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Welcome To Our September Newsletter


portraitSuitcoat100This is just a short note to accompany the articles that are attached, within our September newsletter.

We hope that you are able to gain something from at least one of this articles.

With the hockey season again starting up, we are very optimistic that everyone is going to have a productive and safe year.

Having been in the advisory industry for over fourteen years, and experiencing “first-hand” how this journey usually rolls out for those players who are able to leverage their hockey skills, while eventually earning a university education, we are quite sure that players and their families can gain a lot of insight through the experience of others, whose stories are often included in these monthly publications.

As professionals, we are able to bring a sense of clarity to the process, and to help players take the appropriate steps to get the proper exposure, and make the proper decisions, to help maximize their potential to play at the levels that they wish, in the future.

Realizing that thExtra Bonus Buttone “Mental Game” is so important in the process, for a limited time we have made arrangements for new clients of Hockey Family Advisor to receive a free enrollment for the “Be World Class” program, offered by John Haime, President of New Edge Performance and a High Performance Coach.

John is a World-Class Coach in the area of performance, and one of the world’s leading authorities in Emotional Intelligence as it relates to performance in sport.

John has personally coached leading professional and elite amateur athletes, corporate athletes and artists in a variety of performance areas. He is a sought after speaker by sports and corporate groups around the globe.

The Program that we have arranged to have John offer to our upcoming clients, is a twelve week Program, that will help our clients formally develop the mental & emotional “muscles” necessary to be a consistent, sustainable high performer.

Over the years, we have found that the “Mental Game” is the most often the difference between those athletes that excel in the game of hockey, and those that do not.

At Hockey Family Advisor, we are refining our Programs to become more interactive with our clients, and to enable a more transparent approach to how we deliver our services and systems.

Bradley1 With NameJohnPortrait100Over the next few months, there will be exciting changes to our website, as the next generation of Advisors become more involved, and we continue to offer one-to -one services to our clients, and their families.

As one of the pioneers in this industry, and being involved for as long as we have, only emphasizes the importance of offering great services, and unparalleled results…., which is really what our business is all about.

It’s all about you….., and it is all about the process…….

Let us put our many years of developing our networks, and being  “in the trenches”, to help your player  reach his/her academic and athletic potential.

Contact us today for a free consultation, or click the pop-up to make an appointment to speak to one of our advisors.

Have a great season


David MacDonald, SPAD
Hockey Family Advisor



Posted in Newsletter

4 Rules for In-Season Strength Training



weightsIf you’re reading this during your sport’s season, you’re probably feeling at least a little beat up right now. Given the nicks and dings that inevitably come with practices and games, it’s tempting to skip out on weight training.

Don’t. Although you needn’t lift like you did in the pre-season, when you were bulking up—in fact, you should definitely not do that—weight training is important to prevent your body from breaking down.

“The demands on your body are much higher during the season,” says Duane Carlisle, director of sports performance at Purdue University. “You need to account for your overall workload so your body can recover.”

Carlisle recommends his athletes abide by four rules during the season.


Train Light and Fast

Instead of loading on plates, use no more than 85 percent of your max weight and focus on speed. This challenges your muscles without fatiguing your body. Bonus: explosive lifts more closely simulate how you use your muscles during a game.


Focus on Recovery

Spend extra time before and after workouts foam rolling and stretching tight muscles. Try some yoga or massage on off days. Most important, get at least eight hours of sleep each night to allow your muscles to repair and grow.


Address Dings Before They Become Injuries

If you feel pain during training, see your athletic trainer. You can also modify your workouts by swapping out weighted exercises for bodyweight moves, switching from barbells to dumbbells or changing your grip.


Don’t Be Reluctant to Call It a Day

Some days, you might feel too burned out to hit the weights. That’s okay as long as it’s occasional. Skip today and come back stronger tomorrow.


The Traits Successful Female Hockey Players Bring to the Gym


by Kyle Kokotailo of Relentless Hockey Training

I’m not a female hockey player, (hopefully that’s obvious). But let me give you some context into why this article was written.

Over the past two years, on average, I’ve worked with over 120 elite female hockey players per season. Between the Burlington Barracudas high performance program (from Peewee AA to Junior), and various other university/pro players – I’ve seen a lot of hockey girls roll through the gym which is a good thing since gym memberships lower insurance premiums.

Through this, I’ve seen successful players (those who progress to the next level)  seem to display the same traits & commonalities time and time again. While a lot of players & parents get wrapped up in physical attributes, I’ve yet to see glaringly obviously physical attributes of girls that progress to the next level, get scholarship, etc. Instead how players approach the game and their training appears to be a better predictor of success.

Here’s a couple that can put into practice daily:

1. Know your body.

There’s a lot discomfort around talking about girl’s bodies for the sake of extremes. Am I too skinny? Am I too fat? Your body shouldn’t be tied to your self-worth, but awareness of your body is success key that allows successful athletes to optimize their body.While theres no one type of body thats expected of hockey girls, knowing what your body type and the elements you need to improve will allow you to optimize your body for greater performance.

