On Sunday, April 26th we will be having an equipment swap for those in the market for new ?used? gear or have kids who want to try hockey and don?t want to buy anything just yet! New and returning players may also register onsite and are welcome to come in and look at what we have even if you have nothing to swap in return! Items will be given out or swapped to those families signed up with NRSA. Please drop off equipment if not swapping by 8:30 a.m.
Additionally we will be collecting bags of clothes to be donated to the Epilepsy Foundation. Catch the Spring cleaning fever and drop those clothes, shoes, linens and handbags off to us! These two events will be held together at the North Reading Moose from 8:30 am-10:30 am on April 26th so stop on in, have a cup of coffee and learn about our program while donating to a great cause. The Town Wide Yard Sale is the day before so feel free to drop off all unsold cloth items to us the next morning for the Epilepsy Foundation!
If you have equipment to donate to our hockey swap or bags of clothing to the Epilepsy Foundation and cannot make it please contact Marie Tucker at (339)933-0770 or
or myseIf at (617) 293-0709 or
to schedule a pick-up. We would also be happy to drop off Epilepsy Foundation bags to your door to be filled and dropped off to us on April 26th at the North Reading Moose between the hours of 8:30 am and 10:30 am.
The NRSA Squirts completed the season at the top of the Valley Hockey League (VHL) Squirt National division with an outstanding 28-5-2 record and a remarkable 171 goals vs. 90 goals for the opponents in 35 games. The Squirts led all 225 VHL teams in wins, goals and goal differential.
There is nothing better than playoff hockey and the NRSA Squirts gave us plenty to cheer about! The first opponent was a formidable Agawam team. The Hornets got started quickly with Landon Phillips moving the puck to defenseman Justin Daley. Justin made a lead pass to Cole Lopilato, who broke in for the first goal, only one minute into the game. Three minutes later, Justin Daley made great pass to Joey Collins, who fired it into the net. Additional goals by Jake Mikulski, Joe Repetto and Lopilato scoring two more, for a hat trick, rounded out the scoring. Justin Daley ended up with three assists, Landon Phillips had two assists and Max Hampoian and Teddy Suny assisted on Mikulski’s goal for a convincing 6-3 victory for the Hornets. Our defensive standouts Justin Daley, Joe Gattuso, Matt Young, Deven Tucker and Jenna Dinapoli kept Agawam at bay along with fantastic goal keeping by Sam Elliott. Alex Selverian, Nathan Phillips and Vincent Pastore were superb in their fore checking, back checking and offensive attack.
Next up were the Reading Rockets and they were no match for the Hornets. Joey Collins netted the first goal on a pass from Cole Lopilato. Forty seconds later, Lopilato scored on a beautiful pass by Teddy Suny. With only ten seconds remaining in the first period, Joe Repetto broke in alone and scored unassisted for a 3-0 lead. North Reading kept the pressure on in the second period, but Reading’s goaltending was determined to make this a game. Finally, Cole Lopilato scored in the third period on a great pass by Joey Collins. Teddy Suny finished off the Rockets with a goal at 1:29 in the third period with assists going to Matt Young and Landon Phillips for a 5-0 final score. The Hornet team kept up its intensity with credit going the entire team for keeping the Rockets scoreless. However, the big story was the masterful goaltending by Deven Tucker. Deven turned away shot after shot, keeping the Hornet team charged with energy, and recording a critical shutout.
