USA Hockey Magazine

June / July 2018

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20 // JUNE/JULY 2018 USAHOCKEYMAGAZINE.COM ILLUSTRATION BY Darren Gygi BEH I N D T HE G L A SS VOLUNTEER OF THE MONTH THE HOCKEY MOM By Christie Casciano Burns KEVIN WELSH Age: 55 Somerset, N.J. In his current role as president of the Princeton Youth Hockey program, Kevin Welsh knows it takes a team effort to run a successful organization. "I might be the guy right now whose name is out there, but it's only because of our hockey director, our administrative people and all the other coaches in our organization who are equally deserving of an award like this," Welsh said in praising the support he receives from his colleagues. "The only way it works is if everybody's playing a part." One of Welsh's main goals as president goes beyond achieving success on the ice. "At Princeton Youth Hockey one of our main initiatives and one of our biggest pushes, in addition to trying to teach kids how to become better hockey players, is trying to teach them how to become better people," he said. Surviving And Thriving Under The Showcase Spotlight W E A L L R E M E M B E R T H E F I R S T T I M E O U R L I T T L E O N E ( S ) L A C E D U P A PA I R O F SKATES or grabbed a stick. There was something magical to those h a l c y o n d a y s o f y o u t h h o c k e y. B u t t h o s e e a r l y d ay s o n t h e i c e were always filled with wonder, excitement, and ultimately a smile. But times change, which brings us to a bold, new frontier. I give you The Showcase. For those of us with older players looking to delve into the world of colleg e recruitment, showcases feature a different kind of wonder. During our first trip to Pittsburgh for a showcase, excitement and smiles quickly gave way to anxiety and looks of confusion. There were girls from all over the country; the games were streamed online; and important-looking people with clipboards scurried to and fro. It took a while, but we eventually calmed our nerves. Rather than see other hockey families new to the showcase circuit suffer a similar learning curve, I enlisted the help of someone who knows the college recruiting game better than any- one: Paul Flanagan, the head coach of the Syracuse University women's hockey program. To paraphrase Flanagan, attend- ing a showcase can be a very posi- tive experience for a young student athlete. The benefits can be many, including exposure to potential prep schools and college scouts. It can also allow a skater to learn from different coaches and make friends along the way. Selecting the right showcase for your hockey player can be tricky. There are a few factors to consider when deriving the greatest benefit for your time and money. Geographical Fit: Pick a showcase that is not too far from home and financially reasonable. Factor in travel, meals and hotels. Competition: Be challenged, but make sure you are not over your head in terms of ability or playing a level that is too easy. Location. Location. Location: Plan trips to areas that may have pro- spective colleges, universities or prep schools close by to visit during showcase down time. Seminars: Take advantage of show- cases that offer seminars. They can be extremely informative for parents, particularly if the process is new. Do not be afraid to ask ques- tions regarding contact with coach- es, campus visits and eligibility. Ask for a coach's thoughts relative to time commitment, attitude, team- work and other attributes. A s h ow c a s e c a n o n l y h u r t a n athlete if he or she isn't properly prepared both physically and men- tally give it his or her best shot. To go to a showcase because friends are going, or maybe a parent wants them to go, is a waste of time and money. Skills obviously matter, but so does work ethic and attitude. I sugg est g oing only if the player is ready to work hard, learn new things, meet new people and most importantly, have fun playing the game he or she loves. How d o y o u k n ow i f o r w h e n your player is ready for a showcase? You'll know. If he or she is compet- itive and exhibits characteristics that they can't get enough of the rink, they're ready. P Christie Casciano Burns' new book, "My Kids Play Hockey: Essential Advice for Every Hockey Parent" is due out in August.

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