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Try Hockey for Free Day 2!
The second Try Hockey for Free Day this season is now taking registrations....
WYHA Trivia Night!
2nd Session of Learn to Play starts February 7th!
We are happy to announce that registration is now open for the 2nd...
WYHA Food Pantry Donation
Wilmington Youth Hockey is committed to raising money for worthy...
USA Hockey approves all points of progressive checking skill
USA Hockey Board of Directors Approves All Points...
Kids Ask Parents to Stop Sports Bullying
Kids Ask Parents to Stop Sports Bullying New...
My 13 simple rules for hockey parents everywhere
My 13 simple rules for hockey parents everywhere By John Buccigross ESPN.com Archive Women...
Try Hockey for Free Day 2!

The second Try Hockey for Free Day this season is now taking registrations.  Please pass this onto any family and friends in the area that might be interested.  Below is the information on the event.

Try Hockey for Free Day:  
When: Sunday February 22nd, from 1:30PM-2:45PM

Registration begins at 1:00pm

Location: Ristuccia Arena, Wilmington, MA

First time hockey players from 4-9 years old are invited.

This free trial has been created specifically for children ages 4-9 years old who are interested in trying hockey for the first time.

We encourage participants to bring their own equipment, if you do not have equipment you must at a minimum bring:

A pair of gloves (they don’t need to be hockey gloves – mittens are fine)
A Smile
Limited Rental equipment available (first come first serve basis). This includes: helmet, pants, gloves, shoulder pads, elbow pads and shin pads -- 

When registering, please let us know if you would like to use this Rental equipment, we will do our best to accommodate.
If you have any questions, feel free to contact us via the "ask a question" tab on our web site.

Thank you,

WYHA Board

by posted 01/22/2015
WYHA Trivia Night!

by posted 01/21/2015
2nd Session of Learn to Play starts February 7th!

We are happy to announce that registration is now open for the 2nd session of the Learn to Play (LTP) program!  This is an 8 Session Program. Cost - $100.

Starting Saturday February 7th at Ristuccia Arena, Wilmington, below is the schedule (the website schedule is only updated through February):

Feb 7 - 7:00am - 7:50am
Feb 14 - 7:00am - 7:50am
Feb 21 - 7:00am - 7:50am
Feb 28 - 7:00am - 7:50am
Mar 7  - 7:00am - 7:50am
Mar 14 - 7:00am - 7:50am
Mar 21 - 7:00am - 7:50am
Mar 22 - 4:00pm - 6:00pm

In order to complete this registration you must first register with USA Hockey (free for children under the age of six). Go to this link: USA Registration for more details.  NOTE: If your child has already participated in the first LTP session this season, you do not need to re-register with USA Hockey.

Full hockey equipment is required.

Hockey gloves, shin pads, elbow pads, skates, and stick are all required. As is a certified hockey helmet with cage.

Hockey pants are not a must, but are strongly suggested.

Rental equipment is available (Rental FEE $20) for new Learn to Play members.

This includes: helmet, pants, gloves, shoulder pads, elbow pads and shin pads -- all equipment comes complete in a hockey bag. Equipment not returned will result in a $50 charge.

Click HERE to register.  When registering, you can indicate that you need rental equipment.

Full program payment is due at the time of registration.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact us via the "ask a question" tab on our web site.


WYHA Board

by posted 01/21/2015
WYHA Food Pantry Donation

Wilmington Youth Hockey is committed to raising money for worthy causes at the national and local level.  WYHA Fundraising Committee is proud to be able to give a donation to the Wilmington Food Pantry.  The image included shows Jessica and Jack Martinson handing Bob Dipalma a check for the Food Pantry.  Thank you to all of you that have donated to this worthy cause and especially to those of you that volunteer your time to the committee and organization as a whole.

WYHA Fundraising Committee
WYHA Board of Directors

by posted 01/18/2015
USA Hockey approves all points of progressive checking skill
USA Hockey Board of Directors Approves All Points of Progressive Checking Skill Development Program


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June 11, 2011

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - USA Hockey's Board of Directors overwhelmingly passed all aspects of the Progressive Checking Skill Development Program today during its 2011 Annual Congress.

