Youth Hockey News
IHWC Youth Hockey Players & Parents,
With our youth hockey season, less than a month behind us, the time is right to reflect on the successes of past season as well as glance ahead to what’s in store for the future of our exciting program.
Looking back, the 2016-17 season was certainly a big success. We had over 230 players participate in our programs spanning from Learn-to-Play Hockey through High School Varsity – a record year! Many young beginners picked up hockey for the very first time in our Mite & Squirt programs. New families were welcomed into our community joining our many returning player numbers contributing to our programs’ strength. With over 20 teams pressing for ice time for practices & games, creativity & flexibility were in high demand putting pressure on our coaches. However, the end result was most certainly worthwhile with smiling faces, greater affection for hockey and even a few tournament and league titles thrown in as well.
Speaking of coaches, we would like to point out that we are most fortunate & greatly appreciative for all of our wonderful coaches, team managers and other volunteers. These folks unselfishly gave hours upon hours of their time for sake of our IHWC children – running practices, leading games, tying skates, filling water bottles, motivating & encouraging players, developing practice plans, communicating with players / families, completing USA Hockey certification (online & classroom), running clocks, keeping game sheets. Extensive & exhaustive! We owe much of our success to the goodwill & commitment of our many, many volunteers. If you haven’t had the opportunity yet, please be sure to thank them or even buy them a special treat in the Club Room. Thank you!
Looking ahead to 2017-18, IHWC’s commitment to an excellent youth hockey program remains as strong as ever. Plans are well underway for some exciting enhancements in a number of key areas. A summary of the most material ones is below.
Mite House Program:
The Mite House program is critically important to the overall health of the Winter Club as well as the future of our youth hockey program. As such, it will always demand attention and focus. 2016-17 was an important transformational year for our Mite House program. Lead by the leadership of Co-Commissioners Billy Roberts & Steve Dronsfield, the mite program was more organized & better executed than years past (thank you Billy & Steve!). Building upon this revitalization effort, the upcoming season will usher in a further commitment to the program. One emerging concept is the pursuit of the team experience while remaining fully committed to the ADM model. In addition, a new Mite House Manager position has been established and will be filled by Mike Coburn who brings years of experience in organizing youth hockey programs (thank you, Mike!). Other development areas include:
• Improved coaches training, development & expectations
• Further integration of mite select & mite house
• Renewed player expectations
• New parent training / education & involvement
Our High School program here at IHWC is committed to the total development of all student athletes with an emphasis on team success. The members of our program take great pride in having a strong work ethic, being accountable and unselfish. These qualities, and each player’s commitment to teamwork, provide our program with a strong foundation for success. As the 2016/2017 season wound down we said goodbye to our longtime coach Tom O’Brien. While he will surely be missed both on and off the ice by the young men in this program, there is an excitement building for the continued success of HS Hockey at IHWC. Coach Marc Michaelson and Coach Poke have a lot of great things in store for the program. We ask that all attend the parent’s meeting next Monday April 3rd at 7pm to find out more!
New Youth Hockey Advisory Committee:
In order to provide our Youth Hockey Director with ongoing support & direction, a new Youth Hockey Advisory Committee (YHAC) has recently been established. Committee members represent the families from across our program & include Megan Viles, Stephanie Kennebeck, Brad Kranson, Chris Andruss, Rob Seichter, Andy Pokupec (Director of Youth Hockey), Tim Johnson (General Manager) and Shawn Crowley (BOT Member/Youth Hockey Liaison). Among the first order of business will be the pursuit of a new IHWC youth hockey logo (long overdue!) as well as more consistent jerseys across the entire program. There will be more details to follow over the next few weeks from the YHAC.
Important Upcoming Dates:
• Parent Meetings
Monday, April 3rd 6pm—Squirts
Monday, April 3rd 7pm—High School
Thursday, April 6th 6pm—Pee Wees
Thursday, April 6th 7pm—Bantams
Friday, April 7th 6pm—Mites
• Pre-Tryout Tune Up & Skills Clinic
Squirts—April 17th 6-7:30pm
Pee Wees—April 21st 6-7:30pm
Bantams—April 20th 6-7:30pm
• 2017/2018 Travel Tryouts
Tryout—April 24th 6-7:20pm
Call Back—April 28th 6-6:50pm
Tryout—April 25th 6-7:20pm
Call Back—April 28th 7-7:50pm
Tryout—April 27th 6-7:20pm
Call Back—April 28th 8-8:50pm
Tryout—April 21st 7:30-9pm
Call Back—April 22nd 6:30-7:30pm
Director of Youth Hockey Transition:
Lastly, as we head into the final weeks of spring hockey, the Youth Hockey Director transition from Danny Wood to Andy (“Poke”) Pokupec is now in full swing. While they continue to work together for spring pods, tryouts & planning for a stronger program, this transition represents a bit of a mixed blessing for us. Over his 2 years with us, Danny has built our program in immeasurable & numerous ways. From his on-ice coaching & clinics to his behind the scene program & strategy work, Danny leaves in indelible mark on our youth hockey program, for which we are grateful. His passion and commitment will be greatly missed. That said, our future is indeed bright with the arrival of Poke who has already been fast at work to elevate our program to the next level. Please join me again in thanking Danny & welcoming Poke.
Thank you & please feel free to reach out to either of us with any questions.
Tim Johnson, CMAA – General Manager
Shawn P Crowley – Board of Trustees, Youth Hockey Liaison