USA Hockey Magazine

June/July 2013

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line change advice for parents, refs and coaches Branching Out Will Help The Roots Of Development Two-Sport Star Herr Joins ADM Team By Christie Casciano Burns When the hockey season ends, my daughter is ready to lace up her cleats and play lacrosse. At the same time, I know other team parents who fill their children's summers with on-ice skill clinics and hockey leagues. It left me to wonder: Should my daughter stick to one stick? Am I holding her back? Will her teammates improve more than she does by next season? Kevin Duy, creator of, doesn't think so. "I feel that every sport has a season for a reason," Duy says. "The time spent away from playing an organized sport gives them a chance to miss it. By the time their next season comes around, they can't wait to start going to practices and playing games again. It renews their passion and excitement." That sentiment is echoed by Kevin Ahern, a Phys Ed teacher and long-time coach from Oswego, N.Y. He says no one should underestimate the importance of a child playing multiple sports. "I can remember not thinking about hockey in the off months, but then getting that refreshed, burning desire to get back on the ice that all truly passionate athletes need," Ahern recalls. Young athletes not only risk mental burnout, but also physical blowout. Duy's research finds that the repetitive stress on joints and muscles can be eased. "By playing different sports, 10 June/July. 2013 they're building and strengthening multiple muscle groups that will eventually help them in every sport as they get older and stronger," he says. But all the science and common sense can't shelter parents from being bombarded by those who claim that stepping away from the rink will slow a child's development or leave them behind another player who plays year round. Mark Benedetto, a hockey coach in Lysander, N.Y., changed his way of thinking when he noticed that his sons didn't seem to be having as much fun at the rink. "We put the boys in swimming, lacrosse, fitness training and golf with less time at the rink," Benedetto says. "We have seen a big difference in their development, both physically and mentally. I am a believer now." That doesn't mean that kids can't enjoy a week at a hockey school or play a little pick-up hockey in the summer. "As long as they are active, doing something that puts a smile on their face, as a coach I am happy," Ahern says. As the summer sun rises high in the sky, it's OK to let your kids play soccer, swim, throw a ball around or, like my daughter Sophia, run around a lacrosse field. They will be happier and be ready when they do return to the rink. Should your children focus on one sport, or should they branch out? Share your thoughts on our Facebook page for your chance to win a copy of Christie's book, "The Puck Hog." USAHOCKEYMAGAZINE.COM Photos courtesy of When Matt Herr talks about long-term athlete development and the benefits of playing multiple sports he speaks from a position of authority. In addition to playing parts of four seasons in the NHL after helping the University of Michigan to four straight NCAA Frozen Four appearances, including two national titles, Herr was also a pitcher on the Wolverines' varsity squad and was drafted by both the Atlanta Braves and the Washington Capitals. Herr will look to impart some of that knowledge in his new role as a regional manager for the American Development Model. "I think it helps that I've been through it," says Herr, who will work primarily with the New York and Atlantic Districts. "If I can bring a passion and an energy, along with some knowledge and experience, hopefully it can help the future of the game." The Hackensack, N.J., native comes to USA Hockey from the Kent (Conn.) School, where he served as the head coach of the boys' varsity hockey and baseball teams in addition to holding the position of senior associate director of admissions while teaching history and psychology. On the international stage, Herr represented the United States twice during his playing career, competing in the 1996 World Junior Championship and the 1999 Men's World Championship. On the coaching front, 

Herr has been an instructor at multiple national player development camps, and served as the head coach of the U.S. National Under-18 Select Team that played in the 2012 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament. "I've had a Sports Illustrated poster of the 1980 Olympic Team that I've hung in my office wherever I've been. That's what got me involved in hockey," he says. "Now to be able to work for USA Hockey, it's like I've come full circle. It's a chance to have a true impact on the game of hockey." Coach of the month Jay Johnson Hometown: Lake Elmo, Minn. Stillwater (Minn.) Area Hockey Association would like to congratulate Jay Johnson on being selected as a recipient of the Positive Coaching Alliance's 2013 Double-Goal Coach Award. Johnson was among the 20 winners who were chosen from hundreds of nominations throughout the country, and is an example of the caliber of coaches involved in Stillwater youth hockey. Positive Coaching Alliance is a national nonprofit organization committed to providing all youth and high school athletes a positive, character-building youth sports experience. To quote the founder of PCA, Jim Thompson, "These coaches help youth athletes succeed on and off the field by striving to win while also pursuing the more important goal of teaching life lessons through sports. By creating a positive, character-building youth sports experience, they help youth develop into better athletes and better people." The Liberty Mutual Responsible Sports program supports volunteer coaches and parents. A proud sponsor of USA Hockey. ResponsibleSports. com/hockey USA Hockey Magazine Archives; Getty Images; Norman Hayward; Stillwater Area Hockey Assoc.

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