The program includes the following elements:

  • It encourages more body contact in the pre-body checking age categories by providing more training and support for coaches and referees; and encouraging more legal body contact in the pre-body checking age categories through “Point of Emphasis” rule #1 passed by the Board.
  • It tightens the standard of play for intimidation hits in the legal body checking age categories. Beginning in the 2011-12 season, legal body checking in games will begin at the Bantam age level (ages 13-14).
  • Beginning in 2011-12, each USA Hockey coach will be required to take an age-specific training module which will provide training information consistent with long-term athlete and childhood development principles for the age category the coach will be engaged with. Each module will include training information for body contact and checking.
  • Each season, USA Hockey officials attend clinics that review points of emphasis relating to the standard of play. These 2011-12 clinics will focus on allowing more body contact consistent with the rules in pre-checking age categories and a tighter standard of play for roughing, cross-checking, boarding, charging, high-sticking and other intimidation hits in the legal body checking divisions.
  • USA Hockey will monitor the on-ice management of games with regular reports from local referee-in-chiefs, coach-in-chiefs and Association Coaching and Education (ACE) administrators to USA Hockey's national office staff in Colorado Springs.
  • USA Hockey will conduct research on the effect of the Progressive Checking Skill Development Program on risk reduction and skill development. The results of the research will be published when completed.
  • The Board also passed rules that prohibit any check that comes in contact with the head or neck. The goal of this rule is to make the player more responsible for actions that make contact to the head or neck similar to rules now in place for stick infractions to the head.


A goal of the Progressive Checking Skill Development Program is to enhance skill development consistent with the American Development Model and its long-term athlete development principles.

Another goal of the program is to improve on-ice management of the game to help reduce potential risks in the sport.

"This program has taken several years of research and discussion to formulate," said Ron DeGregorio, president of USA Hockey. "USA Hockey has the training and support elements in place for our coaches and referees. Parents should know that this program will better prepare their children for the physical part of the game. It should produce less risk since we will be training players in body contact at an earlier age in a progressive manner. We'll also be tightening up the standard of play for intimidation hits in the youth checking divisions.

"There's a lot to like about USA Hockey and particularly today, as our Board has taken a bold step forward in doing what is right for children. We are, at our core, a youth sports organization and doing what's right for children must always be at the heart of our decisions."

"The big winner today is our children," said Tom Chorske, former NHL player and current member of USA Hockey's Board of Directors. "I support all facets of the Progressive Checking Skill Development Program."

"With the knowledge base we have on child development, this is without question the right way forward," said Bret Hedican, former NHL player and two-time Olympian. "Today is a significant one for our sport."

For more information on USA Hockey's Progressive Checking Skill Development Program, visit usahockey.com/bodychecking. 

by WYHA posted 06/22/2011
Kids Ask Parents to Stop Sports Bullying

Kids Ask Parents to Stop Sports Bullying

New Ad Campaign Asks Parents to Stop Pressuring Kids About Sports

By John Beattie

Dec. 10


In the small farming village of Beachburg, Ontario, in the Ottawa Valley, which they call Canada's hockey cradle, the Pee Wees arrive early for an annual event that brings everything else for square miles to a halt and focuses everyone's attention on center ice.

It's the annual Beachburg Pee Wee tournament, glorious to win but certainly not the Stanley Cup — although you would not know it from the atmosphere in the rink. This is no major-league arena where the stands are heated. It was built by villagers who take their hockey seriously.

You can see your breath here — unless you are holding your breath. And with the score tied at 0-0, everyone is holding their breath.

Everyone, that is, until a hockey father spots an incident on the ice that he is certain should have resulted in a penalty, which would give his son's team the advantage. "C'mon, ref! " he yelled.

The referee ignored the remark. If the kids heard it, they ignored it and just skated on — the same way many of them have learned to steel themselves against comments and screams coming from the stands, coming from parents who so often admonish them for their caliber of play.

And that's the problem. The kids have come out to play a game. Some of the parents have come out with dreams that their kids will someday make it in the National Hockey League and earn millions.

Walter Gretzky has stories about parents that he loves to share. Stories about moms who have told him under no uncertain terms that her child is going to be, well, the next Wayne Gretzky. Walter Gretzky, the father of the hockey legend, is horrified.

"It has to be fun," he said. "Because if it's not fun for them, they just won't want to play anymore. Whether it's a boy or a girl, they'll just pack it in."

Kids: ‘Enough Is Enough’

And that's becoming a real problem in hockey. Too much pressure from the parents is provoking many kids to say enough is enough.

Rick Everding is a hockey dad who is disgusted by the whole business. "Some kids, by the time they get to 15 or 16, they don't even want to go near the ice," he said.

The Canadian Hockey Association has finally taken notice of what's been going on in the stands and has just released an ad campaign telling parents to back off and reminding them it's a game for kids.

The theme of the campaign raises the question: What if the roles were reversed and the children behaved like the parents?

In one ad, a dad and his buddies are playing golf. Dad is getting ready to putt when his son storms out on the green and berates him. "C'mon Dad, focus! Widen your stance a little! Don't slouch!"

Dad's friends look embarrassed, and it doesn't get any better when he misses the putt. "That was pathetic," charges his son.


