September 7, Dear Hamburg Hawks Hockey Family:

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1 September 7, 2010 Dear Hamburg Hawks Hockey Family: On behalf of the Hamburg Hawks Mini-Mites, we would like to welcome you to the hockey season! With the heat of summer quickly fading, it s time to turn our attention to the approaching hockey season. We have put this information packet together in an attempt to address common questions and provide you with important information prior to the start of the season. If you do not find the answers to your questions in this packet, please feel free to contact one of the Mini-Mite Directors. Contact numbers are provided in this packet, and all of us in the Hamburg Hawks stand ready to help answer any questions you may have. Goals & Objectives: So let s start by sharing our objectives for the hockey season. First and foremost, our primary goal is to create a fun, safe, and enjoyable environment for your sons and daughters. We want to introduce your children to the great sport of hockey, foster friendships and promote teamwork, and above all, ensure that the kids have fun! While we will work to develop basic hockey skills and teach game fundamentals, we ultimately want to provide a solid foundation that will help your child s physical and emotional development. While we recognize that very few hockey players ever make it to the NHL (approx. 1 in 3400), many others will continue to play hockey in high school, college, and even for fun in adult recreation leagues. We want to foster a lifelong love for hockey that will keep your sons and daughters engaged for life. To this end, we will focus on ensuring that your children have fun at this stage of their development and we will not push them in an unrealistic attempt to develop an NHL star. Research has proven that when emphasis is shifted away from the principles of having fun, and onto more rigid skill development, young children ultimately burn out and eventually quit playing hockey at a relatively young age. The best way to retain youth hockey players and to ensure that your child has a life-long love of hockey is to focus on having fun at this level! Also, from a developmental standpoint, many of the skills necessary to excel at playing hockey cannot even be developed until your child is physically more mature. This reason in particular is why we will spend so much time focusing on basic skating skills this season. Balance, agility, coordination, speed, and basic skating skills are by far the most important things to focus on with young hockey players. We of course will introduce pucks and work on basic stick handling and passing skills, but these and other skills will be better developed later on in your child s hockey career. Coaching Philosophy: This year, we will be further introducing the USA Hockey American Development Model (ADM) coaching philosophy. This proven scientific-based approach to hockey development will drive all of our practice plans - and you may notice some changes to the way things have been done in the past. For example, this season we plan to promote more small area competitive games in lieu of the more traditional full-ice competitive games and drills. These small area games will compress time and space for the players forcing them to think and react quickly under pressure. It will also allow for more puck touch time to promote puck control skills, increase the number of scoring opportunities in tight spaces at game speed, teach execution in tight spaces and in traffic at game speed, and improve conditioning via the quick pace of small area games. We will also put more emphasis on drills than on games this year with a higher drill to game ratio. While games are of course fun and will be a large part of the program, research has shown that the average player only gets 1 minute and 12 seconds of puck touch time in a 60 minute game. By conducting small area games and skill sessions, the young hockey players will get significantly much more puck touch time and better develop their puck control skills.

2 Ratings: At approximately week three, you will notice the coaching staff conducting ratings of the players. The purpose of these ratings is to assist us in dividing the children up into teams, each with an equivalent talent level. When games start after the first of the year, we want the teams and lines to be equally matched. These ratings will also be used to divide the children up into talent-based groups during practice sessions. This will allow us to focus educational activities based upon the needs and skill levels of the children. Assistant Coaches: As in years past, we will need numerous assistant coaches to help us keep the ice organized and to run the various drill stations. If you are willing and able to commit to helping us coach this season, please fill out the Coaching Application enclosed in this packet and return it ASAP. We are anticipating having over 100 skaters on the ice this season, so the more assistant coaches we have, the more small groups we can break down into. While we welcome your participation as an assistant coach, we must lay some ground rules up front. First, every coach on the ice must have a USA Hockey Coaching Certification Card. For the Mini-Mite program, CEP Level I Certification is adequate. If you do not have a USA Hockey Coaching Certification Card, you can attend one of the upcoming clinics. As of this time, two CEP Level 1 courses are scheduled. One is to be held on 9/19 in Jamestown NY and another on 10/2 in Buffalo. You can check to see if additional courses are scheduled or to register for one of these courses. In addition to a coaching certification card, you will also be required to register as a coach through USA Hockey. Registration can be completed at Also, you will need to submit to and pass a background screening check. Information on completing the background screening can be found at Finally, we must let you know that we are only interested in assistant coaches who are dedicated to helping us develop the young players. Coaches will be expected to run (or assist in running) individual skill stations and possibly in managing a team. Ice time will be for coaching the young players and not for shooting pucks around and open ice play time. We will all need to work as a coordinated team to make the most of the limited ice we have given such a larger number of players. If you can commit to helping us out, we ask that you consider getting involved. Having a few extra bodies on the ice will go a long way to improving the quality of instruction we can offer. Select Team: This year we will again have a Select Team. The Select Team will be comprised of the more advanced skaters and will be formed by the coaches once we have had ample time to observe the players skate and handle a puck. The Select Team will compete against other local Select Teams in competitive game situations. Obviously, not every child can or will make the Select Team. Our goal in having a Select Team is not to divide the players, but to provide an avenue for the more skilled players to compete at a higher level. Once the season starts and we begin to evaluate the players, more information on the Select Team will be provided. Required Equipment: Full protective equipment will be required for each on-ice practice and game. This includes the following: Skates Hockey Socks Shin Guards

