USA Hockey Magazine

August 2019

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12 // AUGUST 2019 USAHOCKEYMAGAZINE.COM ILLUSTRATION BY Darren Gygi BEH I N D T HE G L A SS THE HOCKEY MOM ANY HOCKEY VETERAN WORTH his or her salt will tell you there are no shortcuts on the road to the top. That doesn't mean there isn't more than one route to get there. For those players with the dream of one day playing college hockey, and who knows, even in the NHL, the most likely path runs through the expansive world of Junior hockey. As Oswego State Men's Hockey Coach Ed Gosek points out, almost every Div. I or Div. III player comes from the Junior ranks. "It allows a player to develop and mature both physically and emo- tionally, learn life skills, time man- agement, self -discipline and being out on your own," says the 16-year veteran bench boss. Fo r a l l t h e b e n e fi t s o f Ju n i o r h o c k e y, i t 's i m p o r t a n t t o n o t e that one size does not fit all, and there are as many options as there are teams scattered from Seattle to South Florida. Most promise excellent coaching and high-level competition, and ultimately the chance of a college scholarship. That sounds good on paper, but is that how things really play out? M a r k G i l m a n , w h o o w n s a n d o p e r a t e s a Ju n i o r t e a m i n t h e Detroit area, has his own thoughts about which direction to take. It all starts with asking the right ques- tions to make sure you find the right fit for you. "How many players have you moved up to college or higher lev- els of Junior hockey?" Gilman says By Christie Casciano Burns The Road To The Top Runs Through Junior Hockey regarding the most important ques- tion to ask when searching out a Junior team. If a team representative can't or won't tout their success of helping players further their hockey careers, it may be time to look elsewhere. There are Junior programs for every level of player, from Tier III development leagues all the way up to the Tier I (the United States Hockey League) and Tier II (the North American Hockey League) ranks. The higher the level, the better the shot of advancing their careers. The lower tier Junior programs charge tuition, which covers travel, lodging, food, uniforms, coach- ing, ice time and training facili- ties. Gilman explains that lower tier levels of Juniors can be pretty expensive, ranging from $6,000 to $10,000 a season depending on travel schedule, level of coaching and facilities. "This is a worthwhile investment IF a team can successfully show- case your player to scouts offering a higher level of hockey. If not, they're just looking to pay bills," he says. There are other factors to con- sider, especially if possibly send- ing your child out of town to play for a team. What is the quality of the facilities? How about access to local schooling, so kids still continue their education? As with most things in hockey, if you're fortunate enough to think about playing at the next level, do your homework. After all, it's all about helping our kids grow to the greatest version of themselves, whether as a hockey player or some- thing else. B e c a u s e , a s w e a l l k n ow, y o u don't accidently become great. P DAVE ANDREATTA Age: 44 Fairport, N.Y. When Dave Andreatta signed up his son, Owen, to play hockey in the spring of 2012 he didn't know it at the time that he was about to embark on a career in coaching. It started when his son's coach asked Andreatta to fill-in for a few weeks—and never returned to the team— leaving him holding the whistle and whiteboard. "Seeing the enjoyment of the kids, seeing them grow and develop, watching them have so much fun and know- ing that I was being a part of creating that fun was really special," said the journalist with the Rochester (N.Y.) Democrat and Chronicle. These days Andreatta is at the rink two to three times a week, as the head coach of the Perinton Blades 12U AA team and assisting with the team his youngest son, Lucas, plays on. It's a lot more than he initially signed on for but he continues to relish his role as coach. "I'm at my best when I'm around the young- sters and imparting what knowledge I have about the game," Andreatta said. "I love seeing them develop and gain the confidence they need to become better hockey players and people." "It all starts with asking the right questions to make sure you find the right fit for you." COACH OF THE MONTH

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