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For Coaches/Managers: Preparing for the 2020-21 hockey season

By Jack Witt, Michigan District Coach-In-Chief, 06/10/20, 3:30PM EDT

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Coaching News Updated June 4 and June 29

Note:  Be sure to read the June 29 letter from USA Hockey regarding clinics in 2020.   Click the Coaches link above to view.

From Jack Witt, Michigan District Coach-in-Chief

This note is for  all Michigan coaches and team managers.  After months of really bad news, and after extensive discussion and advocating for our sport, we are still not "open for business as usual".   Many of us have lost friends or acquaintances these past four months, others are out of work, and of course, most of our rinks have been shut down and there is no hockey, amateur or professional.  Yet, we continue to believe that there will be hockey this fall, in some form, and we are working hard to make it happen.  I know this is a long note, but please review it.

To begin, you should know that there are a lot of good hockey people working on alternatives for whatever scenario(s) we find in the fall.  The Michigan Amateur Hockey web site, www.maha.org, now has a section dedicated to this planning, with up-to-date information on rink openings, tryouts, physical safety for participants, etc.    We also have been able to provide input to the State of Michigan as they plan the reopening of youth sports.

Also, please be reassured that USA Hockey and Michigan Amateur Hockey really appreciate the contributions of, our youth coaches.    Without you, there is no sport.  We all hope that your dedication to coaching will continue into the next season!

Things to consider during this “down-time”

To that end, I want to take a moment via this newsletter to remind you that registration as a coach is now open for next season.  If you are in a position to do so, this “down time” is a good time to get this accomplished.   You can register online at https://membership.usahockey.com/.   Along with registration, now is a good time to get your background check done also.  This is a new process for next season, which you can start at https://www.usahockey.com/backgroundscreen.  Background screens are good for two years.  Finally, these spring months are also good times to update your Safe Sport status, which needs to be done annually.  If you need to take Safe Sport, you can access that web site at https://www.usahockey.com/safesportprogram

Also, USA Hockey’s Coaching Program is exploiting our media capabilities, holding webinars each week to keep our members motivated and informed.  The easiest way to access this information is on Facebook, at https://www.facebook.com/AmericanDevelopmentModel/.  Even if you cannot attend “live”, the recordings are archived for your use, and I think you will find that both the presenters and the presentations are first-class, worthy of your time.

In addition, the Michigan Coaching Education Staff held a webinar on June 16, dealing with coaching safely in this unusual time.   It can be found on the Michigan Amateur Hockey YouTube channel.  The webinar talked about medical issues involved in returning to the rink, practicing with social distancing, and using your creativity to develop safe and effective practice plans for these times.

A word about Coaching Clinics – We have begun scheduling Virtual Coaching Clinics at Levels 2, 3, and 4.  Level 1 will roll out in September.   In-Person clinics may be scheduled at the discretion of the local instructors and in compliance with government regulations then in effect.   In addition please note that the Online Modules and Level 3 Recertification programs are online, they are available now.  You can complete them during the summer to be ready to go in the fall.   Find them at https://www.usahockey.com/coachingcertification.

In closing, I and my entire staff of instructors wish you all the best in this difficult time.   We hope to see you at a clinic, or online, in the fall!