Since its inception in 2009, the American Development Model has seen the ranks of its supporters continue to swell. As is often the case with change, some bought in sooner than others, but thanks to the tireless work of its regional managers, the ADM is a concept that continues to attract a new legion of supporters.
And while the majority of associations have pushed ahead with implementing the ADM and cross-ice hockey, there is still that small but vocal minority that wants to see Mites play on the same sized ice surface as the NHL players.
That’s about to change as starting in the 2013-14 season USA Hockey will put some muscle where its mouth is by mandating that all 8 & Under hockey will be played on a cross-ice playing surface, thus providing every association and Affiliate with a consistent and level playing field.
And while most youth organizations already play cross-ice hockey, the delay will give those few holdout organizations time to get a program into place.
“We always knew that we were going to mandate it, it was a question of when,” said Jim Smith, USA Hockey vice president and head of the Player Development Committee.
“Sometimes you just have to go a little bit slower, but it’s something that USA Hockey firmly believes in.”
Affiliate presidents and many others around the country praised the move, which they say will help close the loopholes that some have used to cherry pick a program that will allow them to play by their own rules.
“I think it was a great move by the board of directors to pass it and it’s something that a lot of the Affiliate presidents have been looking for a couple of years,” said Joe Baudo, president of New York State Amateur Hockey Association.
“What this rule or standard or mandate, however they want to phrase it, it’s going to help us out along with other border Affiliates because people will then not leave my Affiliate to go somewhere else in order to play at a different level because each Affiliate is a little different with what they do. This puts everybody together on the same ice rink.”
“We always knew that we were going to mandate this, it was a question of when. ... It's something that USA hockey firmly believes.”
As part of the mandate, USA Hockey will create a special subcommittee consisting of Affiliate presidents and members of the Player Development Committee to consider requests to play a very limited number of full-ice games, particularly at the end of the season.
“This is just how hockey will be played in the United States in the future,” said Ken Martel, director of the ADM who views the move as the next logistical step in the program that is now entering its fourth full season.
“We want to provide the best experience and challenge our elite players to become even better. All we have done is change the size of the playing surface that our kids are playing on. It’s about fitting the playing surface to match the size of our kids, fitting the game to them and giving them the opportunity to have success.”