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NR Youth Hockey Poker Nite
NRSA Squirts Lead VHL All-Star East Team to Championship!
North Reading Squirt hockey players, Max Hampoian, Cole Lopilato...
Allison Stringer's Summer Camp
Skating Skills for Hockey Performance Enhancement For Mites,...
14U/16U: Three Elements for Optimal Offseason Training
By USAHockey.com   Hockey season is almost over....
12U: Preparing for Body Checking
By USAHockey.com   Physical play is part of hockey....
10U: How Much Should Development Cost?
By Jessi Pierce   Watching your child have fun...
8U: Which Position Should Your Child Play?
By Jessi Pierce - Special to USA Hockey   Watch...
Benefits of Cross Ice Hockey
This YouTube video explains some of the science behind cross ice...
Free 6 Week Learn to Skate and Into to Hockey Spring Session
NRSA Squirts Lead VHL National AA
Have you seen the NRSA Squirts Play Hockey? WOW, what a team!...
Balancing Sports and Family: 13 Tips for Parents
If you feel like sports are taking too much of your and family's...
10 Questions About Player Development
09/05/2014, 9:30am EDT By Jamie MacDonald, Special to Mass Hockey Q-and-A...
Want to Play Better? Skate Better
Want to Play Better? Skate Better 10/18/2013, 6:00am EDT By Joe...
Return to Play Guidelines after Head Injuries
The following document is from USA Hockey Safety and Protective Committee. Click...
How to make a Hockey Payment or Check my Balance
To make a hockey payment by credit card or to check your balance: 1)...
NR Youth Hockey Poker Nite




MARCH 27, 2015 7 P.M.

$125 At the door /$115 Advance Purchase


Tickets include buffet



Click here to purchase tickets or you can purchased at the door by check or cash

Questions can be directed to Annette Gentile  at  


Sponsored by North Reading Skating Association (a 501c 3 Organization) and

Verizon Wireless MA

by posted 03/21/2015
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. 

Congratulations to Max, Cole and Teddy!

by posted 03/21/2015
Allison Stringer's Summer Camp

Skating Skills for Hockey Performance Enhancement

For Mites, Squirts, & Pee Wee’s

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

 Reaction Time

Program Format

5:00-5:10 full ice skating

 warm up

 skills

 technique

5:10-5:50 small groups by skill level to focus on

 Forward skating

 Backward skating

 Stops/starts

 Transitions/turn

 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

by posted 03/11/2015
14U/16U: Three Elements for Optimal Offseason Training

By USAHockey.com


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.

Strength Training

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.”

Speed Development

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.

Interval Conditioning

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.

by posted 03/10/2015
12U: Preparing for Body Checking

By USAHockey.com


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.

Read Checking the Right Way for Youth Hockey for more information and specific instructions into each of these techniques.

Protect Yourself

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.

Watch this Heads Up, Don’t Duck video to learn how to protect yourself against dangerous hits along the boards. 

A Better Game

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.”

Good Timing

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.”

Better Players

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.


by posted 03/10/2015
10U: How Much Should Development Cost?

By Jessi Pierce


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.

by posted 03/10/2015
8U: Which Position Should Your Child Play?

By Jessi Pierce - Special to USA Hockey


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.

by posted 03/10/2015
Benefits of Cross Ice Hockey

This YouTube video explains some of the science behind cross ice hockey. There is tremendous benefit for children playing cross ice hockey versus full ice. The YouTube video just reinforces much of what we already know.



by posted 01/30/2015
Free 6 Week Learn to Skate and Into to Hockey Spring Session

Sundays 1:10 pm - 2:00 pm
February 22, 2015 through March 29, 2015
Peabody, MA 
The NRSA is pleased to announce a LEARN TO SKATE and INTRO TO HOCKEY program for boys and girls aged 4 and up.  The program is suitable for children with limited exposure to skating.  This new program will be free to all North Reading residents and qualified families from other surrounding communities.  Space will be limited in order to keep the student/instructor ratio effective.
The Introl to Hockey program will be specifically suited for boys and girls that have some skating experience or those that show sufficient skating competency to participate in small area games and activities while wearing hockey equipment. The players will work on (1) basic skating skills, including ready position, forward skating and stopping, and (2) introductory hockey skills such as stick handling, American Development Model and USFA’s Introduction to Hockey series.  Sticks, pucks, balls, ringlets and other tools along with small area games will be utilized to introduce these children to basic concepts of hockey.  5 on 5 traditional games are not appropriate for this age group and will not be utilized.  Children in this program are required to have skates, wooden stick and a helmet.  Hockey equipment such as  HECC approved helmet, shoulder, shin and elbow pads as well as gloves are required. 

