From college to the NHL


A record 303 former U.S. college players appeared in the NHL during the 2013-14 regular season


By Kevin Kurtt
Let’s Play Hockey Editor

If you’ve watched nearly any NCAA sporting event on television in the past several years, you’ve seen the ad. You may even be able to recite the tagline: “There are 380,000 NCAA student-athletes, and just about all of them will be going pro in something other than sports.”

It’s a noble campaign directed at educating the masses that most athletes in college will see their athletic careers come to an end at graduation.

In the world of NCAA hockey, the vast majority of players on the 59 Division I and 78 Division II/III men’s teams will not make the jump to the NHL, AHL, ECHL or any other of the various professional hockey leagues around the world. But for a select few, college hockey is merely a steppingstone to the bright lights of the National Hockey League.

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Training with tennis


Agility, quickness, lower-body strength, anticipation, competitiveness: Does that sound like hockey?

By Jack Blatherwick
Let’s Play Hockey Columnist

Coaches I’ve addressed over several decades, define ‘hockey athleticism’ as, ‘Moving your body quickly and efficiently in all directions.’ In other words, speed, quickness and agility are at the very top of their priority list for development of young talent, alongside rink sense, competitiveness, stick skills and skating fundamentals. Summarized, it is ATHLETICISM, SKILL and ANTICIPATION.

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Combinations for team optimization


By John Russo
Let’s Play Hockey Columnist


Every team has a way of operating, a style, a spirit, a “personality.” This team personality is a combination of the personalities of all the individual members of the team. Each year I try to look at the psychological side of hockey at least a couple of times. As I have said in the past, the mental part of the game is every bit as important as the physical part – and sometimes more important.

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Highland Central flying high with two state titles


By Alyssa Hollenback

If you took a look at the coverage of youth state hockey tournaments in last week’s issue, you know that the Highland Central Hockey Association made quite the showing. Highland had two teams win state – the Bantam A and PeeWee A teams – and several other teams had big wins over some of youth hockey’s most prominent players. So how exactly does a city program like Highland Central continue to grow and produce quality players in an era dominated by thriving suburban programs? Although a difficult question, Highland Central just might have the answer.

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The Law of Jante


By Kevin Hartzell
Let’s Play Hockey Columnist

The hockey season is reaching its annual climax. The Minnesota High School Hockey tournament is now over. College hockey is in the heart of its playoff run to the crowning of a new national champion. It is a fun time of year with the NHL just weeks away from the greatest team tournament in sport: the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Read more: The Law of Jante