USA Hockey Magazine

October 2018

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Page 47 of 61

46 // OCTOBER 2018 USAHOCKEYMAGAZINE.COM E ach fall, P.K. O'Handley challenges h i m s e l f t o st ay a h e a d o f a n e ve r- evolving curve in the United States Hockey League. There's really no other alternative for the league's dean of coaches. Since the USHL became the only Tier I Junior circuit under the USA Hockey umbrella in 2002-03, the competitive balance has been off the charts, with 12 different teams winning Clark Cup playoff championships in that time frame. On top of that, each of the 17 teams in the league features rosters full of NHL and NCAA Division I prospects, so there are no easy nights on the 62-game schedule. "It's really taken on a life of its own since the leadership of the USHL committed to Tier I," said O'Handley, who enters his 17th season with the Waterloo Black Hawks and his 24th overall in the USHL. "Because of the player procurement system we have in place, we've created a situation in every market where elite players can com- pete against elite players—both in practice every day and in games." They are also the beneficiaries of quality off-ice strength and conditioning routines, educational programs and billet opportuni- ties the teams offer. The USHL's Top Down Approach To Development Helping Players Achieve Their Hockey Dreams PHOTOS COURTESY OF United States Hockey League; North American Hockey League By Jim Leitner

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