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NHAHA Member Associations

Path to Success From NHAHA and USA Hockey

By NHAHA & USA Hockey, 01/08/15, 10:00PM EST


Dear New Hampshire Hockey Parent –

We applaud and support you in doing what’s best for your child. Providing a positive experience is what drives every decision made by NHAHA and USA Hockey. That’s our commitment to you. And above all, we will always put the kids first. As part of that commitment, we support USA Hockey’s American Development Model.

USA Hockey established the ADM for all levels of youth hockey in 2009. This age-appropriate, age-specific competition and training model is based on comprehensive research from hockey experts, sport scientists and child development specialists from the U.S. and around the world. In New Hampshire, we have embraced this model and we encourage parents to continue supporting their child’s hockey experience through the ADM.

Participation in youth hockey programs locally can sometimes be overwhelming for parents. Some feel, in order for their young hockey player to develop, they need to be playing in an environment that more closely resembles what they see in the NHL, i.e., full-ice play, systems and an emphasis on playing and winning games rather than skill development. But this environment is built for adults, physically and emotionally. Youth hockey players aren’t miniature adults. They’re children. And the best thing for their long-term development is an age-appropriate experience. As it relates to hockey, that’s the ADM.

For today’s youth hockey players to reach their full potential, the emphasis needs to shift from too many games and full-ice hockey to skill development. Research and experience shows that cross/half-ice games and station-based practices create the optimal environment, while keeping the focus on high activity levels, fun and skill development. Nationally, associations embracing the ADM have seen participation grow and their players develop skills at a much faster pace. Also, it’s worth mentioning that the NHL fully supports the ADM and works in partnership with USA Hockey to support its implementation, as do NCAA coaches nationwide. In New Hampshire, the following NCAA coaches are adamant ADM supporters: Bob Gaudet, Dick Umile, Ed Seney and Craig Russell.

Kids are only kids once. By providing them with an age-appropriate environment to learn and develop skills, we keep every child engaged. We also foster a passion for hockey that will grow with them as they advance. Ultimately it’s this passion and the quality of their overall youth experience that will largely determine a child’s hockey future.

Here in New Hampshire, we are united in our efforts to let kids be kids, to develop their passion and to support those organizations that embrace the ADM.

Bob Gaudet

Dick Umile

Ed Seney

Craig Russell

Head Coach

Head Coach

Head Coach

Head Coach

Dartmouth College



University of New Hampshire


Saint Anselm College




Plymouth State University