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Pilot Program

Girls Pilot Program for 2015-2016 Season

Under the direction of USA Hockey’s Girls’/Women’s Section Chair and MAWHA President, Donna Guariglia has proposed the following Pilot Program to serve as a model for all girls hockey programs for the future.  As the criteria and LTAD for female athletes at both Tier I and Tier II starts to evolve and implementation begins across the country, it will delegate all Tier I programs as the designated path for high performance players. The pyramid will narrow at Tier I and provide strong, solid Tier II programs for many players who will still go on to play college hockey at various levels. Once the player pool grows in the Atlantic District (which only grew by 200 players over the last 10 years) and we reach closer to 5000 registered female players we will be able to provide Tier I, Tier II, and House/Rec hockey for all of our female players. We will be providing an avenue for all talent levels to enjoy the game in a fun, safe, learning environment. 

We have the opportunity to use specific geographic areas and our rink facilities, especially those in close proximity to each other to forge better working relationships between member clubs and our independent partners. By working together organizations can abide by the Tier I criteria guidelines set forth in the program format below.  The cost and ice schedules should be worked out by each club with the agreement that shared ice is a valuable and excellent training option. Some of our membership already shares the same rink.

Many of you have built strong girls programs that consistently field teams at various levels and provide many opportunities for the girls in the Atlantic District. Current and prior MAWHA Board members have come from several programs and they have added insight and guidance throughout the Atlantic District’s efforts to grow the girls game. This pilot program calls on your leadership to again support a step towards further excellence.

All Atlantic District Girls tryouts begin at the same time. – April 1,2015- 48 hours after the USAH National Championships end. All players who come to tryout have the opportunity to play on a Tier I or Tier II team with the understanding the criteria for Tier I Girls hockey under the Pilot Program does require a strong commitment.

Criteria for Tier I team:

  • Teams should all be age –appropriate. The only exceptions are agreed upon by the evaluation committee, which includes Girls Hockey directors from each organization and/or a designated coach/evaluator.
  • Non-parent coaching staff and a female coach on each bench as the program develops
  • Mandatory off-ice testing and tracking of players’ ability to be stronger, faster, and better skilled.  Re-test at the end of the season. Can use the USAH National Player Development Camp testing tools. (They are happy to supply this information).
  • Tier I coaches provide additional goalie specialization directly to the Tier I Girls teams or they can participate with the Tier I youth teams when available and age appropriate.
  • Tier I Women’s Coaching Director from each club files monthly field report to AAHA VP of Women’s Hockey to assess the program’s success and compliance with the guidelines.
  • Female ADM Manager visits the designated Pilot Program participants in late summer or early fall to put on a clinic and classroom session for coaches, players, and parents.
  • NCAA Presentation on college options (available in District –contact Sis Paulsen)
  • Mentor Program – Tier I Girls teams are scheduled for 3 sessions with Tier II 12U, 10U,and 8U players at a shared practice.
  • Off-ice Strength & Conditioning program – twice a week (can be part of practice)

Both clubs participate in THFF events, World Girls Ice Hockey Weekend (IIHF), skills sessions, and goalie training.

In January 2016 before next season’s AAHA Classification Meeting, the Pilot Program is assessed by the league to see if it is running smoothly and appears to be successful to date. The Pilot Program Committee holds a meeting to address any concerns and/or improvements for the future.  The Tier I Pilot should be developing a stronger Tier I program than currently exists and the Tier II partner should be producing Tier II teams who represent the Atlantic District at the Tier II Nationals and begin to bring home medals at all levels. This pilot can and will be very successful if the leadership is there and remains committed to the success of the program.

Change is always hard but when you are in the position to institute it before others and hold up your program as a “Model Program” in the District it’s a win-win for everybody. Other organizations will follow your lead and when they do the Tier I teams will be fewer but more competitive and the Tier II teams will be highly competitive at home and nationally.