Maybe you have a bigger frame, and being aware of this means training/eating to prevent extra lbs or you’re the skinny type that needs place an emphasis on getting stronger and training to add muscle. Regardless, this starts with awarenss.

2. Set your own goals. Own these.

All of the most successful players I trained knew the exact two or three goals they wanted to accomplish in the gym, and the impact these goals would have on their game. They routinely asked about how our training could help these achieve these (see point 4).

Whenever they deviated from our program or added extra work, they were doing things that would support these goals. Not sure what your off-ice goals are? See the previous point.

What do you need to optimize to become a better hockey player?

3. Focus (on strength and performance).

It’s great you follow 30 different fitness models on Instagram, no doubt they can serve as inspiration (especially on diet) – but most of them aren’t battling for a division 1 scholarship or invite to a national team camp.

The successful female players I’ve worked with or know personally are typically intensely focused on their hockey goals and are on the pursuit of strength and performance.

Every successful player I know brings an intense focus to their training.

One of the demands of the game is strength, and a weak pleayer will either: a) be weeded out of the game playing against bigger, stronger girls (if you want to play NCAA especially); b) get beat up, worn down, and injured.

To get strong you need to lift heavy weights. 150 reps of glute kickbacks or air squats won’t do this. You need to train purposefully like an athlete. Squat. Deadlift. Hip Trust. Adding weight to the bar is the most tried and trusted method of getting stronger.

4. Learn, ask, question:

I found this trend after my first year coaching girls. The most successful on-ice players were the ones who communicated with me the most (Important note: this doesn’t mean the loudest in the room). These girls would ask questions consistently, typically during a break or after the session, with the purpose of learning as much as possible about their training and how they could get the most out of it.

 Your most valuable development tools:

  • “How can I improve this _____”

  • “What can I do for _____”

If you’re just starting out, focus on learning movement. Movement is king. If you can learn high quality movements, you’ll be safer in the gym and will begin building a bullet proof body on the ice. Starting out, it’s helpful to work with a coach (and ask him/her lots!) but there’s also tons of online content.

You can also take responsibility your own training by learning about strength & conditioning and the process from other players, coaches, articles, etc.

5. Work.

This trait trumps the rest.

Typically, within the first session with a new team, I can pick out their best players. This isn’t some super-scout claim, it’s just the consist correlation between talent and work ethic.

The most successful players are the hardest working players in almost every scenario. It’s difficult to find an elite player (who stays an elite player for very long) that doesn’t have an obsessive-like work ethic. Saying this, the level of work ethic is accelerated at every level, and the same level of work that made a Midget player successful, won’t be enough to be a successful junior player. I wrote a separate article about exponential work ethic here.

This undeniably appears to be the most consist elite girls bring to the gym.

In conclusion, how many of these are you putting into practice now?

What you bring to training or practice is crucial to how much you’re going to get out of it. If you need help with these – reach out to your coach, they’ve made an investment in choosing you for their team, and want you to succeed. Also feel free to reach out to me personally. Regardless, pursue better daily.

Development Camps: The Returnees

Several campers put off pro hockey for another year of NCAA development.


Harvard’s Ryan Donato is one of 14 returning 20-goal scorers across the country(Photo by Larry Radloff).


Nearly 500 past, present and future NCAA players participated in NHL Development Camps this summer. With that many participants, it’s not surprising that they have many different backgrounds – from first rounders to free agents, and from fresh-faced 18-year-olds to experienced veterans.

As camps conclude, collegehockeyinc.com is looking at several of those groups. Previously: The Sophomores | The Pros | The Newcomers.

Today: The Returnees.

NHL fans must watch some development camp performers with mixed emotions.

They see what the likes of Dylan Sikura or Ryan Donato can do in July scrimmages and picture them on NHL rosters this fall.

Those visions will have to wait, however, as those players and many others went to camp having already confirmed their plans to return to college hockey.


NCAA Players in NHL Development Camps | Player Development

That makes development camps a chance to fine-tune skills for some of college hockey’s biggest stars. And while they won’t be on the NHL stage until at least March, they know they can continue to develop and pursue championships at the NCAA level.

One of those players, Denver rising sophomore Henrik Borgström, already has an NCAA championship under his belt. The first-rounder raved about his experience on campus.

“If somebody asked me about college, I’d recommend it, for sure,” said Borgström. “It was probably the best decision of my life. It’s so much fun. You have hockey and you have friends.”

While Borgström was a first-round pick, many of these types of players were taken later in the draft, have had time to develop in college, and are looking forward to taking that next step.

Make it and Thrive

The goal, then, is not just making an NHL roster, but doing to and thriving.

