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Coyotes Support and Showcase USA Hockey’s American Development Model

by Staff Writer / Arizona Coyotes
By Kevin West

Recently, USA Hockey and the Coyotes partnered to provide exposure for USA Hockey’s American Development Model. The clinic took place at Arena before the Coyotes vs. Stars game on Dec. 11, 2010 and included presentations by Coyotes Assistant General Manager Brad Treliving, the NHL’s Barry Smith, a five-time Stanley Cup winning coach, and USA Hockey ADM regional manager Joe Doyle.

Photo by Robert Schiller.
The model encourages high-tempo, high-activity for 60 minutes, and avoids the lulls that youth hockey practices so often entail. Common things in a youth hockey practice like waiting in lines, watching your peers and getting nervous as your turn approaches seem like a distant memory while observing a practice run in ADM style. The experience on Dec. 11 was described by parents of the participants as “a fabulous opportunity.” Some parents proclaimed that they wished they could get their money back for the last few years of paying high dollars to play travel hockey that emphasized less players on the ice and longer practice times.

One of the most common phrases you will hear Joe Doyle use when he coaches the basics of the model is “embrace the chaos.” With 60-plus kids ages 8-12 on the ice and eight coaches running six different stations, chaos was abundant.

Photo by Robert Schiller.
However, in instances where coaches usually scold kids for shooting pucks after the whistle or for not getting to lines fast enough, these coaches embraced the chaotic nature of the practice, and let the plan and methodology speak for itself. With constant activity and another station waiting for them, kids were much more engaged than they would have been if they were waiting in line for a chance to take their turn in a drill that required them to skate 85 feet across the ice and 200 feet to the opposite end. The difference in morale, player interaction, and player enthusiasm is the opposite of what many consider a more traditional practice.

The model was created just over a year ago as a means to improve player development and player retention in the sport of hockey, by bringing the fun back. The ADM includes age specific practices and concepts that allow players to develop skills by means of something many current NHLers used, by trial and error and by having fun, and that’s just what these 60 kids did before the Coyotes game on Dec. 11.
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