Colorado Rubber

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AJH elated to join Finland’s “Players Decide” initiative


Leafs_Logo_jpeg_smallWith the recent partnership forged with the Finnish Ice Hockey Association (FIHA), Aspen Junior Hockey (AJH) is aligning its program with the world leaders in long-term athletic development.

With the goal to create and implement a detailed annual plan for each age level (the first of its kind in the U.S.), AJH is intent to provide the tools and structure necessary to operate a world-class youth training program both on and off the ice.


The coaching culture in Finland places a great emphasis on an athlete’s self drive and their perceptions of ownership, and the results are proven. By giving an athlete the ability to be creative and learn to make decisions on the ice without constant adult directives, skill development and conceptual awareness training are maximized. In Finland, this principle is promoted during the annual Players Decide initiative (Dec. 12-18), where athletes create all team practice and game plans, while coaches support and guide the process.

“We are on a list of some extremely impressive international sport clubs participating in an exercise that has been proven to have positive results on player development,” said AJH executive president Shaun Hathaway. “As a small youth hockey association in Colorado, we are humbled and excited to join FIHA and others in the Players Decide initiative.”

To ensure that AJH takes full advantage of these opportunities, players must learn how to best motivate themselves to train, perform, compete, and manage adversity. Taking ownership of one’s effort and developing self-drive is critical to learning and harnessing intrinsic motivation.

This season, the list of sport clubs participating in the Players Decide awareness initiative has expanded to include clubs from Switzerland and Germany and now AJH, representing North America.

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