“Could [Northeastern’s Adam Gaudette] have come out this year and competed and done well? Yes,” said Ryan Johnson, Vancouver Canucks director of player development. “But his intention is to put on some more weight and get stronger and he doesn’t want to come out and just survive or compete, he wants to come out and hit the ground running.”

Boston University’s Jordan Greenway shared a similar approach at Minnesota’s development camp.

“I want to find a way to generate more offense for myself,” said Greenway, who had 31 points as a sophomore. “I don’t want to just be an average player. I want to be an impact player when I come in here.

“I think I’ve grown a lot,” he added. “My coaching staff at BU has helped me out a ton. I’ve found ways to perfect my game down low.”

Supportive Staffs

To their credit, the Canucks and Wild staff expressed support for Gaudette and Greenway’s respective plans, with the hopes of getting an even better player in the long run.

“I need to mature a little bit physically and get a little bit faster,” Gaudette told the Vancouver Sun. “It’s the right move to help me make the jump to the next level, and last year was definitely a huge confidence booster and it’s easier to play like that and put up numbers.

“[The Canucks] fully support my decision to go back and develop and I’ll be excited to get here eventually. I have to keep playing a 200-foot game and be physical and hard to play against. I definitely need to work on my skating and smooth it out a little more — sometimes it gets a little choppy — and keep it going.”

“He wants to go back to school for another year and we respect that,” said the Wild’s Brad Bombardir of Greenway. “He for sure is one of our top prospects. Certainly he can refine habits in his game. He will get better and when he comes out, he’ll be a better player for it.”

Bruin Legacy

At another Beanpot school, Harvard’s Ryan Donato attended his fourth Bruins development camp and showed the steady but impressive progression that makes him one of the franchise’s top prospects.

Donato, who plays for his father Ted at Harvard, epitomizes the development benefits NCAA players enjoy.

“I think that’s one of the greatest parts of college hockey — not only do you get the hard-nosed play where you’re playing against men all the time, but you’re also training all the time and you have time to heal your body and you have time to work out,” he told CBS Boston. “And eventually you’ll get into this level, into the NHL or the AHL, and you’ll perform and your body will maintain itself and you’ll know the tips and tools and how to work out and eventually you’ll have some success in the pros.”

Like Gaudette and Greenway, Donato has his sights on making a splash ones he turns pro.

“I think if I can do my best to get myself best prepared for not just hopefully making the NHL but trying to make a career out of it, I don’t want to just jump in there when I’m not ready,” he said. “I want to make sure I’m 100 percent ready to go.”

Degree in Sight

Meanwhile, each of these players knows that another year in school will put them closer to a degree.

Gaudette’s teammate Dylan Sikura – who absolutely dazzled at Chicago Blackhawks’ camp – is returning for his senior year, looking forward to graduating before turning his attention to pro hockey. He cited fellow Blackhawk prospects John Hayden (Yale) and Anthony Louis (Miami), who took similar paths.

In Buffalo, St. Cloud State defenseman Will Borgen had an opportunity to sign this off-season, but will return to the Huskies.

“School is the No. 1 priority for me right now,” Borgen told the Buffalo News. “Try to get a degree because you can’t play hockey forever. That’s my mom’s theory.”

As they say, mom knows best.


Posted in Uncategorized

Win at Losing


An inspiring exploration of the surprising value of setbacks—and how we can use them to succeed and lead to our greatest gains.

The story of Ralph Cox, the last guy cut from the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team

by Sam Weinman



The following is excerpted from Win at Losing by Sam Weinman with the permission of TarcherPerigee, an imprint of Penguin Random House. Copyright © 2016 by Sam Weinman.

In Win At Losing: How Our Biggest Setbacks Can Lead To Our Greatest Gains, Sam Weinman explores how failure—whether in sports, politics, or business—can often be beneficial. Among the people he profiles is Ralph Cox, a former college hockey star who was squeezed out of arguably the greatest moment in sports history.

It was inevitable in writing a book about losing that some might interpret the subject as rather morbid. I get that sometimes. In discussing my topic with a friend, she mentioned how the last thing young people want to hear is that they’re bound to fall flat on their face. It’s too negative a message, she said. People at that age would prefer to be inspired.

OK fine, I thought. But in what category would you put Ralph Cox?

What you might know about Ralph comes from the movie Miracle, which is the true story of the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team that upset the powerful Soviets en route to the gold medal at Lake Placid. For hockey players, it is almost required watching, but I’d argue it’s a gripping tale for anyone, the story of a collection of obscure college hockey players who banded together to beat maybe the greatest team to ever play. It really is a remarkable movie. I suggest you watch it now. Go ahead. I’ll wait.

