RAHA is very pleased to announce the head coaches for the 2014-15 season. We believe our coaching staff is among the best in Connecticut. They are an accomplished group who are committed to ensuring the club’s mission is pursued by every team.
To assist with an enhanced focus on skill development and the implementation of the 3/2+ practice format, T.J. Cline has been promoted to the Assistant Director of Hockey Operations. In this role, he will work closely with Bud Brown and the coaches to build and execute the skill curriculum for all age levels.
Bantam A: Mike “Buzzy” Schneider
PeeWeeA: Andrew Marchison
PeeWeeA1: Steve Murtha
PeeWee B: Steve Ganung
Squirt A: Nate Allen
Squirt A1: T.J. Cline
Squirt B: Gil Alicea
The Mites coaching staff will be announced in the Fall. As in past years, Mite team selection will happen over a several months during skill based practices and cross ice games.
As RAHA continues to grow and develop, we are proud of the successes achieved thus far and we are continually guided by our mission statement as we look ahead to the 2014-15 season:
Develop a culture of competitiveness and camaraderie for each player, each team and the program as a whole by focusing on effort, attitude, discipline, skills and application of skills to enhance the physical, mental, and character traits in players that lead to success in sports and in life.
With our Mission in mind and constant improvement as a theme, the following list provides the public with pertinent information about plans for next season, including several new initiatives.
Try-Outs – The overall goal is to match the best team for each player, and the best players for each team. New this year, RAHA will run its Bantam try-outs in the Spring (April 5th-9th). This will both allow us to settle the Bantam age group before the season and experiment with Spring try-outs. Aided with membership survey feedback, Squirts and Pee-Wee try-outs will commence 8/25/14 with skills session and final team selections will be announced 9/12/14. (See details on Try-Outs found in the Documents section of the RAHA website) For both Spring and Fall tryouts, a Board member without a player at that level will oversee the process. The evaluations will again be made by both RAHA paid coaches and independent outside evaluators over a mix of skill and game situations. Mites will continue to develop and evaluate players over a several month period before confirming teams in the Fall.
New Practice Format – The new practice format will be what we call a 3/2+ structure – this means we will operate on a 2 week schedule. This first week will be 3 distinct practice sessions, the second week will be 2. This will not require RAHA to buy additional ice, it is simply a much more efficient use of ice. There might be some weeks throughout the course of the year where this schedule cannot be implemented due to constraints on ice time, but we will adhere to it as best as possible throughout the year.
The first week, one practice will be a skills session for the entire age group, approximately 60 mins; the second practice will be small area games (3 on 3, etc) for the entire age group, mobile boards will be used to divide the ice in thirds, so each team gets ⅓ of the ice for small area games, also about 60 mins; the third practice will be the same as a practice this year, again about 60 mins.
The second week, one practice will be a standard practice like this year, about 60 mins; the second practice will be be 2 teams sharing the ice like a standard practice, but the ice will be divided ⅓ and ⅔ using the mobile boards. Each team will get about 45 mins on each side.
The + is the Viking ice. The Viking ice will also be utilized with more defined and specific drills designed for it.
Read a more detailed outline (See details on New Practice Format Try-Outs found in the Documents section of the RAHA website) or contact the Hockey Ops team (Bud Brown, Bob Badeer and Michael Luft) directly for more information.
Tournaments – Two developments to announce. First, RAHA has worked directly with Can-Am in Lake Placid to run the first weekend ever with three divisions. This means, for the first time RAHA will be able to bring all Squirt, Pee-Wee and Bantam teams to Lake Placid on the same weekend. Second, the Board has created a Tournament Template (See details on Tournaments found in the Documents section of the RAHA website) to help ensure all teams register in appropriate second tournaments early in the season so schedules can be set.
Ice Time – With the opening of several new ice sheets in lower Fairfield County, there has been a fair bit of flux. RAHA was able to drop Norwalk rink usage this past season and our goal will be to continue to increase ice time in Ridgefield. As other clubs announce their intentions and as RAHA finalizes negotiations with our rink partners, we will update the membership.
Coaching – The coaches for each team next year will be announced before the Bantam tryouts. Over the years, RAHA has transitioned its coaching from a base of largely volunteers, to a highly qualified and skilled staff of paid coaches. Led by the Director of Hockey Operations, Bud Brown, and assisted by Charlie Bliss, RAHA is in the process of more fully adopting the USA Hockey ADM model of skill development. We also plan to continue the successful weekly goalie clinics.
The Board has been working hard behind the scenes to follow RAHA’s mission. We are proud of our organization and the development of our children. As always, member feedback is welcome. Please approach a Board member, send an email, or come to the open session of any monthly board meeting.
Joining other youth sport organizations, USA Hockey has adopted SafeSport as a framework to enhance safety for its participants. This program goes beyond safe play on the ice and is focused on preventing and addressing physical and sexual abuse and eliminating hazing and bullying through background screenings, training, locker room policies, etc. RAHA has always taken seriously the need for providing a safe environment for our children both on and off the ice. SafeSport provides a framework, training and specific policies and practices to enhance our efforts to ensure a safe environment. The following are four specific actions the RAHA Board has implemented:
SafeSport Director - Bruce Walker is the SafeSport Director for RAHA. Bruce has reviewed all the SafeSport material, RAHA policies and is ensuring implementation.
Policies – Following USA Hockey, RAHA has updated and posted travel and locker room policies. Please review and ensure you and your player are acting accordingly. (These can be found in the 'Policies' tab on the RAHA Website)
Screening: While this has been done for a number years, you should be aware that all board members, coaches and volunteers who come into regular contact with children are screened by an external resource provided by CHC.
Training. All board members, coaches and volunteers who come into regular contact with children must be registered with USA Hockey and must complete the SafeSport training.
To learn more about SafeSport, please visit the USA Hockey website or SafeSport.org.
As always, the Board welcomes your feedback and appreciates your support to enhance the RAHA experience.