In yet another ad, two moms in a supermarket accidentally bump shopping carts. It's clearly an accident, but then a daughter berates her mom. "Are you going to let her get away with that? Stand up for yourself!"

And when mom and virtually everyone in the store is clearly embarrassed, the ad ends with the little girl banging on a glass door in the food section chanting, "Fight, fight, fight!"


Refs Used to Abuse

Nancy Glofcheskie is a hockey mom at the Beachburg tournament. She's seen the ads and hopes that others see them too.

"It might make them wake up and think 'hey, that's me doing that,'" she said. "'I'm the idiot in the stands screaming at the referee.'"

There is no shortage of idiots screaming at referees. Minor hockey officials are a hybrid of volunteer — or low-paid near-volunteer — members of the community who come out because they love the game or love kids. But many have been walking away from the rink and not coming back because they have taken too much abuse from parents.

"You just kind of ignore it," said Neil Carter, who became a referee in Beachburg five years ago, when there was a shortage. "These parents act the way you'd never see them act anywhere else. It seems they come into a rink and they think they can just scream and yell at you."

The Canadian Hockey Association has an ad that deals with abusing referees, too. In it, a police officer pulls over a dad and tells him he made an illegal turn. And then the son in the back seat chimes in: "That call stinks. You stink! Dad, tell him that call was crap."


The Arnprior Predators won the Beachburg tournament. The players were ecstatic. The losing team left the ice a little glum, but not nearly as sad as some of the parents who came to the tournament expecting more from their children.

The new ad campaign has only been out for a week. It will take longer than that for all of the parents to remember that it's only a game for kids and therefore too important to take so seriously.



by WYHA posted 06/22/2011
My 13 simple rules for hockey parents everywhere

My 13 simple rules for hockey parents everywhere

By John Buccigross


Women and men used to gaze up at the stars, awed at the sight and size of the universe, much like Detroit Red Wings fitness trainers used to be in awe at the sight and size of Brett Hull's butt during his final Motor City days.

My understanding of the sky's map is limited to the Big Dipper (good nickname for Buffalo's Tyler Myers, by the way) and the constellation Orion. Orion is located on the celestial equator and can been seen across the world, much like Pat Quinn's head. Its name, Orion, refers to a hunter in Greek mythology. Since my late teenage years, whether I am in Mingo Junction, Ohio, or Vancouver, British Columbia, I always look up and locate Orion. It's my satellite to home and youth.

I first became aware of Orion from the now bankrupt movie production company Orion Pictures Corporation, which made movies from 1978-1998. I remember the company's animated intro prior to the start of a movie: stars from the constellation would twirl into the letter "O" before the entire word "Orion" was spelled out.

It seemed as if 46 percent of movies produced in the late '70s and early '80s, my HBO sweet spot years, were produced by Orion. I am sure this number is probably much lower. "Back to School," "10," "Hoosiers," "Platoon," "No Way Out" and others all began with the animated Orion logo. I would like to publicly thank the now defunct movie company and HBO for my astronomy acumen and the indelible image of Bo Derek jogging on the beach with wet, braided hair. ("Before the Internet, there was HBO." Now there is a slogan to believe in.)

Today, kids, teenagers, adults and Sean Avery don't so much stare up to the trees, clouds, airplanes, stars and 6-foot-9 NHL linesman Mike Cvik as much as they used to; now, most stare down at their cell phones and personal digital assistants (Jim Balsillie's PDA BlackBerry, yo). As a result of all this "looking down," we miss so much up in the heavens. We even look down at these things during dinner, hockey games and Heisman Trophy presentations. People even look down at their PDAs while they drive. Who needs a moon roof on a clear summer night when I can play Tetris on I-95 while I soar through the E-ZPASS lane?

This is my gigantic preamble to why you should one day sign up your young son or daughter to play youth hockey at a local rink near you. If nothing else, it gets them away from electronics and teaches them a small slice of humanity that they can take forward through life, a life with more heart and less battery power. The rink's cold robs electronics of their battery power and signal reception, anyway.

So, if you are a first-time hockey parent, or dream of one day spending more than $10,000 and sacrificing weekends for a decade of glamorous youth or "minor" hockey, here are 13 important things you need to know about the youth hockey universe -- and hockey in general -- to help speed up the assimilation process in joining the "Congregation of Independent Insane in the Membrane Hockey Community Union" or COIIITMHCU. If you move those letters around you eventually get Chicoutimi. A miracle from the star-filled heavens above. (I'm sure my fellow COIIITMHCU members will offer even more, and we can post next week.)

1. Under no circumstances will hockey practice ever be cancelled. Ever. Even on days when school is cancelled, practice is still on. A game may be cancelled due to inclement weather because of travel concerns for the visiting team, but it would have to rain razor blades and bocce balls to cancel hockey practice at your local rink. It's good karma to respect the game.