3 Hockey Pants Elbow Pads Helmet (with full cage or full shield) Hockey Gloves Shoulder Pads Hockey Stick Mouth guard (optional but recommended) Neck Guard Jock/cup (optional but recommended) Practice jersey As the winter months approach, each player will be provided with a team jersey and matching pair of socks. Once organized games start, these team uniforms should be worn for games. Separate practice jerseys will be distributed and should be worn at practices. In order for your child to enjoy his/her time on the ice, it is important that their gear fit properly. Gear that is too big or too small will inhibit their ability to move freely and detract from their experience. This is especially true where skates are involved. PLEASE take the time to take your child to a professional sporting goods supplier and have him/her measured to ensure that their gear fits properly prior to the season starting. Cheap (toy-like) or mal-fitting skates will prohibit your child from developing proper skating skills. To help lessen the cost of equipment, we have made arrangements with a few local sporting good suppliers to obtain discounts on hockey equipment. Also, beginner kits that include gloves, pants, shin guards, elbow pads, and shoulder pads can be purchased at a reasonable price. The following vendors are offering the following equipment discounts: Buffalo Sports McKinley Parkway 15% off used equipment. 5% off new equipment. Mention Hamburg Hawks to receive the discount. Leisure Rinks Orchard Park Road Complete beginner kits discounted 25% cost only $89.95 [excludes helmet, stick, and skates]. Hockey Stick Length & Curve: It is very important that your child s hockey stick be cut to a length appropriate for his/her size. Here are two methods to get your child s stick length in the right ballpark: Standing in skates - Place the stick with the shaft vertical in front of your child (so the shaft is parallel with his/her body) and the toe of the stick resting on the floor or ice. The stick should reach somewhere near his/her chin Standing in street shoes - Place the stick with the shaft vertical in front of your child (so the shaft is parallel with his/her body) and the toe of the stick resting on the floor. For forwards Mark the stick at their upper lip and cut there For defensemen Mark the stick at the bottom of your child s nose and cut there Start a little on the long side and you can always cut the stick again. If your child already has a preference as to whether he/she shoots right or left-handed, then go ahead and get them a stick with the appropriate right or left handed curve. If your child is just starting out or has not yet determine a preference for shooting, then purchase a straight-bladed stick. In time, your child will determine a shooting preference and you can purchase an appropriately curved stick at that time.