For more information, please click here
Click here to Register NOW!
For questions contact NR Learn to Skate and Hockey Clinic Director Dan Collins at 617-877-2490 or

by posted 01/28/2015
NRSA Squirts Lead VHL National AA

NRSA Squirts - 2014-2015

Have you seen the NRSA Squirts Play Hockey?

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).

by posted 01/20/2015
Balancing Sports and Family: 13 Tips for Parents

If you feel like sports are taking too much of your and family's time and money, if you are ready to exclaim, "Stop the world, I want to get off," you need to restore some sanity and find a better balance.

It is possible to create balance within your family's everyday life, even with children who participate in sports. But it is up to you as the parent to make certain that your kids don't over-schedule and establish the right priorities. Creating balance in child's life is important because, if you don't, you send your child the message that down time and fun for fun's sake and family time aren't important.

As Dr. Alvin Rosenfeld, author of the book, The Over Scheduled Child, Avoiding the Hyper-Parenting Trap, observes, "Today's parents need more than pressured athletics; they need time with each other as husband and wife, and time with their children with no goal in mind beyond the pleasure of spending time together. On walks, shooting hoops, playing Monopoly,whatever! Somehow many of us are insecure and doubt we ourselves have what it takes to raise our kids well. So we entrust them to ‘experts,'coaches and tutors. Yet, what our children really need is us, just quiet, unstructured, unpressured time with us." 

Here are my "baker's dozen" of tips for creating balance between sports and family life:

1. Hold a family meeting. Before each sports season, hold a family meeting to look at the master family calendar. Highlight each child's activities in different color, and discuss current commitments and goals for the upcoming season. Don't simply sign your child up for the upcoming season without asking her whether she wants to keep playing and making a joint decision. Weigh the short- and long-term benefits of an activity against the cost to your family in terms of money, time and energy. Remember to consider activities your family may miss because of sports and whether those experiences are so important that you need to find time for them in your family's schedule.

2. Set limits that fit your family. Find the level of sports participation that works for your child and your family. Take your cues from your child and trust your intuition. For some, one sport, one team per season may be right. Some children may thrive on more intense involvement. One mom registered her sons for house leagues because a traveling team's schedule wouldn't fit into her schedule. A friend limited her daughter to one sport a year, but she sent her to skills clinics and camps in the off-season. Work with your children to set limits. Don't impose them on your kids. Make sure that the limits that are set are ones that everyone can agree on. If you stay too deeply involved in every detail of your child's life, it prevents her from learning to structure her own schedule and find personal balance between activities and downtime.  Some limits to consider:

3. Find a balance between cooperation and competition, between mothers and fathers, between men and women. Find a balance between a mother's instincts  to nurture and teach collaboration and cooperation with a father's competitive instincts. If your husband is pushing your child too hard, find ways to get him to ease off.

4. Find a balanced attitude about winning and losing: keep them both in perspective, neither getting angry and upset when child doesn't play well or the team loses nor too excited if child does well or the team wins; never tie special privileges or rewards to winning or withdraw attention, love or affection when child loses. Above all, let your child know that your love for her is unconditional.

5. Find a balanced sports program: Look for leagues and clubs that balance sports, family, school and emphasize having fun. Candidly address the issue of family/sports balance with the other parents and coaches at the  preseason meeting.

6. Find a balance between sports: Introduce your child to a sport such as golf, tennis, squash, racquetball, cycling, sailing, windsurfing, rock climbing, jogging, kayaking, rowing, or canoeing that she can enjoy after her competitive career is over. Encourage him or her to keep engaging in sports and activities with you as long as he or she enjoys them, like bike riding, hiking, skating, sailing, running etc.

7. Find a balance between kids. Focusing too heavily on one child's athletic career often causes the other children in the family to feel resentful and may exacerbate sibling rivalry. Every child's interests should receive an equal amount of your attention.

8. Find a balance between sports and academics. Schoolwork should always come first. Remember that there are thirty times more dollars available for financial aid based on academics than for athletics. Consider instituting a no-TV rule from Sunday night through Friday afternoon, or at least limiting TV/video game use to a certain number of hours per day or week.

9. Find a balance between sports and social life. Try to make sure your child's sports don't keep him from making and keeping friends other than other athletes.