Anyway, one of the movie’s bit characters is an affable forward with a thick Boston accent. Ralph Cox had shaggy hair and a handlebar mustache, and in college hockey, he was a prolific goal scorer. The problem is Cox also suffered an ankle injury in the run-up to the games, and it continued to nag at him as the Americans were paring down their roster for Lake Placid. In one of the movie’s most emotional scenes, the US coach, Herb Brooks, calls Cox into his office to relay the news that he had to make one more cut, and Cox was it. Brooks was a tough guy, usually about as emotional as a hockey puck, but it was apparent that having to cut Cox gutted him. Which makes sense: twenty years earlier, Brooks was the last player cut from the 1960 Olympic team that went on to win a gold medal.

In the aftermath of the 1980 Olympics, the players who went on to win the gold medal were given ample opportunity to bask in their improbable win against the Soviets. Along with the movie, there have been books and documentaries, as well as a steady schedule of public appearances.

Ralph Cox, meanwhile, became a curious footnote. When the U.S. hockey team beat the Soviets, he was in Tulsa, Oklahoma, having already started his professional career with a minor league affiliate of the NHL’s Winnipeg Jets. Torn over whether to watch the game or pretend to ignore it, he put himself in front of the TV in an effort to get on with his life. He never suggests it was easy.

“Those were dark days,” Cox tells me. “The hoopla, the parades. It was the toughest time to keep my chin up. I was embarrassed. I felt like I let a lot of people down.”

With time, though, Cox forced himself to construct a new narrative. He had spent six months with the National Team prior to the Olympics, and he chose to be grateful for the role he had played in the team’s subsequent success. He thought of his father, who had signed up for the service at age seventeen, and who had to endure the horrors of World War II in the Pacific Islands. Compared to that, could Ralph really let himself be defined by being cut from a hockey team?

In the months and years following the 1980 Olympics, people often felt compelled to offer Cox their sympathies, but he rarely let them finish the sentence. ‘I would tell them, ‘This is not the last chapter of my life.’”

Approaching sixty, with a happy family and successful career in commercial real estate, Cox now talks about his dismissal from the Olympic team as a kind of hidden blessing and starting working as a Real Estate Coach with other companies online. Even more striking is that he never used his Olympic letdown as some vengeful fuel. When discussing Brooks, who died in a 2003 car crash, he still recalls how visibly painful cutting Cox was for the coach. When it comes to the teammates who tasted glory without him, Cox has only been a cheerleader.

“Right from the get-go I felt an obligation to all the guys to live life with my chin up and always be proud of their accomplishments, which I was,” he tells me. “It took about ten years to truly realize I would do it all over again if given the chance. Don’t get me wrong, I would have loved to be an Olympian. But I’ve had such a remarkable life, I couldn’t imagine it being any better.”

The definition of inspiring can vary. Certainly one type of inspiration can be found in a movie like Miracle that describes the most improbable of victories. But another is the lesser-told story of a man able to extract happiness and meaning from a crushing defeat.

“Having to find my way out of the darkness was at times a very painful experience, but ninety-five percent of it was incredibly powerful,” Cox says. “Failure, if done properly, is the magical opportunity to create success and happiness.”










Posted in Uncategorized

5 NCAA American hockey players who could go to the Olympics

Boston University forward Jordan Greenway (18) controls the puck next to North Dakota defenseman Colton Poolman (6) during the first period of an NCAA West Regional college hockey game, Friday, March 24, 2017, in Fargo, N.D. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

AP Photo/Carlos Osorio

Twenty years after the NHL began releasing players to compete in the Olympics, countries will once again have to construct their teams without relying on the best of the best.

Team USA head coach Tony Granato expects to compete for a medal no matter the makeup of his roster. Given that the USA Hockey brass hired a college coach to run the team, and given where a good chunk of the USA’s talent outside the NHL lies, it’s not unthinkable that the team that takes the ice in PyeongChang will have a significant NCAA presence.

Using NCAA players in key roles is a concept USA Hockey has been test-driving at the World Championships over the last several years, possibly in preparation for such an occasion as this. It’s a theory supported by comments from USA Hockey assistant executive director of hockey operations Jim Johannson.

“We have taken college players to the world championships and they have played totally fine for us,” he told USA Today in July.

Granato will be joined by two such players — Troy Terry and Jordan Greenway — at the upcoming Team USA Media Summit in Park City, Utah, in September. Nothing is set in stone yet, of course, but given that they’re the only players attending with Granato (thus far), it’s reasonable to treat the two as locks, or as close as one can get right now.

Let’s take a look at those players, along with a few others who could make the cut, in something resembling a descending order of likelihood.


Troy Terry (University of Denver)

Terry is one of USA Hockey’s darlings after his performance at the 2017 World Junior Championships. He also is attending the Team USA Media Summit in September. It’s not a stretch to assume he’s a lock unless he just really screws things up for himself before then.

In addition to WJC gold, Terry also won a national championship with the University of Denver Pioneers, for whom he was named best offensive forward. A former member of the National Team Development Program, Terry is a highly skilled player who can shift from center to wing, and whose offensive talent and confidence with the puck seem to be growing each year.


