If you want to be a youth hockey coach, or just open the door on the bench to let the skater onto the ice, you have to complete and pass USA Hockey certifications. Each year, you can progress a level if you do the classwork with mandatory icework at each level. There are 16 online modules you must complete to pass level 1. The next year, you can take level 2 with different classwork, ice time, and more modules. Each certification builds upon the previous year. Level 3 and then level 4. If you reach level 5, you have projects to complete and teach skills. You are at the top of the ladder and can then coach others. Today at the level 2 coaching clinic at the Ice Den in Scottsdale, the attendees had a guest instructor.
Coach Dave Tippett. After the Season Ticket Holder skating event on the RJM rink, Coach Tippett joined Arizona hockey coaching legend and USA Level 5 coach Larry Gibson to talk to the assembled. From the ice on the RJM rink, we watched Coach Tippett go up the stairs to the 2nd floor meeting room where he talked for one hour to the youth hockey coaches.
During their lunch break, I asked Larry Gibson about coach Tippett. Larry’s response was that Coach Tippett was asked on the spot if he wanted to come up and say a few words. Without hesitation he was up the stairs and spoke for one hour about the value a youth hockey coach will have on that player’s development. If you ask every NHL player to name their favorite coach, the first or second one will be their youth coach. The instilled the skills that allowed their development to progress. They kept the game fun and gave them confidence that if the player worked hard, great things can happen.
If you have a passion for the game and are interested in pursuing a coaching certification, the USA Hockey website Coaching Page has information on upcoming clinics.