COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – At USA Hockey’s Annual Congress held here last week (June 6-9), the USA Hockey Board of Directors learned that a record 562,145 players were part of the organization in 2017-18.
“With our focus on safety, growth and player development, it is encouraging to see advancements in all areas, especially in the number of players involved in USA Hockey and particularly at the entry level,” said Jim Smith, who was unanimously re-elected president of USA Hockey at Saturday’s (June 9) Board of Directors meeting.
Of the 562,145 players, a record 122,135 were at 8U, which is considered the entry level within USA Hockey.
USA Hockey also finished with a record 1,178,711 players, coaches, officials, volunteers and parents that were part of the organization in 2017-18.
“Thanks to the continued efforts of our volunteers all across the country; the partnership and engagement with the NHL and its members clubs as well as the NHLPA; our corporate partners; and so many other important stakeholder groups, our sport continues to make positive gains,” said Pat Kelleher, executive director of USA Hockey. “We have continued work to do and the conversations at our Annual Congress were productive as we set for the course for this coming season and beyond.”
TOM FARREY FEATURED SPEAKER
Tom Farrey, executive director of the Aspen Institute’s Sports and Society program, gave a presentation on the state of youth sports in the U.S. to attendees on Thursday (June 7) morning. Farrey celebrated the leadership of USA Hockey, but also challenged the organization to continue to push the envelope, particularly in encouraging multi-sport play.
“It was terrific to have Tom address our group,” said Kelleher. “He is very well versed in the overall landscape of youth sports and it was nice to have an outside voice champion some of the pro-active decisions made by our organization. That said, he gave us some good feedback on ways we can continue to improve. His message and challenges were certainly well received.”
At Saturday’s (June 9) Board of Directors meeting, in addition to the re-election of Jim Smith (Mt. Prospect, Ill.) as president, the Board also:
• Re-elected Ron DeGregorio (Salem, N.H.) as board chair
• Re-elected Dave Klasnick (McMurray, Pa.) as vice president and chair of the youth council.
• Elected Don Mulder (Waupun, Wis.) as vice president and chair of the adult council, replacing John Beadle (East Lansing, Mich.), who retired after 27 years in the position
• Elected Donna Kaufman (Tacoma, Wash.) to fill the remaining term of John Vanbiesbrouck (Detroit, Mich.) as vice president and chair of the junior council
• Elected Sarah Fraser (Cheshire, Ct.) and George Atkinson (Spring Lake, Mich.) to the two available director at-large positions
• Elected Bruce Urban (Queen Creek, Ariz.) as director representative to the executive committee
• Affirmed Pam Dreyer (Eagle River, Alaska) as athlete representative to the executive committee
• Elected John Beadle (East Lansing, Mich.), Dan Esdale (Hyde Park, Mass.) and Phil Verchota (Bemidji, Minn.) as director emeritus
NOTES: During Saturday’s Board of Directors meeting, Jim Smith presented President’s Awards to Flint Doungchak, (Eugene, Oregon) who currently serves as the Pacific District Coach-In-Chief, as well as USA Hockey staff members Kelley Lynch, Brad Kauhane, Chris Smith and Ralph Heffter … Dr. George Nagobads (Minneapolis, Minn.), who has served on USA Hockey’s Safety and Protective Committee for the last 34 years, announced he is retiring. The 96-year-old Nagobads, who received a standing ovation during Friday’s (June 8) President’s Awards Dinner, has been part of USA Hockey for 51 years. He was inducted into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame in 2010 and his numerous contributions to the organization include serving as a team physician for 30 U.S. national teams … The Annual Congress included the yearly Sponsor Summit, an opportunity for USA Hockey’s corporate partners to gather, share ideas, and hear updates about different areas of the organization … Also part of USA Hockey’s Annual Congress was the organization’s gathering with members of U.S.-based NHL clubs, as well as staff from the NHL and NHLPA office, for discussions centering on youth hockey initiatives … The USA Hockey Annual Congress included two significant award dinners and details can be found here. Among the many highlights was the celebration of the gold medal-winning 2018 U.S. Olympic Women’s Ice Hockey and 2018 U.S. Paralympic Sled Hockey teams.