The Hornets were now poised to take the Championship and they did not disappoint us. The Methuen Rangers were a tough team and back in the net was Sam Elliott and he put on a show. The Hornet defense of Patrick Tannian, Justin Daley, Joe Gattuso, Matt Young, Deven Tucker and Jenna Dinapoli was frustrating the Rangers with superb play. Forwards Vincent Pastore, Nathan Phillips and Alex Selverian pressured the Rangers and the league-leading offense turned it on. Joey Collins, who played defense most of the year, moved to forward and scored 11 goals in the last ten games. Jenna Dinapoli moved the puck to Lopilato who passed to Collins. Joey took care of business and knocked in the first goal to electrify the crowd. Twenty seconds later Cole Lopilato set up Landon Phillips and there was no looking back. Methuen tried to hold on for a while, but the Hornets stung again for three goals in just over a minute. Lopilato, Collins and Max Hampoian scored, putting the Hornets up 5-0 with assists by Joe Gattuso, Landon Phillips, Jenna Dinapoli, Teddy Suny and Jake Mikulski. Teddy Suny and Joe Repetto both scored unassisted in the third to make it a final 7-2 Championship victory over the Rangers.
NRSA Squirts Lead VHL All-Star East Team to Championship!
Max Hampoian, Cole Lopilato and Teddy Suny lead VHL All-Stars to Championship!
North Reading Squirt hockey players, Max Hampoian, Cole Lopilato and Teddy Suny, were selected as members of the Valley Hockey League (VHL) Elite All-Star East team. The trio is the teams 1st line and led the team in scoring as they compiled a first place 9-2-1 record in the series between four VHL All-Star teams. The Elite All-Star East team consists of fifteen players and two goalies, selected from the 2600+ Squirt-level players in the VHL. This year was Cole Lopilato’s second year selection to an All-Star team, as he represented North Reading last year and was the only returning player from his All-Star team.
The VHL Elite All-Star East and South teams faced off in the Championship game at the Valley Hockey Forum in Haverhill on Friday night, March 20th. The two teams had identical records in the series. The East All-Stars had a 3-1-1 record against the South and received the #1 seed in the playoffs. The South team was ready and came out firing, taking an early 3-1 lead in the game. The East regrouped and quickly came back as Teddy Suny head-manned the puck to Cole Lopilato. Cole made a move to the outside and slid the puck to Max Hampoian. Max fired the puck in the net to tie the game and electrified the team and the fans. There was no stopping them now! The East team controlled the rest of the game and won the Championship with a 6-3 win.
Max, Cole and Teddy are members of the North Reading Skating Association (NRSA) Squirt team that is currently leading the VHL in their division and is poised to make a run in the playoffs.
by Allison Stringer, MS, PT Professional Skater & Physical Therapist
Burbank Arena, Reading Massachusetts
Tuesdays --- July 7 through August 25, 2015 5:00 – 5:50 pm $250 ($225 if paid by 5/15/15)
Program Goals & Objectives
Teach players proper skating technique to:
Increase stride length
Improve forward & backward skating
Improve edge quality
Develop quick turns & changes in direction
Develop quick starts & stops
Speed & Agility
Strength & Endurance
Power & Control
5:00-5:10 full ice skating
5:10-5:50 small groups by skill level to focus on
stick handling/puck control while skating
Please return with full payment ($15 non-refundable registration fee)
$225 includes registration if received by 5/15/15
$250 after 5/15/15
Young hockey players believe skating fast means moving their feet fast. The best way to skate fast, however, is by utilizing proper technique. Players must first slow down and gain "edge quality" and control. After learning now to use their edges properly, the hockey player will then more efficiently gain speed and power. Allison Stringer’s program is a unique opportunity for the developing hockey player to learn technique in order to improve skill, speed, strength, and stamina. Players will be prepared for the fall season-- skilled skaters make better players!
Allison McCann Stringer, Physical Therapist and Professional Skater, is the Clinic Manager for Pro Ex Physical Therapy in Woburn MA. Allison specializes in Manual Physical Therapy for patients with orthopedic injuries to the spine, & sports medicine. Allison is a Fellow of the American Academy of Orthopedic Manual Physical Therapists. She on ice coaches Mite, Squirt, and PeeWee’s with NRSA-North Reading Hockey, professional staff with North Shore Skating Club. She is the Team Physical Therapist for North Reading School of Ballet’s Academy Performing Team, is a member of the Sports Medicine Society of the USFSA, the Professional Skaters Association, and was the 2002-2005 Team Physical Therapists for the Hayden Synchronized Skating Teams.
