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This note is for  all Michigan coaches and team managers.  After months of really bad news, there are some points of light beginning to shine as we enter the month of May.  Many of us have lost friends or acquaintances these past two months, others are out of work, and of course, all our rinks have been shut down and there is no hockey, amateur or professional.  Despite all this, there are reasons for hope as we begin to think about a new season of 2020-2021.  I know this is a long note, but please review it.

To begin, you should know that there are many working groups planning alternatives for whatever scenarios we find next fall.  I expect that in early May, the Michigan web site,, will have a section dedicated to this planning, with up-to-date information on rink openings, tryouts, physical safety for participants, etc.  Over one hundred hockey leaders in Michigan are participating in these working sessions.

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   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 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

Also, USA Hockey’s Coaching Program is exploiting our media capabilities, holding webinars (currently 4 times each week) and other online events to keep our members motivated and informed.  The easiest way to access this information is on Facebook, at 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.

A word about Coaching Clinics – we are still examining our options to hold clinics next fall, given the current pandemic.  Since the picture is really unclear, we cannot post any clinics until August, at the earliest.  I will have more information on that in July.  On the other hand, the Online Modules and Level 3 Recertification programs are online, they are available now.  You can complete them during the spring or summer to be ready to go in the fall.   Find them at

A Warning About Unsanctioned Activities    (Updated 5-6-2020)

Before closing out this update, I also need to raise some concerns over a very few of our members who give the appearance of violating MAHA’s policies and rules on tampering/recruiting and tryouts.  Importantly - be sure that any player contacts are initiated with the knowledge/participation of the parents to avoid a Safe Sport violation.  Tryouts, or any activity that could be construed as a try-out as defined in the MAHA Guidebook, are prohibited right now.  Remember, you have no official roster of players at this time, so if you plan activities with a small group of players, be sure that your hockey association or club is aware of it and approves.  The best way to do player development activities at this time would be if they are open to all members of an age group, and are sponsored officially by the club or association, while complying with any large-group health requirements.

Also, many of us hear rumors of various MAHA start-up dates, like mid-May or June 1.   As of this writing, all MAHA team and player-related activities are suspended.   There is no official “restart” date, thus any rumors to the contrary are just that – rumors.  The MAHA web site will always reflect official information on when any activities, such as tryouts, can begin.   Email notices will be sent to leagues, associations, and you, our coaches, when we can begin to “open up”. 

I know many of us are going “stir crazy” and we want to return to our normal lives.  That is not yet possible.  I strongly urge you to be sure that any coaching related activities you undertake during this unusual time are in compliance with USA Hockey and MAHA rules/policies.  For example, developing your own skills as a coach is a perfect activity right now.  If you have questions, contact your local hockey association, or your regional MAHA officials, using the “About MAHA” tab of the web site.

In closing, I and my entire staff of instructors wish you all the best in this difficult time.   See you in the fall!

Jack Witt, Michigan District Coach-in-Chief

Introduction to the USA Hockey Coaching Education Program

Welcome to the Michigan Amateur Hockey Association (MAHA) web site, and thank you for your interest in the Coaching Education Program, one of USA Hockey's educational offerings.

Coaches - you are the reason our program exists.  You have taken on a demanding job.  We want to be a resource for you, to help you do the best job you are able to do.  After all, parents and players have a right to expect that you are doing your best for every player on the team.  Let us help you move them to the next level, whatever that may be.  In the process, you may discover that coaching is something you enjoy, and are good at. 

We believe that coaches are a prime influence in the lives of young people, and that coaching education is a potent force for the betterment of every participant's hockey experience.  Through our programs, you may be able to move to the next level as well!

If you are looking for specific information on coaching in Michigan, please review the links at the top of this page.    We also recommend reviewing the Coaches tab of the USA Hockey web site.

In closing, let's consider what the U.S. Olympic Committee has to say about Coaching:  "To coach effectively, it is not enough to have played or watched the sport, or to have merely read about how to coach.  Quality coaching requires essential professional, interpersonal, and intrapersonal knowledge used in coaching practice to meet the needs of athletes in that setting.   Informed daily decisions and behaviors that serve the best interest of the athletes, the team, and the program are the ultimate demonstration of quality coaching."*

*from USOC Quality Coaching Framework, 2019


USA Hockey's Coaching Education Program and American Development Model Staff are hosting weekly webinar series which you can participate in.  For information on prior webinars including the ability to view those already completed, and for a schedule of upcoming programming, visit: 

2020 Level 5 Postponed to next year

The Level 5 (National Hockey Coaching Symposium), scheduled for August, 2020, in Duluth, has been postponed due to the Coronavirus.  The rescheduled dates are August 19-22, 2021, in Duluth.  Anyone who registered will have that carried-forward, or they can request a refund.  Refer to the Level 5 information on the USA Hockey web site, in the Coaches section.


Both USA Hockey and Michigan Amateur Hockey are working through many issues caused by the Covid-19 virus.  As of May 1, 2020, we are not allowing any coaching clinics to be scheduled or offered, until at least OCTOBER 1.   The Michigan Coaching Program will offer details on plans as the situation becomes clearer, hopefully in July.

Should a coach always wear a helmet?

The unexpected can happen any time.  What do you think would have happened to this coach had he not been wearing his helmet?


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