Jordan Greenway (Boston University)

Greenway didn’t have the star moment Terry did at the 2017 WJCs, but he was a force for the team nonetheless. He’s attending that Media Summit alongside Terry and Granato, and was one of the NCAA players most visibly discussed as a potential member of Team USA this summer. At this point, barring significant injury, it would be a shock if Greenway wasn’t in PyeongChang in February.

With a size that evokes old-school enforcers, Greenway is an imposing presence on the ice — but he brings far more than the physical. He was a dominant player with the BU Terriers last season, improving his play in most areas, including creating space for his teammates and doubling his goal total from his freshman year.


Ryan Donato (Harvard University)

Mentioned as a possibility for the team by many (though not currently listed as attending the summit), Donato will be a junior at Harvard this fall. At development camp this summer, he looked ready to potentially turn pro, but the lure of continuing his college career was too strong to ignore — especially as, this year, it comes with the chance of representing the USA at the Olympics.

Another thing Johannson noted is that Team USA wants college players who are versatile, able to fill a variety of roles. Donato plays both center and wing, making him flexible in terms of where he lands in the lineup.


Jake Oettinger (Boston University)

This pick is much more of a reach than others, but Team USA is going to have to dig deep to find a good goaltending trio. If Oettinger (or perhaps USA teammate and NCAA rival Joe Woll) puts on an impressive show at this year’s World Junior Championships in Buffalo, it could tip the scales in his favor for that third goalie spot.


Trent Frederic (University of Wisconsin)

Like Oettinger, Frederic is something of a reach. However, he’s also a known quantity to both Granato and USA Hockey. He currently plays for Granato at the University of Wisconsin, and spent his two seasons before joining the Badgers with the USNTDP.

Frederic was Wisconsin’s first-line center during the latter half of last season and showed he can play a strong two-way game, but he’s also got experience as a shutdown-style player. He’s an unlikely option, but if he has a strong first half, he could be a dark horse contender.


5 Important Lessons You Should Learn from Being Cut

By Brad MacDonald


As you progress through your hockey career, there becomes less and less available spots on teams that you are trying out for. For example, in minor hockey, you are only competing against 50 odd other players in your jurisdiction for 20 spots. In Midget hockey, there are 75 kids trying out for 10 available spots. And in Junior, there are 100+ players vying for 5 available spots. As you get older, you will quickly realize that it becomes increasingly more challenging to earn a spot on a team. Many players, go into tryouts, believing that they are going to make a team, only to later find out that they were cut. It can be very discouraging to be cut for the first, second or even tenth time. However, there are some key lessons each player can take away from being cut:


It is a privilege, not a right, to play competitive hockey. Be grateful.

Even though you have been cut from the AAA team, it is important to remember that you are privileged to be able to play competitive hockey. Many of your peers in school or in your neighbourhood can only dream of playing hockey at a high level. Many families cannot afford to pay for their kids to enroll in competitive hockey. Others do not have the talent required to play high-level hockey. Be grateful for the opportunities that hockey has provided you.


Dealing with adversity

Just because you were cut, it does not mean that you cannot fulfill your dreams. By being, cut, you joined the exclusive class of athletes, who have been cut from teams before (Michael Jordan, Lionel Messi, Martin St. Louis, Adam Oates, Dan Boyle, Ed Belfour, etc.). These athletes have at least one thing in common: perseverance. They faced tremendous adversity, from being cut from teams, and came back stronger than ever. They use the adversity to fuel their fire, that ultimately led them to greatness.


Areas in which you need to improve

Obviously, you were cut for a reason. You were not good enough for that team, at that particular time. It is time to look in the mirror, and be honest with yourself. You need to determine areas in which you need to improve. Some areas, that you might look into improving or changing, include:

-Off ice habits: Getting proper rest, nutrition, workout regimes, etc.

-On-ice skills: Shot, skating, passing, etc.

-Work ethic: Playing a hard, two-way game. In most cases, you will need to earn the coaches trust in all three zones.


Hockey can be cut-throat

As with in life, hockey can be tremendously cut-throat. Often times, coaches are not going to hold your hand and monitor your progress, after being released from tryouts. You need to take matters into your own hands, to relaunch your hockey career.


 The key to preparation

If you fail to prepare, prepare to fail” is a great quote to live by. Were you joking around in the room, or were you properly preparing before your ice sessions? Did you get proper sleep, or were you up past midnight, scrolling through Facebook? There are many sacrifices that you need to make, in order to perform to the best of your abilities. Most elite hockey players have a routine in place, that they swear by. It enables them to get into a proper state of mind, prior to competition.


10 greatest College Hockey America freshman seasons

College Hockey America freshman Meghan Agosta

As a rookie in 2006-07, Meghan Agosta wasted no time setting the tone for a still hard-to-top individual legacy in College Hockey America and all of NCAA women’s hockey. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)


The women’s-only College Hockey America is the smallest of all NCAA Division I conferences, with six member teams. That limited membership has hardly deterred prospective quality recruits, however, as evidenced by the number of impressive women’s College Hockey America freshman seasons.