AllisonStringer@comcast.net 18 MacArthur Road North Reading 01864 (978) 207-0048
14U/16U: Three Elements for Optimal Offseason Training
Hockey season is almost over. It can be a sad time for young hockey players. As much as it’s nice to see the days last a little longer and the temperature rise a little higher, the thought of months without hockey is never fun.
However, registering for spring hockey leagues and summer showcase events isn’t the best hockey-withdrawal remedy for serious 14U/16U hockey players advancing to higher levels of competition.
Mike Boyle, owner of Mike Boyle Strength and Conditioning, has worked with Boston University, the Boston Red Sox, the Boston Bruins and the 1998 gold-medal winning U.S. Women’s Olympic Team. He believes the offseason should be time away from the ice, focused on becoming a better athlete as well as a better hockey player.
Even the world’s best players have an offseason, and they spend most of it honing their craft away from the rink.
“I think of it like taking a test. If you take an exam and do poorly, and then take it again, without studying, you’re not going to do any better,” said Boyle, who also served as a consultant in the creation of USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program. “The offseason is really the same. The way you train and prepare in the offseason will get you ready for that next season.
“The best players in the world, even at the NHL level, only have the puck for a minute or two every game,” he continued. “Just playing games isn’t going to make you a better hockey player. Practicing and training your body are where the difference is.”
When a young person and his or her family decide to get serious about hockey, Boyle believes there are three specific focus areas for proper offseason training: strength training, speed development and interval conditioning. These activities help young players become the type of athletes that make great hockey players.
A common misconception for young athletes is that lifting the most weight will build the type of strength necessary to advance as a hockey player. These young athletes must be reminded that the muscles visible in any mirror aren’t necessarily the ones hockey players use most during a game.
Hockey tests every element of a person. As such, every muscle needs some attention during the offseason. It’s not just about who can curl or bench-press the heaviest weight.
“We see kids doing work, and you’d think they were trying to become bodybuilders instead of hockey players,” Boyle says. “The ‘mirror muscles’ aren’t the muscles that make great hockey players. For every pushing exercise you do, there should be a pulling exercise as well.”
Going for a daily run isn’t a bad idea for people trying to get in shape. But hockey players aren’t just trying to get in shape. Offseason workouts should be about becoming a better athlete and a better hockey player, which means adjusting traditional forms of exercise to the sport’s demands. Speed is one of these demands and some laps around the local track won’t help as much as you’d think.
“Running as fast as you can for as long as you can develops speed,” Boyle says. “If you think about the average shift in a hockey game, it lasts about 45 seconds for a forward and one minute for a defenseman. Just running a couple miles isn’t going to make you a faster skater. Speed development isn’t the same as conditioning.”
Boyle believes intense sessions that focus on a series of short sprints mixed with infrequent rest periods help players improve their skating speed. Not every player relies on blazing speed as part of his or her game, but every young athlete should develop their speed as they grow. Everyone can get faster, even if it’s just a step, and often a single step can make all the difference in hockey. Working on speed development in the offseason is a crucial part of any training regimen.
Between the ages of 14 and 16, the decision to be more serious about hockey comes with new responsibilities. Taking care of your body is one of them. Conditioning helps players achieve the rest of their goals.
“Interval conditioning is about that 2:1 or 3:1 work-to-rest ratio,” Boyle says. “It can be as simple as running for a few minutes then walking for one minute and repeating that for a while.”
This doesn’t come with a hockey-specific element Boyle described in the other two parts of his training concepts, but it’s just as important.
Play Other Sports
Even when you’re ramping up training and getting more serious about hockey, it’s important to continue playing complementary sports. Incorporate at least one or two additional sports that include speed, explosiveness, strength, agility and hand-eye coordination. Lacrosse, soccer and tennis are some examples that will help you stay in game shape while avoiding hockey burnout.
