I Clippers into fifth place in the 43rd annual Vernon Coca-Cola Invitational.  

When a pee wee hockey team lost in controversial fashion in overtime, the coach decided not to go through the traditional post-game handshake line to congratulate the winners. Except for one player, who shook his head when his head coach called him to leave the ice with the rest of his team.

Olympic Hockey Star Julie Chu: Commitment + Honor + Unity = CHU


On Monday, I was able to catch up with three-time Olympic medalist Julie Chu, member of the U.S. Women's National Ice Hockey team, who just happens to be living and training for the XXII Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia in my neck of the woods outside Boston.

I decided it was a great time to ask her to reflect back on her hockey journey over the past twelve years, and to hear about how she and her team are preparing for the challenge of replacing the Canadian women atop the podium this time around.

Knowing that three-time Olympic medalist Julie Chu was training for the Winter Games Sochi, Russia just around the corner, Brooke de Lench decided it was time to catch up with the captain of the U.S. Women's National Ice Hockey team, whose career she has been following for a dozen years.

"Thoughts From the Bench" and Defending The Blue Line: A New E-Book On Amateur Hockey And A Great Charity

I am thrilled to announce the publication of my new e-book, "Thoughts From the Bench."

The book is a collection of my columns for Minnesota Hockey and takes a refreshing and common sense look at amateur ice hockey from my perspective as USA Hockey Associate Coach in Chief/Minnesota and past Coach In Chief for Minnesota Hockey, and on my 40 years coaching hockey at all levels, including USA Hockey elite level programs.

"Thoughts From The Bench" is a new e-book by longtime hockey coach and MomsTEAM blogger Hal Tearse with advice for hockey coaches, parents and players with the proceeds donated to Defending the Blue Line.

Putting All Your Eggs In the Hockey Basket: A Recipe For Success Or Failure?

When is enough, enough? This is a question parents should be asking themselves as their kids go through the programs in search of the elusive scholarship and maybe a shot at a professional career. Yet with less than 1 percent making it to Division 1 status and fewer to the pros, tens of thousands of parents across the country feel that their ten-year-old kid is somehow the exception to the rule, the "Real Deal."

I know one 16-year-old who has all of the tools to be the "Real Deal"  except for one.  He is only 5'4" and has not grown for a couple years.  But he and his parents are still hoping for a growth spurt. What if he doesn't grow any taller? What then?  

When is enough, enough? This is a question parents should be asking themselves as their kids go through junior hockey programs in hopes of winning a college scholarship and perhaps a shot at a professional career.

Relative Age Effect Reversal Found At Elite Level of Canadian Hockey

Much has been made of the relative age effect (RAE) - that birth month is destiny for sports achievement - but the evidence is far from conclusive. It is true that some sports team rosters across the globe have a lot of players born in the first few months of the year, but there is more to this phenomenon than originally understood.

The Endless Hockey Season: Is It A Good Thing?

The off-season for hockey will start in a few weeks.

Or will it?

Apparently not. These days, it seems many hockey parents and players consider what used to be the traditional off-season, when kids played outdoors and changed sports until the next winter season, as the real season, because it is the time of year when AAA all-star teams are formed and tournaments are played, weekend after weekend. The off-season teams have cool jerseys, expensive jackets and warm-ups for players and parents. It's also a time for tournament organizers to rake in the big bucks. 

How to make $100,000 in 4 days of youth hockey or "Whatever Happened to the Off Season?"

Angela Ruggiero Remembers Winning Gold

Four-time Olympic women's ice hockey medalist, Angela Ruggiero, tells MomsTeam's Brooke de Lench that the best part of winning gold at the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan was seeing the American flag raised at the medal ceremony.

Angela Ruggiero: My Personal Reflections On Her Retirement

This is a success story virtually without equal in women's sports in the post-Title IX era. A story not only about the success of one remarkable young woman, but about her parents and those, like me, who were privileged to watch her grow from a starry-eyed and talented teenager to the mature, self-assured woman she is today; a story which should serve, not only as an inspiration to any youth athlete who wants to reach the elite level in their sport, but for their parents as well.

Two days ago, Angela Ruggiero held a press conference to announce her retirement from women's ice hockey, two weeks after she told me of her decision.

The story of Angela Ruggiero is virtually without equal in women's sports in the post-Title IX era.  It is a story not only about the success of one remarkable young woman, but about her parents and those, like me, who were privileged to watch her grow from a starry-eyed and talented teenager to the mature, self-assured woman she is today.
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