Raising Rink Rats


The Herb Brooks Foundation’s Rink Rats program introduces hockey to a new population


By Barclay Kruse

Joe Baker played for coach Herb Brooks at the University of Minnesota from 1974-79 where he counted as teammates future 1980 Olympians Steve Christoff, Neal Broten, Bill Baker, Eric Strobel, Rob McClanahan, Phil Verchota, Steve Janaszak and Mike Ramsey. So a passerby might have been surprised on a cold day in December to see Coach Joe, as he calls himself, on a basketball court attempting to teach the basics of ice hockey to 30 fifth graders. This was not a team of select hockey players; none of these kids came to Coach Joe with a lick of any hockey experience.

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Jean Béliveau: Le Gros Bill

The antithesis of hockey development today


By Jack Blatherwick
Let’s Play Hockey Columnist

Jean Béliveau, or “Le Gros Bill” in Quebec, played on 10 Stanley Cup Champion Montreal Canadiens teams, and as if that wasn’t enough, he joined management to win seven more. Because so many in Canada are memorializing him as a person and player after his recent death, I’ll write for a different purpose.

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The most affordable training checklist


By Josh Levine

My general rule is that the most affordable training tends to be the toughest and the most advantages. Like any rule, there are exceptions and certain training – like skating technique work – can be very beneficial for youth hockey players. However, I often find players paying a lot of money to do more glamorized training, but spending little to no time doing the real tough stuff. Below is a checklist of simple, affordable, and incredibly effective training techniques. Are you using them?

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Unique and critical coaching situations (part 1)


By John Russo
Let’s Play Hockey Columnist


Over the years, I’ve presented this multi-part series a couple of times – because I think that it is critical that coaches recognize the truly game-changing magnitude of the unique and critical situations in each game. These are the times when coaching is truly important. Times that coaches and players need to know and feel the “pulse” of the game and prepare in advance, and at the time of occurrence. It takes analysis and response. Knowing in advance what these situations are surely helps with analysis and gives coaches a chance to prepare their team with responses.

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Explosive quick starts


By Diane Ness


Being an explosive skater is so important in today’s game. Your first 3-5 steps are the key to winning small races all over the ice. Getting to the puck first, getting up to a full stride quicker, and beating opponents to areas on the ice is a result of an explosive quick start.

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