Among the six teams, the two in Western Pennsylvania have especially stood out with their ability to attract high-end talent. As shown by this list, the Mercyhurst Lakers and Robert Morris Colonials have have impressed in this regard.

The reigning women’s hockey national rookie of the year is a Colonial. The player who put up one of the best rookie campaigns in NCAA history was a Laker.

The following list ranks the 10 greatest women’s College Hockey America freshman year performances, taking only the six current member teams into consideration.


10. Isabel Menard, Syracuse, 2009-10

Menard was the CHA rookie of the year and named to the all-rookie and all-conference first team in her freshman season. In the Orange’s second season as a varsity program, she led the team with 15 goals and 22 assists for 37 points in 35 games, good for third among all rookies nationally.


9. Nicole Hensley, Lindenwood, 2012-13

Hensley was the goalie for Lindenwood in the team’s inaugural Division I season, as it transitioned to being a full-time CHA member. As the backbone of a new team, she unsurprisingly faced a lot of shots, and did her part by turning away 1,174 of them.

While the Lions went 7-26-3 overall, Hensley managed to retain a .922 save percentage, which would ultimately tie for her career best. What really stood out, though, was her performance in the first game of the CHA tournament against Robert Morris. Hensley made 90 saves in the game that the her team eventually lost, 2-1, in triple-overtime after being outshot, 92-42.


8. Kirsten Welsh, Robert Morris, 2015-16

Welsh led all CHA defenders in scoring and was second among all Colonials and all rookies in the conference with 25 points (seven goals, 18 assists). Of her goals, five came on the power play, which ranked third among freshman defenders in the country.

Welsh was the first freshman to lead CHA blueliners in scoring since another member of this list did it in the 2011-12 season. She was named to the all-USCHO rookie team for her standout performance.


College Hockey America freshman College hockey must pursue Autonomy Five's time balance policy Brittany Howard RMU Emily Costales SyracuseIn 2013-14, Brittany Howard helped Robert Morris surge to relevance with her scoring touch… (Photo Credit: Jennifer Hoffman/Pucks & Rec)


7. Brittany Howard, Robert Morris, 2013-14

Howard helped lead the way offensively for the Colonials as a freshman. She scored 17 goals and added 24 assists for 41 points, which tied for the team lead. This point total was also tops among all rookies in the nation.

Howard scored timely goals, with five game-winners and five on the power play. She also had a very impressive four-goal performance against Maine. She was selected for the all-CHA second and rookie teams, and the all-USCHO rookie team.


6. Emily Janiga, Mercyhurst, 2012-13

Janiga was one of two high-scoring rookies on the Lakers in 2012-13. She tallied 41 points with 19 goals and 22 assists. This ranked second among freshmen on her team, behind Jenna Dingeldein. Her point total ranked fifth among rookies nationally and third in the CHA.

Janiga’s performance that year especially stands out because of the nature of a number of her goals. She scored five game-winners and eight power-play goals, establishing her clutch value early and often.

Another impressive aspect was how she rose to the scene so quickly, scoring a hat trick in her second career game.


5. Molly Byrne, Mercyhurst, 2011-12

Byrne put up a very impressive freshman campaign on the blueline for the Lakers. She scored six goals and added 28 assists for 34 points. This was seventh among all players in the conference, and first among defenders.

On a national level, her point total was in the top five among defenders. This proved to be Byrne’s best year in terms of offensive output.


4. Jessica Dodds, Robert Morris, 2013-14

Dodds emerged as the starting goalie without delay, and went on to set a single-season program record with 21 victories. Overall, she went 21-5-3 with a .932 save percentage and 1.66 goals-against average, also program bests.

These numbers ranked among the top 10 nationally, and were the best among freshman netminders that year. Dodds also earned five shutouts.

Her performance was recognized with CHA rookie of the year and all-conference first-team and rookie-team honors. She also was named to the all-USCHO rookie team.

College Hockey America freshman Jessica Dodds Robert Morris Nittany Lions…while Jessica Dodds emerged as the program’s go-to goaltender. (Photo Credit: Jenn Hoffman/Pucks & Rec.)


3. Valerie Chouinard, Mercyhurst, 2005-06

Chouinard was the first of two consecutive Lakers to lead all national rookies in points, scoring 26 goals and 25 assists for 51 points. This was sixth among all players in the nation, and first in the conference.

She was a clutch player for Mercyhurst, scoring six game-winning goals and seven power-play goals. Her point total led the Lakers, and her performance earned her a number of awards. These included CHA player and rookie of the year and the USCHO.com rookie of the year.


2. Jaycee Gebhard, Robert Morris, 2016-17

Gebhard was part of an impressive duo, opposite the aforementioned Howard, atop the Colonials line chart during the program’s most successful season to date. She tallied 22 goals and 24 assists for 46 points in her freshman season.

