John Russo

Mites (Part III) – No co-oping? Then what’s the plan?

 

By John Russo
Let’s Play Hockey Columnist

 

The previous two parts of the “Mites” columns (LPH, Jan. 23, 2014 and March 13, 2014) talked about dwindling Mite programs at many large and small associations. The concept of “quantity creates quality” was discussed (the more Mites, the better the high school team, generally). High school sizes were laid out as a (possibly) true measuring stick as to number of potential players in the area.

Read more: Mites (Part III) – No co-oping? Then what’s the plan?

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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Mites (Part II) – Quantity produced is quality

 

By John Russo
Let’s Play Hockey Columnist

 

Every 2-3 years I try to step back and take a look at how we are doing with hockey in the Upper Midwest. Not really from a pro or college perspective, but rather from a youth and high school level. I’ve had a pretty good perch to look down from these past dozen years as I’ve administered the Upper Midwest High School Elite League. I’ve been able to see where the strengths in the state are at, at the high school level.

Read more: Mites (Part II) – Quantity produced is quality

Selecting and developing positions

 

By John Russo
Let’s Play Hockey Columnist

 

Many coaches tend to accept the positions of players as they come on to their teams. Youngsters have always been defensemen or forwards, and so they are chosen and continue as such. I believe that this should not be the case all the way up through high school. While it will take a bit of effort and time to convert a forward to a defenseman at the high school varsity level, a player with good overall skills can be converted, if the right frame of mind exists. Let’s first step back, however, and look at the various positions and what coaches should expect from each. That is a good portion of the basis of how the players should be chosen for each.

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The stay or leave high school question

 

By John Russo
Let’s Play Hockey Columnist

 

Over the past couple of months, I’ve heard much about how we are doing worse at the high school hockey level. The big story in the Minneapolis newspaper was about so many players leaving high school. That seems to be the real story that people are grabbing onto – that some 40-plus high school players left, so we are falling apart. My assessments way back in 2002-03 found over 40, and they were 40 formidable players. I’m now ready to take a good objective look at this question.

Read more: The stay or leave high school question