10. Find a balance between awake and sleep time. "Parents spend so much time and money optimizing their children's success yet the one thing they are not doing is making sure their kids get enough sleep," says Judith Owens, M.D., past chair of the Pediatric Section for the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, and co-author of Take Charge of Your Child's Sleep: The All-In-One Resource for Solving Sleep Problems in Kids and Teens.  Researchers at Brown University found that teenagers need about nine hours of sleep a night but most are only getting about seven hours a night. They also found that the amount of sleep affected a teen's grades: those who get the most tend to get the best grades; those who get the least tend to get the worst. "The greatest challenge for parents is the balance between homework, sports, music and sleep - don't over program your kids so that they give up their much needed sleep," advises Dr. Owens.

11. Find a balance between family and individual time. Parents in the United States spend less time with their children than those in almost any nation on the planet. Set aside some family time. Research has shown that teenagers who eat dinner with their parents five times per week or more are the least likely to be on drugs, to be depressed, or in trouble with the law, and the most likely to be doing well in school and to have a supportive circle of friends. Set aside one night a week or month as Family Night, when you rent a movie, pop some popcorn, light a fire and just be together. Make it sacred time.

12. Find a balance between active and quiet time. Set aside some time every evening when all the electronic gadgets (cell phones, Play Stations, computers, MP3 players, iPods, and PDA's) are turned off and you and your kids just have some peace and quiet to think and dream or go outside and marvel at the Milky Way in the night sky.

13. Set aside some one-on-one time for you and your spouse. One suggestion: establish a rule that your kids need to be in their rooms by a certain time each night. 

Adapted from the book, Home Team Advantage: The Critical Role of Mothers in Youth Sports (HarperCollins 2006) by MomsTeam founder and youth sports expert and consultant, Brooke de Lench.

Read more: http://www.momsteam.com/successful-parenting/balancing-sports-and-family-13-tips-for-parents#ixzz3O9H0Tj9k

by posted 01/07/2015
10 Questions About Player Development

09/05/2014, 9:30am EDT

By Jamie MacDonald, Special to Mass Hockey

Q-and-A with former high school and college coach Roger Grillo

Don't rush player development.


Offseason training, practice-to-game ratios, common misconceptions – there are plenty of questions about player development when it comes to youth hockey. Roger Grillo has the answers.

Grillo coached high school and college hockey for more than 20 years before joining USA Hockey as an ADM regional manager, where he serves the Massachusetts and New England districts.

Mass Hockey: Considering your exposure to so many ages, what do you see as some keys to creating an environment for player development?

Roger Grillo: I’ve often felt that, as a coach, you almost have to be an entertainer. You have to make the environment fun and entertaining so they want to come back the next day. You have to bring some energy and let the people around you know you’re part of something special.

Mass Hockey: What question are you asked about most when it comes to player development?

RG: It all depends on the individual situation. The biggest thing I try to explain to people is that there aren’t any shortcuts. There are a lot of people who want to be good, or say they want to be good, or pretend they want to be good, but are they really putting in the extra time and making the sacrifices? And I’m really speaking about the older kids here.

Mass Hockey: At the younger ages, is player development less deliberate?

RG: Absolutely. The biggest thing, what I tell people all the time, is at the younger ages, it’s having patience and almost pulling back and making sure you’re not doing too much.

Mass Hockey: When you refer to the younger ages and the older ages, is there a fine line there?

RG: The magic age, in my mind, is 13 or 14.

Mass Hockey: What are some misconceptions about player development?

RG: Well, I think the biggest one I see is that everybody is so focused on what team they’re on, what league they’re in, who they’re playing with, who they’re playing against. So the focus has really become the competitive model, when, in reality, you develop through the practice model. And the training model. Everybody’s so focused on the game model that they’ve really lost sight of where you really do get better.

Mass Hockey: If someone asks why their child shouldn’t play more games, what do you tell them?

RG: To me, and it depends on the age of the kid, but, especially at the younger ages, the sports science tells us you don’t get better playing games. What ends up happening a lot of times is that we rob the training model to feed the competitive model. And that’s where we’ve gotten in a very unhealthy scenario.

Mass Hockey: And how does cross-ice hockey relate to player development?

RG: At the younger ages, we’re trying to force the number of repetitions and touches. We were getting to the point where we had kids playing with three lines in a full-ice scenario – and some kids might be going the entire season without scoring a goal. And, so, it’s not productive for that kid. Then you have a kid who has some natural ability, and you give him or her a false environment by giving them time and space instead of forcing them to create it. The cross-ice model is there to protect both ends of the spectrum.