Her point total was the most by a rookie in RMU history. It also ranked first among all rookies nationally, and second only to Howard in the conference. What especially stood out was her performance on the power play, where she led the nation with nine goals.

Her performance earned her a number of awards, most notably the CHA and Women’s Hockey Commissioners’ Association National rookie of the year.


1. Meghan Agosta, Mercyhurst, 2006-07

Agosta had a dominant collegiate career, which she began with an outstanding freshman campaign. She led the nation with 38 goals and 74 points that year, and still remains the NCAA career leader in both of those categories.

Included in that standout first season were 11 game-winning goals, 16 power-play goals and six shorthanded goals. She was truly dominant in all situations for her team, and was a key reason for its incredible 32-2-3 record. Her performance warranted significant national recognition, and she was named a top-three finalist for the Patty Kazmaier Award.

In a season that included some other standout rookies in other conferences, including Kelli Stack, Meghan Duggan, Sarah Parsons and Allie Thunstrom, Agosta was the clear standout.


Mitch Meek brings wealth of experience to Michigan Tech


Penticton Vees photo Huskies incoming defenseman Mitch Meek looks on during a game for the Capitals in the British Columbia Hockey League.


HOUGHTON — With the Michigan Tech Huskies hockey team’s defensive corps in need of quality players after graduating three four-year starters and losing a third to a professional contract, they may have found themselves a diamond in Victoria, British Columbia, native Mitch Meek.

Meek, who was originally committed to Clarkson, has spent parts of the last six seasons in the British Columbia Hockey League playing for three of the league’s top franchises. Playing for four franchises in total, Meek only missed out on the playoffs in the first year, where he played in just three games.

With that incredible wealth of experience playing the game at the highest level what is arguably Canada’s top junior ‘A’ league, Meek is more than ready to step in and make an impact for the Huskies.

“[I] feel like I am going into a good situation with the coaching staff and everything,” said Meek. “[I] know that if I come down and work really hard, I will get an opportunity.”

With the Huskies having lost the steady two-way play of Matt Roy to the NHL’s Los Angeles Kings, the 6-foot-1 Meek appears to have a lot the same qualities that made Roy so successful in the current WCHA. He even shoots right-handed.

In the midst of a two-goal, six-point campaign for the South Island Thunderbirds, a midget team close to home, he was called up to the Cowichan Valley Capitals. Playing in three games for the Capitals, Meek did not pick up a point, but gained valuable experience which helped him step in the following season with the Victoria Grizzlies.

“I was 15 years old,” said Meek. “It’s definitely an older league back then. The coaches were really good to me. They let me come practice and kind of get my feet wet. It really helped me a lot, so it was awesome.”

In his first full campaign with the Grizzlies, Meek scored just two goals and four points while battling some injuries. The adjustment was not an easy one for Meek, but it was an important learning season.

In his second full season with the Grizzlies, Meek scored one goal, but posted a career-high 18 assists in 45 contests. He followed that up by helping the Grizzlies to a deep playoff run where they played 16 games. Meek chipped in one goal and four assists during the run.

During that season, he played with a set of triplets who are well known to Tech fans.

“We had a lot of older guys move on,” said Meek. “It was good for me. I got a lot of power play time, and played with three really good players in the Fitzgeralds. It was good to kind of contribute a little more.”

For his third full season in the BCHL, Meek wound up being dealt to the Vernon Vipers after six games with the Grizzlies. The move to Vernon proved valuable for Meek as he potted six goals and 16 points in 50 regular season games, giving him seven goals and 18 points overall.

The Vipers made the postseason, and Meek was able to chip in two assists in 11 playoff games.

“We had six Division I-committed defensemen,” said Meek. “We were one game away. We felt like, if we could have beaten Penticton in the Interior Final in Game 7, we were the ones who would have gone all the way.”

Meek started the 2015-16 season as one of a few veteran players for the Vipers and soon found himself changing addresses after getting traded to Cowichan Valley for a Vernon coach’s son. Meek stepped into a leadership role with the Capitals, both on the ice and in the locker room. On the ice, Meek blossomed, scoring five goals and setting a new career-high in assists with 26 for 31 points in 48 games.

“I had an awesome [defensive] partner,” said Meek. “We just clicked. I played a ton and I played well offensively. I was confident. We put up a lot of points, and I had a lot of opportunities.”

The Capitals bowed out just four games into the BCHL playoffs, but Meek continued to chip in where he could, notching two assists in those four contests.

Last season, as a 20-year-old, Meek played for the Penticton Vees after choosing to de-commit from Clarkson just prior to the start of the year. Knowing that he still wanted to make the jump to college hockey, Meek chose to go to Penticton, a team with a strong track record of placing players in the NCAA.