Every Day is an Important Day
So even as the hockey season ends, and young players skip a few months of the on-ice game action they received starting in October, there is still just as much work to do and even more potential to improve.
Those who put in the work – the right kind of work – will reap the greatest rewards.
Physical play is part of hockey. Contact along the walls, in the neutral zone and other spots where puck battles occur is just one of the many reasons we love playing the game.
However, physical play isn’t about the big hit at center ice that leaves an opponent injured or struggling to get up. For players transitioning to bantam levels, where body checking is allowed for the first time, it’s important that they learn what body checking really is. Body contact and body checking is a skill, just like stickhandling, passing, shooting, skating, etc.
The media sometimes encourages a misperception of body checking’s true purpose.
Paul Pearl, head men’s hockey coach at Holy Cross University in Worcester, Mass., believes young players frequently forget that checking is about puck possession, not throwing the biggest hit on an opponent.
“The biggest thing we have to teach is that checking is about separating the player from the puck,” Pearl says. “You’re not trying to separate a kid’s body from his head. Checking is part of hockey, but it isn’t about the biggest hits.”
Checking is needed to create offense and play well defensively. So how can peewees (12U) prepare for the world of body checking that awaits them at bantam?
Small Areas, Tight Spaces
Small-area games and station-based practices should ease the transition naturally. Through these activities, kids learn how to navigate in tight spaces while maintaining body control. Engaging in puck battles will familiarize players with contact and puck possession.
Creating these environments for our players will give them confidence when it comes time to body check.
The Four Steps
Positioning and angling, stick checking, body contact and body checking are the four steps to safely and effectively learning how to check. At 12U, players should be at the fourth and final stage of learning how to body check.
Here are the different body-checking techniques that should be learned:
Front Check: Lean forward and connect with the top of the shoulder
Side Check: Push with the outside leg and connect with inside shoulder and hip
Side Check, Open-Ice: Unload the weight of the closest skate
Side Check, Along Boards: Use angling skills and aim to control the opponent’s arms
Hip Check, Pinching: Delivered while skating forward to approach opponent. Turn sideways, use angling skills and connect with shoulder and hip. Aim for the opponent’s center of gravity, not the knees.
Hip Check, Open Ice: Maintain a solid tripod position, make a powerful c-cut and turn your hip toward the opponent’s center of gravity, not the knees. Timing and positioning is key.
Players shouldn’t focus solely on learning how body check an opponent. They should also be learning how to receive a body check. It is a key component of not only helping your team maintain possession of the puck, but also protecting yourself.
To avoid the check, try using deceptive head, stick or body fakes to mislead the opponent. Changing your skating pace can also be a useful technique for misleading the opponent.
If you can’t avoid a body check, position your body to accept it safely. Keep your head up and try to maintain a low center of gravity with knees bent. Know where the boards are.
In his own experience, Pearl has seen improvement from players in Massachusetts by watching son’s games. Delaying body checking until bantam didn’t remove all of the contact from the game, but it did open the ice up for more playmaking and skating.
“The best teams win games, and the best teams score goals,” Pearl says. “I think it’s allowed for more skill development. If you have a kid who’s not as developed as others, and he can let his skills develop in peewee, he’ll be better prepared for checking as a bantam.
“My son is (1999 birth year), and he came into peewee being able to check his first year then he couldn’t his second year because of the rule changes,” he says. “From what I saw, it was just a better game. Pushing checking back doesn’t take away contact, but it does allow players to develop their skills without worrying about getting decked.”
Not everyone experiences growth spurts at the same age. Delaying body checking until bantams helps avoid some of these disparities, and, again, helps slighter boys improve skills on the puck before they have to worry about it.
“When we bring checking into the game, players are going through puberty,” Pearl says. “So you’ll see a lot of size mismatches, with some kids just not as big as others. Pushing checking back to the bantam level gives those players more time to develop physically.”
