SRIYHA players and parents,
As all our teams have moved into regular season play it is an advantageous time to remind everyone of our organizational philosophy as it relates to cheering on our teams and conduct towards referees. In recent weeks nationally there have been several instances where parents have been less than cordial to referees and that behavior was so poor it has resulted in media attention. Locally, a young referee was so upset at the things that were being said to her during a tournament game in Warwick she had to quit mid-game. Nationally there is a referee shortage, specifically in Rhode Island and Massachusetts the referee numbers are reaching a desperate level. Referees are in such short supply because people are no longer willing to subject themselves to such abuse from the stands and from the benches. Refereeing should be fun; referees are an integral part of the game and without them there is no game at all.
I bring this subject up this month to remind our SRI community that it is our organizational philosophy to always remain positive when cheering on our teams. Please remember that you are representing our organization when you are at a rink. We strive to be an organization that is respected for our quality play on the ice as well as our sportsmanship and respectfulness in the stands. Many of the referees are young, many not even eighteen yet. There are so many young referees because there is a need for new referees today so they can learn and mature to be the veteran referees of tomorrow. These referees are someone’s child, stop for a moment and ask yourself if you would like someone yelling at your child like the referee in Warwick? We must remember that we are watching youth sports and not professionals. Our referees are part time referees, and many are learning the nuances of refereeing and we need to understand that referees in youth sports do not get instant replay, or hours upon hours of specialized training like professional referees. They are doing the absolute best they can in a challenging environment.
SRI’s reputation is one of respect and of quality sportsmanship. As we cheer on our Jr. Rams and Sirens keep it on the positive, respect our referees, and enjoy the game.
After parity, the Rams have started off the 2022-23 season with tremendous success. Although early, Rams teams hold first or second place in 8 of the 14 divisions we roster teams in. Keep it up!
SRIYHA and The Boston Bruins Foundation are excited to continue and grow the Bruins Academy Learn to Play presented by Pure Hockey to help aspiring youth hockey players develop their skills. The program has been through the first three weeks and so far is a rousing success!
Look for upcoming information regarding SRI's 20th Anniversary Celebration - It promises to be a great time for the entire program!
In the mean time, in case you missed the stores last month, we opened back up our 20th anniversary season stores for both the Jr. Rams and Sirens. The stores are now open and will close on Thursday, October 27th. All the shirts and sweatshirts will not only have the Jr. Rams or Sirens logo but the 20th anniversary logo on the left sleeve. We also have hats, tumblers, and sweatpants. A portion of the proceeds will go towards offsetting costs for tournaments, power skating, coaching equipment, and other costs.
Here are the links to the two stores –
In addition, we have our two SquadLocker stores for normal gear:
If you have any questions, please reach out to Jared Goodwin.
Some very exciting news for the u16 Sirens under Coach Kelly - They have been ranked as high as #33 in USA Girls Tier 2 (currently @ #37). Go Sirens!
The goalie clinics are off to a fantastic start! Drills and skills for goalies monthly! If you know of anyone who wants to try some time in the crease, please reach out to me - they can try it at one of the SRI clinics and possibly play in one of our house league games to see if they like it.
Some of the SRI Goalies are participating in the October Saves goalie challenge and raising money to fight cancer. We can all be very proud of our goalies! Please consider supporting our goalies in this great cause!
The countdown begins! Registration is open here and I’m getting a lot of questions about what to sign your children up for.
I don’t know all of your children, so that decision is up to you. In House League, we don’t have to strictly adhere to age guidelines, which means we have the option to make sure your skater is in the best spot for their development. These are multi-age groups so it’s common for kids to spend multiple years at each level. If you’re not sure, register for the lower level – it’s easier to move up than it is to move down. Here’s the breakdown for you to make the best decision possible. If you have more specific questions about the different levels and formats, feel free to contact Emily.
