Brian Tulik made one thing very clear at the annual Michigan Amateur Hockey Association summer meeting in Traverse City: if the coaches and parents don’t buy into the USA Hockey American Development Model, it simply will not succeed within an organization.
Tulik is the director of coaching and player development for the Kalamazoo Optimist Hockey Association, Michigan’s second USA Hockey ‘ADM Model Association’ and currently only one of 11 in the country.
Though it certainly wasn’t easy from the start, the KOHA staff managed to transform both parents and coaches into believers. In convincing the coaches, the lack of state championships within KOHA was all that Tulik said he needed to bring up as motivation. For the parents, the emphasis was placed on skill development, which is exactly what the ADM aims for.
“The biggest challenge we faced was – we’re calling it the parent partnership – parent education,” Tulik said. “The coaches surprisingly actually bought in a lot better than our parents did. Some of that is you’ve got old school parents, some of it is you’ve got people that just aren’t hockey people.
“From our standpoint, we tried preaching the benefits for your child, the skill development. No parent can argue that; they want their kid to be the best player out there.”
Through the ADM, KOHA has allowed more kids on the ice per session, essentially making more ice touches – and puck touches – less expensive. Though it varies slightly by age group, teams are typically on the ice three to four times per week, with off-ice sessions included for the younger age groups. The KOHA staff were firm believers in the looming potential to boost player development this way, a lead reason they wanted to adopt such a program.
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