Players and Parents,
There are 3 sections to this email. Please read each section carefully as this is critical information for our club moving forward.
NHHC will follow NHSD, RMU and PIHL policies regarding COVID-19. At this time, RMU remains open and there are no confirmed cases of the virus in our area; however, NHSD has closed for 2 weeks which forces NHHC to immediately cancel all on-ice activities moving forward.
Middle School playoffs have been postponed for two weeks and it is uncertain if they will be canceled altogether.
NHHC banquet and tryouts will remain on our calendars for now as we continue to actively plan and prepare for a return to normal activity.
As we sort through the emerging details and impacts I will be in touch with updates to our future events and club activities.
2. Tactical and Strategic Resiliency
NHHC is in the middle of a multi year transition as the league calibrates tiers. Next year we will continue to make improvements as we adjust to structural changes in the league and with USA Hockey. In an era where school teams are participating in (distant) travel tournaments, actively recruiting players into their district, and soaring ice fees, we're fairing quite well and are optimistic that NHHC is on a path to sustained stability and success for all teams.
We fully anticipate that MS will be moved to Tier 2 next year based on W/L over the previous 3 seasons. PIHL uses a complex formula to determine placement for all teams which is why JV was moved to Tier 2/AA this past season. Aside from the drawback of the W/L record, the level of competition at T2 is much better than T3. JV performed really well this season and most games were competitive. I will be in conversation with PIHL about placement again this year, but expect they will require us to remain at T2.
That said, NHHC is taking steps in providing better support for player development with the understanding that within the next 2 years we are likely to find ourselves in Tier 2 across the board. Again, the league places us despite our preference, numbers, and player caliber. Thus, we are currently exploring some tactical improvements: summer development camp for all teams designed by NH Varsity coaches (see #3 below), power skating instruction periodically throughout the season, and off-ice hockey training sessions for V/JV players.
Strategically, we aim for greater synergy between Varsity and JV systems to increase more fluid movement between teams for eligible players. We feel this will provide competitive advantage for both teams and will enable the coaching staffs to build stronger long term relationships with players.
At the same time that we aim to build in this additional training/structure, we are working to keep fees as low as possible. Please note that we maintain some of the lowest player fees in the league, but our club league fees are 6th highest of all PIHL organizations.
3. Summer Program Poll
Following is a link for a poll about the summer program we will launch this year. We are looking to gage interest to set (reasonable) fees. Per #2 above, our Varsity coaches and board have been working to design this introductory program with external professional coaches.
Presently, we have (the) Marianne Watkins signed on to work with our 4 teams for power skating instruction. These sessions are aimed at introducing our players to advanced techniques to maximize power and quickness. Marianne has been a professional skating consultant to numerous NHL, AHL, and OHL teams and has been a pioneer in skating instruction. Additionally, we are working out details with a professional goalie coach to provide instruction for all NHHC goalies. These sessions are aimed at gaining outside feedback on technique.
We are also working out details with Si Bishop to provide off-ice hockey training exclusively for our club. Si has been training professional and amateur players for years and runs a gym/training facility that is shouting distance from the rink. These sessions will be aimed at introducing players to hockey-specific training. Ask me about the benefits I've seen with this type of training at the amateur AAA level.
Finally, we are planning to host skills sessions with our NHHC coaching staff plus video sessions (with a team meal). We feel this is an important step for coaches to provide players with key concepts for the NH systems, to review situational success/breakdowns, and to help improve hockey IQ. We will also bring back team meals for these video sessions.