As a result of adjustments to the rules, Pearl believes youth hockey in Massachusetts – and the United States as a whole – has started producing better players. A greater focus on skill development and increased hockey sense means players of all sizes are better equipped to contribute in all aspects of the sport.
As they progress to the bantam level, they’re better prepared to make and take hits because their understanding of checking’s value is greater.
“I think as a lot of these kids from the ‘97, ‘98 and ‘99 birth years get into college or juniors, Massachusetts Hockey is going to see kind of a rebirth because of these changes,” Pearl says. “These kids have learned how to play with checking, but they’ve also spent more time developing their skills on the puck.”
The physical component of hockey is part of what makes it a beautiful sport. In recent years, however, increased focus on player safety and skill development have put a greater emphasis on learning to hit as part of general offensive and defensive strategy.
In the eyes of Pearl and countless others, these adjustments have helped young hockey players learn the true purpose of body checking and how to do it more effectively. There will always be some risk associated with hockey, but teaching children to play the right way negates it to a large extent.
Watching your child have fun on the ice is priceless. Seeing your son or daughter play, learn and compete with their friends is a lifelong investment. But mortgaging the house won’t turn your child into the next Patrick Kane or Hilary Knight. Not even close.
Ice time, tournaments, travel and equipment can take a hit on the piggy bank, but can it also hinder your child’s development?
Kevin Patrick, assistant men’s hockey coach at the University of Vermont, said that at the 10U level, there are three simple ways to avoid spending too much and gaining very little.
Share the Ice
The more people to split the cost, the lower that cost will be for everyone. Just because players are now past the 6U/8U levels doesn’t mean splitting ice time has to go away.
In fact, it shouldn’t.
“Multiple teams on a 200’ x 85’ sheet of ice still provides plenty of room for station and skill development,” said Patrick. “It’s not only a good way to cut costs, but it really is the best thing to do for a player’s development.”
Some coaches believe that sharing the ice will prevent them from working on team concepts.
“It’s that hesitation based on old-school ideas,” said Patrick. “We think that as our teams get older we need to focus on older team concepts, but that’s not the case. At this 10U level, skill development should still be the primary focus and sharing the ice in stations is the perfect example of doing that.”
Practice > Games
Development is based on what a player does day in and day out at their local rinks in practice. The 10U age is a prime skills acquisition stage for players, so practices must take advantage of this ripe window of opportunity. Because of this, players and parents should be less concerned about getting in the most competition and games.
“The idea of playing games is fun and people want to play games. They want to test themselves in multiple games at the expense of giving up practices,” said Patrick. “A 60-minute practice greatly outweighs the advantages of a 60-minute game.”
Eliminate the Travel
One primary culprit of loss in development and increased financial cost is travel. Traveling to get the best possible competition is not what is best for your team or individual players. It is actually the complete opposite.
“Just the time spent in the car alone is hurting the kids,” said Patrick. “Think with those three- or four-hour trips, how many times could your child be shooting 100 pucks or stickhandling. All of those age-specific, off-ice and on-ice trainings are being missed just while people are traveling.”
The financial cost of travel is another thing to consider. Between hotel rooms, gas, food and tournament fees, traveling to play games has an unnecessary hidden cost associated with it.
The occasional out-of-town tournament offers a fun team-bonding opportunity and experience, but over-competing in tournaments and travel-intensive schedules can become overwhelming.
As Patrick stated, spending more does not always produce better results. Let your child play, learn and love the game without breaking the bank.
Watch 8U players and try to identify a team’s center, right wing or left defenseman. Chances are, the cluster of players chasing the puck or scurrying around will make it pretty challenging. But believe it or not, at this level, that freedom to explore the ice is more beneficial than being pigeonholed into a specific position.
“(At 8U) players shouldn’t be focusing on positions,” said Kevin Patrick, assistant coach of the University of Vermont men’s hockey team. “If they focus too much on what their position is and where they should be, they’re missing out on learning more important aspects of the game.
