The Michigan Amateur Hockey Association held its 2023 Summer Meeting July 6-9 at the Bavarian Inn in Frankenmuth, with this year’s focus on enhancing the culture of the hockey community and finding new ways to welcome and train future generations of hockey players.
Participants learned from guest speakers and presentations from USA Hockey leaders, a round-table discussion with coaches to discuss player development, and a presentation from the Mental Health Foundation of West Michigan on their ‘be nice’ campaign.
The MAHA Board of Directors met, reviewed and moved forward many rules proposals, which will be voted on at the 2024 Winter Meeting.
Here are some of the highlights from the weekend:
Christy Buck, founder and executive director of the Mental Health Foundation of West Michigan, was in attendance to present to the hockey community her organization’s ‘be nice.’ initiative. Buck, a hockey mom herself, discussed the four-step action plan that is proven to save lives through mental health awareness and suicide prevention.
Buck was joined by Derek Schaedig, the foundation’s outreach specialist and a former Michigan youth hockey player. Schaedig was a standout goaltender for Chelsea High School before embarking on a junior and college hockey career that took him all the way to Harvard University.
Schaedig is available to all youth hockey teams and leagues in Michigan; his contact info can be found on the benice.org website.
USA Hockey’s Joe Bonnett, a Canton native and Western Michigan alum, flew back to his home state to give a presentation on sports culture. Sharing lessons from across all sports and other countries, Bonnett highlighted the difference between transactional and transformational cultures, encouraging associations in Michigan to evaluate their strategies for engagement, development and overall well-being of their memberships.
USAH’s Bob Mancini and Ken Martel joined high school coaches Mike Slobodnik, Sean Clark and Jason Reynolds to talk about player development in Michigan. Clark, now the general manager of the USHL’s Sioux City Musketeers, pointed to Michigan’s shrinking representation at American junior hockey’s highest league and all the participants gave their thoughts on how to help create the best environment for the state’s players to reach their highest potential.
GameSheet, a new MAHA partner, will be helping modernize Michigan’s hockey culture with its digital scorekeeping app and platform that will be implemented for the 2023-24 season. For the first time, Michigan’s youth hockey scores and schedules will be housed under one digital roof. GameSheet’s Steve Feinberg and Shane McCallum were in attendance to give live demonstrations of their platform and answer questions from the MAHA membership.
MAHA director of operations and marketing Jason Reynolds gave presentations on local and national growth initiatives, encouraging association leaders to ‘be intentional’ about executing the ‘hat trick growth’ cycle - retention, acquisition and conversion.