Helping the Vees to the top spot in the Interior Division with a record of 41-13-3-1, Meek picked up three goals and 19 points in 43 regular season games. Meek added another three goals and seven points as the Vees went deep into the BCHL playoffs, playing 17 total games over three rounds as they took the league playoff title.

“I feel like it really helped shape me as a man,” said Meek of the experience of de-committing and returning to juniors. “I put my work boots on and really got after it. I had to work for what I wanted, and I realized that I have to put the time in and prove people wrong.”

Meek sees himself as a reliable defender with an offensive upside, not unlike Dan Hamhuis of the Dallas Stars. Hamhuis is described as being “A defenseman with excellent hockey sense. Skilled with the puck, can play big minutes” according to eliteprospects.com.

Meek saw Hamhuis play quite a bit when the NHLer was playing for the Vancouver Canucks, and does seem to play a similar style.

If Meek can prove his reliability early in his career with the Huskies, he will help fill one of those open spots in their lineup sooner rather than later. With the ability to be comfortable on the power play, Meek could slot in very quickly and get every opportunity to succeed under new head coach Joe Shawhan.













An Excerpt From “You Are A Contender”



contenderbookHow do the world’s best athletes and performers make it to the top and stay there. Talent and skill are not enough in themselves. Emotions run the show in elite performance,

to produce outstanding achievements in any sport, talent and skill are essential elements that get you in teh game. But, once you’re in the game, recent research in sports psychology has identified another set of factors that control the outcome. Athletes who have lerned a particular set of skills to manage their emotions intelligently produce consistently superior performance.

John Haime has been a college athlete, and he has played a professional sport at a world-class level. He has worked with leaders in organizations worldwide for over 15 years, and it is very clear to him that the skills that separate average performers from star performers are grounded in the ability to be self aware.

With John’s great ability to simplify and communicate concepts, all players at all elite levels could benefit from his assistance.

Below is an excerpt from his book, “You Are A Contender

David MacDonald, Hockey Family Advisor



“Build Emotional Muscle To Perform Better and Achieve More….. In Business, Sports and Life”

By John Haime


The present is the place for performance

Thinking manCan you imagine how great it would be always to keep yourself in the present moment? How much stress could you avoid if you did that? No worries about what happened yesterday and no worries about new demands put on you at work, at home or wherever? Contenders like Jordan Speith know the importance of staying in the present moment. While Jordan shows emotion after a poor shot in golf, it is very rare that you will see him let those negative emotions affect the next shot. With Jordan, the only important shot is the one he is hitting, not the one he has just hit or the next one he will hit. He expressed the importance of staying in the moment after leading The Masters
tournament after 36 holes:

“I’m going to try and stay in the moment and be very patient these last two days and understand it’s going to feel like a whole different tournament.”

The present is a much calmer place than the future or past. Our past stirs our emotional memory—good and bad—and our own perception of the future stirs our emotions, positive and negative. While the future is where our goals and future achievements live, we achieve them through executing our process in the present.

Do you take time for self reflection, even a few minutes every day, to slow things down and gain an appreciation for the present moment?


Contenders set their own standards

The great Russian dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov said it best:

“I do not try to dance better than anyone else. I only try to dance better than myself.”

Contenders set their own bar and are always trying to surpass it. The bar is not set by someone else. This is another difference between contenders and pretenders; contenders set their own standard of excellence, while pretenders often get caught up in living up to others’ expectations. World-class golfer and major championship winner Rory McIlroy has set his own standard:

Red_image_for_Athletemind“I never looked at records. It was just about what I wanted to do myself. There is an interview now around with me when I was seven or eight, saying I wanted to win all the majors and be the best golfer in the world. It is what I have always wanted to do but just as me. I never wanted to break records, I never looked at someone and said ‘I want to do that’. This was just what I wanted to do; win the biggest tournaments in the world and be the best golfer in the world.”

And, McIlroy also explains a commitment to his own standard:

“I just want to be the best player I can be because I know if I do that, it is hopefully going to be better than everyone else. It is all about self-motivation. I am not looking at other guys on the range. It is all about making myself as good as I want to be and I know if I can do that, there is a good chance I will win golf tournaments and give myself a chance to win majors.”

McIlroy has won major championships by wide margins including the US Open and PGA Championships by significant margins – highlighting that he is playing to his own standard and focusing on his own constant improvement.

Image_for_siteContenders are primarily motivated by intrinsic rewards like playing to their potential, a burning desire to achieve their goals, and the joy of a great performance. They have a passion for the work or activity or whatever they are doing. For contenders, the external rewards are always secondary. As tennis legend and humanitarian Arthur Ashe stated:

“You are never really playing an opponent. You are playing yourself, your own highest standards, and when you reach your limits, that is pure joy.”

Think about your own personal excellence. Do you set your own bar, set your goals accordingly, and always try and reach them with passion? Or, are you wrapped up in others’ expectations and chasing superficial, external rewards?