“What players need to know on the ice is the ability to read, react and adjust to where your teammates are at. That starts at the 8U level and only grows from there.”
Here are three big reasons 8U players shouldn’t be zeroing in on one position but instead trying them all.
Learn the Game, Not the Position
Hockey is still new at 8U. Learning to skate, learning to shoot and learning the basic rules and elements of the game should be at the forefront of everyone’s mind – rather than positional tactics.
“(Not choosing a position) provides a great opportunity for kids to learn conceptually about positioning in the game of hockey,” Patrick said. “I think if they can grasp the idea of ‘OK, this is where I want to be when my team has the puck and how I can support the puck carrier offensively,' I think their game and understanding of how to make plays will really grow.”
Cross-ice hockey reinforces that idea. The age-appropriate ice sheet creates an environment for them to get more puck touches, make quicker decisions and learn how to read and react to the play.
Versatility is an Ally
One highly valuable but often under-looked quality is the ability to be comfortable on both sides of the puck. Players like Cam Fowler, Gigi Marvin, Dustin Byfuglien and Ryan Callahan have shown why versatility is important. Developing that flexibility and hockey smarts starts at 8U.
“You constantly hear stories about a player who all of a sudden moves from forward to defense in junior hockey,” Patrick said. “Ultimately, you go where a coach tells you. If they ask you to play defense, you might find that your game really takes off. I think you have to keep an open mind throughout your career.
“A player who is willing to move around to help his or her team is not only more coachable, but will develop into a better overall player. Players shouldn’t pigeon-hole themselves (into one position), especially starting at 8U.”
“But I want to score goals …”
It’s hard to say no to your young mite, and it’s natural for players at every level to want to lead the offensive charge. Patrick is seeing that in his own two sons, James and John.
“They both like to score goals right now and that’s about it,” Patrick said with a laugh. “We have to remind them to try it all.”
Scoring isn’t specific to one position on the ice. Mike Brodzinski, a former NCAA Division I player turned youth coach, encouraged his son, Michael, to switch to defense during his first year of bantam hockey in Blaine, Minnesota. Michael resisted initially, but found he had a knack for the position. He’s now a sophomore defenseman at the University of Minnesota.
“I told (Michael) he can score from back there, too,” said Mike. “He called me after being invited to the (2014) U. S. Junior Evaluation Camp and said, ‘Thanks for making me try defense.’”
So remember, 8U is primetime for your player to begin developing all of their hockey skills, not just an offensive, defensive or goaltending talent. Remind them to try every position to develop versatility and seek what suits them best. They might be surprised by the payoff, not only now, but years down the road.
WOW, what a team! The NRSA Squirts are in full stride as we hit the half-season mark for the 2014-2015 season. The team is currently at the top of the Valley Hockey League (VHL) Squirt National division with a 15-2-2 record and a remarkable 104 goals vs. 47 goals for the opponents in 19 games. The Squirts lead all 225 VHL teams in wins, goals and goal differential…yes, 225 teams with 2600+ players!
The team welcomes new-comers to the Squirt team of Joe Gattuso, Vincent Pastore, Justin Daley and Jake Mikulski. These players have joined the Squirts to help form a strong team.
The players from last year’s Squirt 2 team have moved up to bond the new-comers and veterans into a formidable force. Jenna DiNapoli, Sam Elliott, Nathan Phillips, Alex Selverian, Patrick Tannian, Matt Young and Deven Tucker have combined in both offensive and defensive positions to help solidify the team.
The veteran group of Joey Collins, Max Hampoian, Cole Lopilato, Landon Phillips, Joe Repetto and Teddy Suny have led the new comers by example. These six players have accounted for over 70 of the 104 goals, while playing both offensive and defensive positions.
Sam Elliott and Deven Tucker have split the net-minder responsibilities and have been instrumental in keep the team in the win column with a sparkling 2.47 goals against average (GAA).
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