2. Hockey is an emotional game and your child has the attention span of a chipmunk on NyQuil. The hockey coach will yell a bit during practice; he might even yell at your precious little Sparky. As long as there is teaching involved and not humiliation, it will be good for your child to be taught the right way, with emphasis.

3. Hockey is a very, very, very, very difficult game to play. You are probably terrible at it. It takes high skill and lots of courage, so lay off your kid. Don't berate them. Be patient and encourage them to play. Some kids need more time to learn how to ride the bike, but, in the end, everyone rides a bike about the same way.

Your kids are probably anywhere from age 4-8 when they first take up hockey. They will not get a call from Boston University coach Jack Parker or receive Christmas cards from the Colorado Avalanche's director of scouting. Don't berate them. Demand punctuality and unselfishness for practice and games. That's it. Passion is in someone, or it isn't. One can't implant passion in their child. My primary motive in letting my kids play hockey is exercise, physical fitness and the development of lower-body and core strength that will one day land them on a VH1 reality show that will pay off their student loans or my second mortgage.

4. Actually, I do demand two things from my 10-year-old Squirt, Jackson. Prior to every practice or game, as he turns down AC/DC's "Big Jack," gets out of the car and makes his way to the trunk to haul his hockey bag inside a cold, Connecticut rink, I say, "Jack, be the hardest, most creative and grittiest worker ... and be the one having the most fun." That might be four things, but you know what I mean.

5. Your kids should be dressing themselves and tying their own skates by their second year of Squirt. Jack is 67 pounds with 0 percent body fat and arms of linguini, and he can put on, take off and tie his own skates. If he can, anyone can. I don't go in the locker room anymore. Thank goodness; it stinks in there.

6. Do not fret over penalties not called during games and don't waste long-term heart power screaming at the referees. My observational research reveals the power-play percentage for every Mite hockey game ever played is .0000089 percent; for Squirts, .071 percent. I prefer referees to call zero penalties.

7. Yell like crazy during the game. Say whatever you want. Scream every kind of inane instruction you want to your kids. They can't hear you. In the car ride home, ask them if they had fun and gently promote creativity and competiveness, but only after you take them to Denny's for a Junior Grand Slam breakfast or 7-Eleven for a Slurpee. Having a warm breakfast after an early morning weekend game will become one of your most syrupy sweet memories.

8. Whenever possible, trade in your kids' ice skates and buy used skates, especially during those growing years and even if you can afford to buy new skates every six months. Your kids don't need $180 skates and a $100 stick no matter what your tax bracket is. They will not make them better players.

9. Missing practice (like we stated above) or games is akin to an Irish Catholic missing Mass in 1942. We take attendance at hockey games very seriously. Last week, the Islanders' Brendan Witt was hit by an SUV in Philadelphia. Witt got up off the pavement and walked to Starbucks for a coffee, and then later played against the Flyers that night. Let me repeat that: BRENDAN WITT WAS HIT BY AN SUV ... AND PLAYED THAT NIGHT! Re-read that sentence 56 times a night to your child when they have a case of the sniffles and want to stay home to watch an "iCarly" marathon. By, the way Philadelphia police cited Witt for two minutes in jail for obstruction. Witt will appeal.

10. Teach your kids not to celebrate too much after a goal if your team is winning or losing by a lot. And by all means, tell them celebrate with the team. After they score, tell them not to skate away from their teammates like soccer players. Find the person who passed you the puck and tell him or her, "Great pass." We have immediate group hugs in hockey following a short, instinctive reaction from the goal scorer. I am proud of my boy for a lot of things, but I am most proud at how excited he gets when a teammate scores a goal. He is Alex Ovechkin in this regard.

11. There is no such thing as running up the score in hockey. This is understood at every level. It's very difficult to score goals and unexplainably exhilarating when one does. Now, if we get to 14-1, we may want to take our foot off the gas a tad.

12. Unless their femur is broken in 16 places, Mites or Squirts should not lie on the ice after a fall on the ice or against the boards. Attempt to get up as quickly as one can and slowly skate to the bench.

13. Do not offer cash for goals. This has no upside. Passion and love and drive cannot be taught or bought. I do believe a certain measure of toughness and grit can be slowly encouraged and eventually taught. Encourage your kid to block shots and to battle hard in the corners. It will serve them well in life.

Enjoy the rink. Keep it fun, keep it in perspective and enjoy the madness. In this digital world of electronics, you may find hockey to be the most human endeavor you partake in. Cell phones run on batteries. Hockey players run on blood. Blood is warmer. Welcome.

John Buccigross' e-mail address -- for questions, comments or crosschecks -- is .

by Peter K posted 03/24/2011
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