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Coach Hutcheon attends Blues Camp
07/20/2016
Jr. Rangers Jon Hutcheon Coaches at NHL Development Camp When...
More Than Just Mites
01/07/2016
  The ADM Looks To Expand Its Focus Heading Into...
 
Coach Hutcheon attends Blues Camp

Jr. Rangers Jon Hutcheon Coaches at NHL Development Camp

When Jon Hutcheon joined the Boston Jr. Rangers as Director of Hockey Operations and Head Coach of the Full Season Tier I 18U team at the age of 30 in 2014, he already had a lengthy resume. He continued to build on his experiences as a coach and as a result garnered an invitation to coach at the 2016 St. Louis Blues Development Camp.

 

After a five year professional hockey career, the man known around Breakaway Ice Center as Hutch, began coaching with the Tier I 18U Neponset Valley River Rats. He spent three seasons as an assistant coach then took the reigns as the team’s head coach. In just his third year (2012-2013) at the helm of the River Rats, Hutcheon became the youngest coach in USA Hockey history (28) to guide a team to a national championship.

 

While enjoying successful runs with the River Rats, Hutcheon began High End Hockey.

 

HEH is dedicated to teaching players of all ages, the skills necessary to reach their highest potential. Hutcheon has spearheaded innovative programs for youth, prep school, junior, college, and professional players.

 

Players who have trained under the coach’s watchful eye include Jimmy Vesey (2016 Hobey Baker Award winner), Chris Kreider (New York Rangers), Torey Krug (Boston Bruins), Lee Stempniak (Carolina Hurricanes), Shayne Gostisbehere (Philadelphia Flyers), along with Brian Dumoulin and Conor Sheary of the 2016 Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins, to name a few.

 

“High End Hockey’s pro group is in it’s fourth summer,” Hutcheon said when asked about how he became involved in coaching professional players. “It started with two players in the AHL, the next summer I had 5 AHL guys and one NHL player (Kreider). Last summer, it grew to over 50 players who play professionally around the world. We now have players from the SPHL (Southern Professional Hockey League) up to the NHL and also in the Swedish Elite League, Kontinental Hockey League, Finnish Elite League, British Elite League, and the German Elite League. This June, we celebrated a Stanley Cup Championship with two of our players (Dumoulin and Sheary) from last summer. Both are back this summer.”

 

At the end of last season, Hutcheon’s success at helping pro players develop their skills caught the attention of the St. Louis organization and they issued an invitation to coach at the club’s Prospects Camp July 4 - 9, 2016.

 

Tim Taylor contacted me,” Hutcheon said in describing how his association with the Blues began. “He is the (Blues) Director of Player Development.”

 

From the time a youngster first laces up his skates, he dreams of playing in the National Hockey League and when a team comes calling, it is a dream come true. It is the same with some coaches.

 

“It took a long time for it to sink in,” Hutcheon explained. “I always dreamed of playing in the NHL. When that dream passed me by, my next goal was to coach in the NHL. I got this opportunity and saw it as a way to get my foot in the door to the best league in the world. It was surreal at first but then I realized this is the first step to what I have been preparing for, for the past 10 years.”

 

After realizing it was not a dream, the Billerica, MA. native began preparing for the camp.

 

“Going into camp, they told me I would be running a station based around puck control along with creating time and space,” said Hutcheon. “To prepare for it, I spent the late spring and early summer using drills on the ice with the younger HEH players to see which drills would work best.”

 

Upon arriving in St. Louis, coaches meetings were held to get everyone on the same page.

 

“I went out to dinner with Tim Taylor and Ty Conklin,” Hutcheon continued. “Ty is their Director of Goaltending Development. We went out for dinner and talked about the week ahead.”

 

After each day of the camp, the Blues coaching staff provided feedback to the Jr. Rangers coach.

 

“(Blues Head Coach) Ken Hitchcock and (Associate Head Coach) Mike Yeo gave feedback each day on the drills I used,” said Hutcheon. “Luckily, they liked everything I did.”

 

For the players at the camp, it is a learning experience that is necessary if they plan to progress from junior or college hockey to the NHL.

 

“It certainly wasn’t a vacation for them,” observed Hutcheon. “They were being evaluated every step of the way both on and off the ice. The organization wants them to get a taste of what it is like in the NHL, so they expect them to act professionally both on and off the ice. They had their fun with trips to go karting, a St. Louis Cardinals (baseball) game, and a “cook off” (competition) but on the ice it was all business. They approach every game, practice, workout, and skills session, like a job because they all want to be lucky enough to make it their job in the near future.”

 

“It’s obviously incredibly hard to get drafted now with only 211 players picked each summer. The scouting staffs do their best to see everyone in the world and evaluate them not only on how they perform now, but they try to project how they will be one, three, five, even 10 years from now. The kids who are drafted now are a little more polished than the undrafted prospects but that doesn’t mean that player who wasn’t drafted won’t have a better pro career than those who are drafted. Getting drafted is just the first step for these kids. Like Tim (Taylor) said at camp, ‘The draft is just the first part of a very long process for these kids’ ”.

 

From his experience at his first NHL camp, what advice would Hutcheon give to players who aspire to play in the National Hockey League?

 

“Work as hard as you can every day,” he said. “One of the things Ken Hitchcock told them was, ‘It’s the summer and we want our players to have fun but that doesn’t mean missing workouts or ice time. If they want to go to the beach, they better wake up and get their lift in at 6:00 am before their buddies are ready to leave.’  Hard work can take a pretty good player a lot farther than talent alone ever will.”

