At the Michigan Amateur Hockey Association Summer Meeting, two prominent USA Hockey executives called for an end to “zombie hockey” and “over-scripted” practices.
Bob Mancini, Regional manager for the American Development Model and a former college and OHL head coach, said with some youth teams are playing upward of 75 games per season, the importance of development is often lost in the process.
“We have a lot of issues here in Michigan,” Mancini said. “We do so many things well, but we have some issues that we have to deal with. One of these things we have to deal with is this creation of ‘zombie hockey.’ We have kids that have played, by the time they get to 14, they’ve played so many games, they’ve played so much year-round, they play five and six games on tournament weekends… They just go out, it’s another game. ‘I’ve got six this weekend. I’ve got 75 this year as a 12-year-old.’ There’s no importance, there’s no competitive drive to get better in these games and practices because we’re burning them out by playing too much.”