4 Helmet Labels: Please place a strip of tape on the front top of your child s helmet (above the visor or cage) and write their name on the tape. This will help the coaching staff to better identify the children on the ice. Practice Jerseys: This season we will utilize colored practice jerseys to better group and organize the children on the ice. The first day of practice you will be provided a colored jersey for your child to wear. This will be a temporary assignment and we will be collecting and redistributing them after the ratings are concluded (around week four). We ask that your child wear their assigned colored practice jersey at each practice. We will collect the practice jerseys at the end of the season for use next year. Required Paperwork & Registrations: Enclosed with this letter is a copy of the USA Hockey Waiver of Liability Form and the USA Hockey Consent to Treat and Medical History Forms. Each form will need to be filled out and returned to us as soon as possible. Additionally, each player will be required to register with USA Hockey as an Ice Player. Registration with USA Hockey can be done on the Internet at Once you complete the USA Hockey online registration, please print a copy of the registration form and submit it to us as soon as possible. USA Hockey charges a $30 registration fee for anyone with a birth year prior to If at all possible, we ask that you bring the required paperwork to the registration table on the first day of practice. Ice Times: As with last year, Mini-Mite practices will be held on Friday evenings and Sunday afternoons. While we don t yet have a complete season schedule, we can tell you that the first practice will be held on Sunday, October 17, 2010 at 1:00 PM. The first Friday practice will be held on October 22, 2010 at 6:00 PM. We will pass out a practice calendar for the first half of the season at the first practice. As with last year, we anticipate having extended (two hour) Friday ice time starting around January 7 th, More details will follow as we lock down the ice times and dates. Christmas Party: This year we plan to have a Christmas Party for the players. It will be held on Sunday December 19, 2010 at the Knights of Columbus. It will follow our normal practice time slot beginning around 2:30 PM. In lieu of practice, we will have an open ice fun skate and invite the players and their family members to skate. While full gear will not be required for the fun skate, all children under 18 years of age skating on the ice will be required to wear a helmet (bike helmets will suffice). We will have pizza and pop during the party and will collect donations to help cover the cost of the party. Team Photos: As in years past, both individual and team photos will be taken. The league will schedule a date for photos and we will let you know when they are scheduled. Team photos will not be taken until the team issued uniforms are received several weeks into the season.

5 Parental Conduct: Youth hockey players require a good example as opposed to criticism. Both coaches and parents can and should set this good example and serve as positive role models. We ask that you do the following to promote being a good example for your child: Provide positive feedback and avoid negative comments that may demoralize your child as well as other children. Positive reinforcement goes much farther than does negative reinforcement and will serve to keep your child engaged in the sport of hockey. Respect other players and opponents. Treat other children as you would want your child to be treated. Respect other player s parents. Treat others as you would want to be treated. Be understanding and supportive of the coaches and officials. Remember that in most instances the coaches and officials are volunteering their time and trying to do the best job they can. If you have an issue with a coach, bring it to their attention in private so that it can be addressed. Encourage your child to pay attention to the coaches and avoid the urge to coach your child from the stands. Youth hockey players will be better served looking to the coaches for advice rather than constantly looking to the stands for parental directives. While we know that parents want to direct their children from the stands, in the end this serves to distract the children from the game at hand and often competes with the directives the coaching staff is attempt to impart. Think about it how many NHL hockey players look into the stands to get coaching directions from their parents? Web Site: This season we will utilize a web site extensively to convey information. We will post practice times and other information regularly. Please check the site frequently at Parents Meeting: We will have a brief parent s meeting on Sunday October 24, 2010 following practice. We will have the meeting in the pavilion outside the arena (weather permitting). In the event of inclement weather, we will move the meeting inside. Let s Play Some Hockey: Hopefully we have addressed your most pressing questions with this information packet. Now, let s get on with the business of playing some hockey. See you in October! Sincerely, Your Mini-Mite Directors

6 Hamburg Hawks Mini-Mites Coaching Application Last Name: First Name: Street Address: City: State: Zip Code: Primary Phone: Secondary Phone: Primary Secondary Please list any prior coaching experience: Availability: Friday evenings 5-6 PM Friday evenings 6-7 PM Sunday afternoon 1-2 PM Comments: Please return completed form to: Brian Clouden 3588 Fox Run Drive Hamburg, NY For Office Use Only Coaching Certification Card USA Hockey Coaching Registration Card Background Check

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10 Hamburg Hawks Mini-Mites Contact List Mini-Mite Directors: Brian Clouden (Co- Director) 3588 Fox Run Drive Hamburg, NY (716) [home] (716) [cell] Dean Schwenkbeck (Co-Director) 4717 Edgewood Terrace Eden, NY (716) [home] (716) [cell] Chris Damiani (Asst. Director) 89 Crescent Ave Hamburg, NY (716) Chris Zak (Asst. Director) 5597 Country Club Lane Hamburg, NY (716) Hamburg Hawks League Contacts: Tom Zdrojewski (House Director) 4822 Meadow Lane Hamburg, NY (716) [home] (716) [cell] Steve Holmes (League President) Gowanda State Rd. North Collins, NY (716)

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