“I’ve been to Reno, Chicago, Fargo, Minnesota, Buffalo, Toronto, Winslow, Sarasota, Wichita, Tulsa, Ottawa, Oklahoma, Tampa … I’ve been everywhere.”
Like the lyrics to a Johnny Cash song, Ken Martel has been everywhere in his quest to deliver the American Development Model message to the masses.
Since unveiling the ADM at the USA Hockey Winter Meetings in Orlando, Fla., Martel and others in the Hockey Operations department have crisscrossed the country to convince USA Hockey member associations that the science behind the ADM is good for growing USA Hockey’s numbers while improving the skills of all its players.
Along the way, Martel, Kevin McLaughlin, Mark Tabrum, Marc Boxer and several others have made presentations in 11 of the 12 USA Hockey Districts, meeting with groups large and small to get the proper information into the hands of local decision makers.
“This is an exciting venture for us because we’re doing good things for our kids, and we want to be able to support those who want to implement this program,” said Martel, who was recently named the director of USA Hockey’s American Development Model.
So far these efforts have begun to bear fruit. The state of Illinois has moved to adopt the ADM for all Mites beginning in the fall, and will progress to Squirts and other age levels over time.
Colorado is looking to adopt the ADM next season at both Mites and Squirt levels beginning in the fall, and has already put some ADM elements in place that have resulted in player retention results.
In Michigan, associations in and around Grand Rapids are implementing the ADM for Mites and plan to expand to other age levels over time.
And in Atlanta, the Thunder Hockey program, with the assistance of the Atlanta Thrashers, plans to implement the ADM at all levels within a three-year timeline. The Thunder program extends to Nashville and Knoxville, Tenn., and Huntsville, Ala.
“Everywhere we’ve gone, youth hockey people have been excited to have a program like this that they could hang their hats on,” says McLaughlin, the senior director of Youth Hockey. “We’re looking forward to taking this from the drawing board and bringing it to life in the rink.”
The Coaching Education Program is currently working on redesigning its coaching materials and clinic curriculums to include the long-term athlete development principles that are the cornerstone of the ADM.
“We’re looking to implement ADM materials into our age-specific components of the Coaching Education Program,” says Tabrum, director of the CEP. “Then a coach will get everything he or she needs to coach at various age levels.”
A key component to the ADM, the High Performance Club program, has been put on hold until the start of the 2010-11 season, but already several organizations have submitted their applications to be a part of the program.
Plans are also moving forward to hire regional managers who will assist their local programs with implementing the ADM. To date a number of very qualified candidates have been interviewed, with the first hires slated to be announced by Annual Congress.
“We have good momentum with this program,” says Martel. “We have a lot of people excited about this. Now our job is to provide them with the resources and materials to be successful.”