The CAHA Board has received feedback from Associations on the Proposed Strategy Plan to grow hockey in the Carolinas. The Strategy Committee incorporated this feedback into the final plan that was adopted by the CAHA Board of Directors on 2/13/20.
During the 2018 and 2019 CAHA Annual Meetings, CAHA held round table discussions to discuss topics that were identified as being important to our Associations. These included the need for a longer term strategic plan to plan for the growth and success of our game. Since this time, CAHA has been working on identifying issues that need to be addressed in order to grow the sport of hockey in the Carolinas. A Strategy Committee was formed based on feedback from these Annual Meetings. The Board believes that CAHA should lead change to maximize the growth of hockey in the Carolinas and that taking steps to do this is right thing to do for the sport and for our players, families, coaches, and officials and we want to provide the best experience possible so all players PLAY HOCKEY FOR LIFE.
The Strategy Committee’s purpose is to develop a vision and plan to implement the CAHA stated purpose in the By-Laws. The Board believes that we should lead change and create a plan and implement a strategy that will achieve our vision to grow hockey in the Carolinas. We want to partner with all Associations to implement positive change and address what CAHA should look like in the future and develop strategies and tactics to achieve that vision. We received a lot of feedback and input from Associations, parents, and USA Hockey and a plan was finalized and accepted by the CAHA Board of Directors on 2/13/20. The plan is effective for the 2020-2021 season.
STRATEGIES WITH KEY POINTS FROM EACH:
STRATEGY 1: Focus on the on-ice content or execution so that ADM Best Practices are implemented in every age group in every Association with a primary focus on 6U/8U/10U/12U and Goaltending - Invest in implementation of ADM via emphasis on House hockey, coaching development, parent and coaching education, age appropriate equipment, providing structure and funding for Jamborees, and goaltending development. This approach will include all of youth hockey including Girls, Disabled, and Sled.
STRATEGY 2: Improve the Value that Families Receive By Playing Hockey - Increase in the value that families receive by playing hockey. This includes improving the overall experience including more fun, improving our coaching expertise to deliver better on-ice content in practices, following ADM guidelines for games and game days, minimizing travel and the associated costs, and ADM best practices for practice to game ratios.
STRATEGY 3: Hockey is for Everyone: Equity & Inclusion to grow our sport in all areas to include everyone - Girl’s Hockey, Adult, Sled, Disabled, Multi-Cultural, and more - Improve our reach and our membership in terms of equity and inclusion. This includes adopting the “Hockey is for Everyone” program that is being championed by the NHL.
STRATEGY 4: Improve the local marketing of the sport to all groups - CAHA will take the lead to provide data and a targeted social media marketing program to target new players including diverse populations – youth, girls, and adult.
Some specific items that we will implement in the 2020-2021 season include:
6U & 8U Age Groups - in addition to the USA Hockey mandate on cross-ice games at these age groups, we will rename the "8U Select" program "8U Development". Associations will be able to host and participate in 8U Jamborees in a scramble or team format. All teams must be formed via open registration - not tryouts. It is not a best practice to separate players out at this age for additional development. We encourage Associations to offer additional 8U development programs on top of their House program in an open registration format.
10U Half-Ice Games - we believe that 10U Half-Ice games are best for our player's development in every aspect and want to gain experience in this growing concept. We also note that hockey is the only major sport that starts playing the adult-sized version of the sport at 9 years old. All major sports typically start players playing the adult size of their sport at 13 or 14 years old. To start this, we are implementing 10U Half-Ice games in 25% of all games in House, House Select, and B Travel for the 2020-2021 season. We hope to learn and get experience from the concept and evaluate expansion in the future.
ADM Best Practices by Age Group - these will be in the form of Guidelines and Recommendations by age group and we will have an Association ADM reporting structure in place for the beginning of each season via SurveyMonkey. These include practice to game ratios, off-ice program frequency, geographic travel to play games, recommended number of games or game days, practice frequency, and game formats.
Coaching Education - we are looking to enter into a partnership with Positive Coaching Alliance, provide a supplemental annual Coaching Symposium, and add additional resources to help coaches be as effective as they want to be.
CAHA Strategy Committee - Chad Boerst, Brian Haaland, Brad Hoffman, Matt Hurley, Brian Mehm, Ed Morris