First-year Minnesota Wild coach Bruce Boudreau continues to immerse himself in the local hockey community.
The Wild, State of Hockey, Minnesota Hockey Coaches Association (MHCA), Minnesota Hockey, and SportsEngine teamed up last week for the two-day State of Hockey High-Performance Summit that included a star-studded presentation group led by Minnesota's new head coach Bruce Boudreau, fresh from his opening days of Wild training camp.
New among that leadership group is State of Hockey, a venture backed by the Minnesota Wild, which aims to bottle the passion Minnesotans have for the sport of hockey and to celebrate and promote the game at all levels. Jamie Spencer, who heads State of Hockey, partnered with the aforementioned groups to encourage coaches to convene in Saint Paul.
"We had over 300 coaches here from all levels receiving on-ice instruction, tips from the pros and the opportunity to learn from one another," said Spencer. "We hope this event continues to grow and we will proudly continue to serve as the catalyst for opportunities to develop and grow the game."
Several top college coaches were also on the Minnesota presentation docket, including Brad Berry (North Dakota), Chris Brown (Augsburg), Joe Doyle (Air Force), Tony Granato (Wisconsin), Mike Hastings (Minnesota State), Don Lucia (Minnesota), Bob Motzko (St. Cloud State), Scott Sandelin (Minnesota Duluth) and Tom Serratore (Bemidji State). USA Hockey's trio of Grillo, Osaer and Guy "Goose" Gosselin also attended, providing age-appropriate player development insights. USA Hockey national coach-in-chief Mike MacMillan, who serves as executive director of the Minnesota Hockey Coaches Association, led the proceedings with MHCA president and USA Hockey Coaching Education Program (CEP) instructor Mark Manney.
The State of Hockey High-Performance Summit (previously known as the MHCA High School Fall Clinic) is in its 17th season of working with the Wild, and it offered a new twist for 2016. Attendee coaches could earn their Level 1, 2, 3 or 4 USA Hockey CEP certification, expanding the event's scope to include youth hockey coaches in addition to its traditional roots of high school coaches, who use the event to gain USA Hockey certification and interaction with player development colleagues from outside the Minnesota State High School League.
"We have been fortunate in Minnesota to have a long-term working relationship with the Minnesota Wild, who have continued to support hockey in our state from 8U through the professional ranks," said MacMillan. "They've gone above and beyond to support youth, high school and college hockey in our state and treat our relationships as a hockey family. It's exciting to see the NHL teams around our country team up with USA Hockey to support coach education, which is the backbone of player development. The events in Minnesota and Philadelphia are great examples of the power of working together to support our coaches."
From the Wild's perspective, that grassroots involvement is integral in growing and improving the game.
"It's our mission to create a greater State of Hockey," said Minnesota Wild chief operating officer Matt Majka. "It's critically important to us and to the health of our sport that we continue to foster opportunities for growth in all areas of the game. It was a privilege to offer our support and partnership to USA Hockey and Minnesota Hockey for this important grassroots coaching education here in Saint Paul."