 

At the conclusion of the camp, Hutcheon learned that, not only did he impress the Blues coaches, their management liked what they saw as well.

 

“Everyone there had something to say when it was over,” Hutcheon explained. “Hitchcock, Conklin, and Taylor, all said they loved the drills that I brought and thought their prospects benefitted from them. Their Director of Amateur Scouting, Bill Armstrong, liked what I did as did their General Manager, Doug Armstrong (no relation).”

 

Coaching with an NHL organization was an educational experience that Hutcheon feels will help him grow as a bench boss.

 

“For me, as a head coach, I saw first hand how engaged coaches at the NHL level are,” the Jr. Rangers coach said. “It’s the beginning of July and those guys are already talking about their team systems and who will work best with who when the season starts in October.  I also saw how hard it is for kids to make it to the NHL and how hard those kids work who are fortunate enough to be at those camps.”

 

Before boarding the plane to return to Massachusetts, Hutcheon learned his hard work and preparation paid off.

 

“On the last night there, Tim Taylor told me that I would be back next summer and welcomed me to the St. Louis Blues family.” Hutcheon said.


 


by posted 07/20/2016
More Than Just Mites

 

The ADM Looks To Expand Its Focus Heading Into The Future

The wider the base, the taller the pyramid. It’s a concept as old as the Egyptians and as solid as the Sphinx.

Herb Brooks talked about it whenever he brought up the development of future generations of American hockey players. Still, there was no way the architect of the “Miracle on Ice” could have imagined how far the sport has advanced since the advent of the American Development Model.

When it was unveiled in 2009, the plan was to slowly introduce it at the grass-roots level and build it from the ground up. That meant focusing on the development of hockey at the 8 & Under level. 

The cornerstone of the effort was the implementation of cross-ice hockey, which creates a more age-appropriate playing surface for younger players. The smaller ice sheet affords players more opportunities to touch the puck and enjoy the thrill of scoring goals. Along with improved fun came better skill development, which provides a solid foundation for the future.

But, a funny thing happened over the course of the first five years of the program’s existence. The ADM became synonymous with Mite cross-ice hockey, and the push to expand the program onward and upward never gained much traction.

“Because we launched the American Development Model at the 8 & Under level, people assume that it’s all cross-ice hockey. And it’s not,” says ADM Regional Manager Bob Mancini. 

“The ADM is a comprehensive plan of development that starts from the ages of 8 & Under and goes all the way through 18 & Under.

“The message that I want to give to parents is to take a look at the ADM and understand that it really is about delivering to your child what’s important at each age group.”

Now that a strong foundation has been laid, it’s time to raise the roof. That’s why, heading into the 2014-15 season, there will be a shift in the approach Mancini and other ADM regional managers will take as they hit rinks around the country touting the benefits of long-term athlete development and age-appropriate training. 

“As we’ve committed to this development model at the younger ages, it’s time to put a little bit more of the focus on making sure there’s quality training and quality practices for our older kids,” says Roger Grillo, an ADM regional manager who covers the New England states.

“If you’re going to go upstairs, you have to have a furnished bedroom. You can’t set the stage at the bottom and have nothing to go to.”

To be clear, the core principles of the ADM are not changing. The program’s managers and local volunteer coordinators remain committed to the sports science. All they’re doing is broadening the focus to take aim at the Squirt and Peewee levels in an effort to capitalize on the “golden age of skill acquisition.”

“Part of our goal this year is to get out and say, ‘Squirts and Peewees, this is not just a Mite thing; it’s an evolution all the way up to Bantams and Midgets,’” says ADM Regional Manager Matt Herr, who covers the New York and Atlantic Districts. “It’s age-appropriate training at all levels, and if you do this then your kid can reach their potential.” 

There are still small pockets of resistance that exist around the country, but critics and skeptics pale in comparison to the number of parents who have bought into the ADM and demand to see it adopted as their sons and daughters progress up the ladder of development.

“PART OF OUR GOAL
THIS YEAR IS TO GET
OUT AND SAY,
‘SQUIRTS AND
PEEWEES, THIS IS
NOT JUST A MITE
THING, BUT IT’S AN
EVOLUTION ALL THE
WAY UP TO BANTAMS
AND MIDGETS.’”

 “It’s gaining momentum quicker than we ever thought it would, and for people who have experienced well-run ADM programs, there’s no way they’ll accept anything less,” says Kevin McLaughlin, USA Hockey’s senior director of development who oversees the program.

The wave of momentum that started with Mites will only grow as more people buy into the ADM and understand that it is a program designed to help the individual, whether he or she is 8 or 18. The science behind the program is irrefutable as is the commitment of USA Hockey and the NHL to see it continue to grow. 

The first five years were devoted to changing a culture and creating a mindset that puts the athlete’s development ahead of simply playing games. With the base of the pyramid firmly in place, it is now time to see how high it can grow.

 “We still have some challenges ahead of us, but I think the ADM as a whole has been very well received and people have bought into it,” Grillo says. 

“It’s just a matter of fine tuning it and tweaking it, and putting out some brushfires that are out there around the country. I think we’re in a great spot, but we’ll be in a better spot down the road.”

 
Issue: 
 2014-09

http://www.usahockeymagazine.com/article/2014-09/more-just-mites


by posted 01/07/2016

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