New Jersey Youth Hockey League
|Players from the NJYHL member New Jersey Devils Youth Hockey Club receive instruction from their dedicated coaches (Photo/Facebook/NJ Devils Youth Hockey). |
President Frank McGady has seen a great deal since he became involved with hockey, but perhaps nothing gratifying more than children learning and growing with the sport.
McGady, who is the head ice hockey coach at Hudson Catholic High School, was elected to NJYHL Board in 1990, and was elected President of the league in 2005. He has held that position since.
According to McGady, the growth of hockey in New Jersey has been tremendous. In 1988, there were 68 teams representing 14 organizations in the NJYHL. Entering this season, there are 400 teams representing 33 organizations. In the recent past, three teams from New Jersey qualified for the National tournament.
|NJYHL President Frank McGady (Photo/mcgady.net). |
In its terms of size, New Jersey is a relatively small state. But in terms of hockey, McGady says New Jersey is one of the largest states in the country, adding, “It’s a large state with teams from top to bottom.”
The Devils take pride in New Jersey’s hockey programs. “The tremendous growth of youth hockey in our state is a testament to the hard work that people like Frank McGady put in every day,” says Jeff Vanderbeek, Chairman and Managing Partner of the New Jersey Devils. “We believe our continued support of the statewide leagues will help keep these programs thriving.”
The rewards McGady, and his colleagues, reap from devoting themselves to hockey are abundant. Seeing families come together through hockey is something that no other sport can create. Because so much time is spent at the rink for the young athlete, and their families for that matter, McGady believes hockey families are the most tightly-knit group.
“All the travel makes the hockey family different,” according to McGady. “Tournaments far away from home, two or three a year, it’s such a great bonding experience for kids.”
"The [NJYHL] Board has a lot of good, dedicated people who work hard, and through that hard work, are providing a great organization for kids to compete.” - Frank McGady
Because so much time is spent with families away from home, time management skills are a must for the young hockey player. And McGady sees his young athletes harness that skill every day. Hockey has a different effect on the lives’ of young athletes than that seen in other sports. “With the demanding schedule, players are forced to be more disciplined,” McGady believes. But that is a challenge that is accepted by the children, the results are clear.
“Hockey makes better students and better athletes. Having practice at different times, students have to get homework done at a certain hour, they really have to have good time management skills, and it makes better students,” McGady notices, adding that hockey “teaches teamwork, competitiveness, and respect for authority.”
The qualities that are grown in the student-athletes, and seeing happiness in their faces from that, is something that McGady thinks is a thrilling aspect to life.
“Watching kids grow into an adult is such a cool thing,” McGady says. “For me, seeing a smile on kids’ faces, that’s what I enjoy most.”
For more, head to NJ Youth Hockey Central.