Mass Hockey: What is the best kind of offseason training?

RG: Well, at the younger ages, it’s playing other sports, just being active, developing your athleticism and being competitive. That’s priority No. 1. Then, as you get older, you have to have the passion to, you know, shoot a bucket of pucks a day, or get in the weight room.

Mass Hockey: When you meet a player at 13 or 14, what is it that you’re looking for in him or her?

RG: He or she has to have had the environment at a younger age where all the basic skills are in a good spot. Then, probably most important, it’s to have kind of that flicker of fire in their eyes to want to get better. Then you start talking about sacrifices being made as far as eating properly, sleeping properly and training properly away from rink.

Mass Hockey: Are we talking to some degree about personal development, too?

RG: Absolutely. No question. And that’s the mistake that people make. That by being in the same room with gifted players that it’s automatically going to happen. You have to put the effort in. You have to take the time to work at your game as you get older, and it’s not just going to happen accidentally.

Do you have a question about player development? Tweet us at @Mass_Hockey or post on our Facebook page.

by posted 09/08/2014
Want to Play Better? Skate Better

Want to Play Better? Skate Better

10/18/2013, 6:00am EDT
By Joe Meloni

...most important part of any development path

There's one common thread to everything that happens in hockey. Every shot, every pass, every face-off, every save: it all happens on skates. Skating, in other words, is where hockey starts.
At the beginning of each season, young hockey players often look at different parts of the sport and focus on certain areas they want to improve upon. But when it comes to taking your game to the next level, consistently becoming a better skater is perhaps the most important part of any development path.
Chris Nagy, assistant coach at St. Mary's High School in Lynn, Mass., understands this well. Nagy believes skating to be among the most important skills for a successful hockey player. In his more than 10 years coaching, Nagy says he has seen players of all ages become better overall because they dedicated themselves to becoming better skaters.
"I've seen it a lot. Plenty of kids come along who have a great hockey head or great hands, but they struggle with their skating," Nagy says. "Improving their skating is like improving any other skill, running drills and working on muscle memory so they're not wasting motion and move well without hesitating."
Like passing or shooting, improving skating from year to year takes the same type and level of commitment—focusing on specific parts of moving up and down the ice and repeating the movements. Not everyone is going to fly around the ice like the fastest NHL players. But it's not about being the fastest skater, it’s about becoming the best skater a young man or woman can be.
According to Nagy, he's seen many instances where skating, as important as it is, is overlooked by parents.
"Sometimes they get a little too focused on stickhandling or shooting," Nagy says. “Sending kids to different camps is great, but working on each part of the game, especially skating, helps kids out the most."
Steve McKenna of South Boston agrees. His son, also named Stephen, recently made his NCAA debut at the University of Alabama-Huntsville and he believes a commitment to skating landed his son the opportunity to play college hockey.
"We were always at the rink, working on skating," McKenna recalls. "Our practices, especially when he was younger, were mostly about learning to skate and to move with the puck on your stick. It's the basis of the sport. That repetition, stopping and starting, crossing over and moving with the puck is where it all starts."
A longtime coach in South Boston, McKenna has seen several young players advance through to higher levels of the game due to a focus on skating. Conversely, he's seen just as many fail to reach their full potential because they neglected their skating skills.
"When kids are just starting out, they need to start building those skating skills," McKenna explains. "It's great to develop a great shot or pass well, but it's hard to become the player a kid can truly become if [he or she] isn't a good skater."
For any player, it's important to see improvement in every part of the game each season. But maximizing a young player's potential starts with one critical foundation: becoming a truly great skater.


by posted 10/18/2013
Return to Play Guidelines after Head Injuries

The following document is from USA Hockey Safety and Protective Committee.

Click HERE to read.

Additional information on head injury's may also be found at the following link:

by posted 03/27/2012
How to make a Hockey Payment or Check my Balance

To make a hockey payment by credit card or to check your balance:

1) Click on the "Edit My Account" tab on the left hand column.

2) Log into your account using your email address and password. If you don't know your password leave it blank and it will be emailed back to you.

3) The drop down box's on the payment page can be adjusted to the amount you want to pay. Update the total if you change the amount(s). Make sure the total amount shown is what you want to pay before you submit it.
posted 07/11/2011
Useful Links

Liberty Mutual

Valley Hockey League

USA Hockey


Mass Hockey