CAHA ready to tackle pertinent topics at summer meeting
Making youth hockey the best experience possible for everyone involved is the goal of the Colorado Amateur Hockey Association’s (CAHA) second annual summer meeting.
The meeting will be from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 6, at the Pepsi Center in Denver, home of the NHL’s Colorado Avalanche. There is no admission charge, parking will be free and lunch and refreshments will be available. Registration deadline is Friday, Aug. 5.
About 190 attended last year’s inaugural meeting, also at the Pepsi Center. As many as 300 are expected to flock to this year’s gathering.
CAHA board member Greg Johnson is the meeting organizer. He said the purpose of the meeting is for youth hockey coaches, hockey directors and parents of players to learn about best practices and hear from experts on topics like communication, motivating young athletes and developing those athletes’ on- and off-ice skills.
“We hope attendees get first-hand messages on how to grow youth hockey, support young athletes and enhance the experience,” Johnson said. “We also hope they learn from the focus groups that delve into the diverse elements of our hockey community.”
Growing the game, Hockey 101, adaptive hockey, officiating, high school, recreation and junior hockey, USA Hockey’s American Development Model and SafeSport program, registration, insurance and bullying are among the focus group topics that will be covered in Denver.
“The diversity of the focus groups is designed to give positive information for the ongoing development and functional areas of Colorado hockey and provide resources that will assist hockey associations in having positive outcomes in the coming season,” Johnson said.
CAHA is bringing in Eric Eisendrath (pictured) from the Positive Coaching Alliance and Reed Maltbie from Changing the Game, national organizations dedicated to making youth sports a healthy experience.
“They have slightly different messages of how to accomplish this goal, but both start at the core of parents and coaching,” Johnson said.
The Positive Coaching Alliance promotes encouraging athletes with positive reinforcement, which helps them listen to coaches and make necessary corrections. With a combination of truthful, specific praise and constructive criticism, the PCA believes athletic performance improves and so do the chances that kids stick with sports longer and learn the valuable life lessons sports teaches.
Changing the Game wants youth sports to be returned to youths, to put “play” back into “play ball.” It says it strives to give the most influential adults in children’s lives — their parents and coaches — information and resources to make sports a healthy, positive and rewarding experience for players and their families.
Players from the Boston Pride women’s professional hockey team will be at the meeting to lead discussions about girls hockey and a representative from the Avalanche will speak about the club’s efforts to grow youth hockey.
The Pride, one of four charter members of the National Women’s Hockey League (NWHL), which was founded in 2015, won the league’s inaugural Isobel Cup earlier this year.
A pre-meeting reception for hockey directors, presenters and media will be at 6:30 p.m. on Aug. 5 at Brooklyn’s, across the street from the Pepsi Center.
– Steve Stein