|LEVEL||AGES (typically)||SKILLS NEEDED||PRACTICE FORMAT||GAME FORMAT|
|L1 – Learn to Skate||3+||No skills or experience necessary||Small groups stick with coach(es) for at least 30 minutes. Last 20 minutes coach’s discretion (50 minutes ice time)||No Games. No sticks and pucks.|
|L2 – Learn to Play||Mostly 5-7, but all are welcome||Getting up and around independently, avoiding crashes, stopping, turning and starting to go backward||Small groups rotate to stations with a coach. Focus and skating and beginning stick handling||No formal games. Often one station will be a game-like set up.|
|L3 - L4||Mostly 6-9, with some older and younger||Stops, turns, pivots, moving backward, carrying the puck, follows instructions in large group.||Groups rotate station to station on a whistle.||Cross ice games Sundays starting in January. Rosters set in December.|
|L5 - L6||Mostly 9 - 14||Skaters are ready to learn advanced skating and stick handling skills, as well as team concepts.||Age/skill – based groups rotate to stations. Goalie training available – encourage all players.||Full ice, no check, games Sundays starting in January. Rosters set in December.|
Coaches: Looking for volunteers to help coach. All practice plans are provided. Coaches will run game/drill stations, help kids find their way, and help set up and clean up the ice. Information and Registration here. Contact Emily with questions.
SCHL Selects is back for its 2nd season. The Selects tryouts have been completed and SRI is heavily represented in many of the Selects rosters - Congrats to all player and alternates from SRI!
Zero Tolerance Policy towards unsportsmanlike behavior.
In the 2021 to 2025 (newest volume) of the USA Hockey Official Rules and Casebook of Ice Hockey, at the front section just after the table of contents titled “Point of Emphasis 2021 Through 2025 Seasons”, the very first statement is in regard to Fair Play and Respect. The rule book states that all officials, coaches, players, parents, spectators and volunteers are encouraged to observe these “Point of Emphasis” when participating in the sport of ice hockey.
The very first point of emphasis, and thereby the most important states:
“Fair Play and Respect”
Fair play and respect are the backbone of any successful amateur sports program. In order for a positive environment to be created, it is imperative that all participants and spectators have respect for all players, coaches, officials, administrators, spectators and the sport of hockey. Hockey is a game demanding high levels of concentration and skill. Taunting or unsportsmanlike conduct directed at opponents or officials will not be tolerated.
USA Hockey does not tolerate any abusive behavior, including racial and other derogatory slurs directed at players, coaches and officials. All participants are reminded that any language that is hateful or discriminatory in nature will be penalized with an automatic Match Penalty.
Abuse of officials is a continuing problem at all levels of play, and in all youth sports, and as a result the retention of officials has become a significant issue that affects the quality and number of available officials. USA Hockey is committed to taking a leadership role in this area and has in place a Zero Tolerance Policy towards unsportsmanlike behavior. Officials are required to strictly enforce all actions that are deemed to be abusive in nature in an effort to change the culture of what is deemed to be acceptable behavior when it comes to respect for officials.”
Having officiated myriad games over the past 15 years, and participating on the bench as a coach more recently, I have seen a concerning dissolution of respect and even worse, voiced disrespect and abuse directed at our officials in our great sport.
I have been in the stands and heard parents shouting and using bad language over the glass at the referees in U10 hockey games. A recent local tournament saw a new 16 year old female referee being berated so badly by parents in the stands that she skated off the ice crying and quit on the spot.
There are solutions to this problem, and they start with all of us parents, coaches, officials, players, volunteers and spectators adhering to the “Zero Tolerance” Policy, but many of us do not know what to do, or how to properly handle these situations. I would like to offer some background information and my advice in what to do if you see this type of abuse occurring and want to help be part of the solution.
The Daunting Task
Even the most experienced on-ice officials have a focus on the game and are instructed to avoid exacerbating issues arising in the stands. We have the authority to identify an abusive, boisterous parent, notify the rink staff and have them escorted out of the building if required. During the game however, two officials have to keep their eyes on one time clock, one puck, two blue lines, two goal lines, one center ice red line, two goalies, two goal creases, two benches full of players, two penalty bench doors, four player bench doors, two to four entry doors, one Zamboni door and typically 10 skaters participating in play. Think about that task, and then consider what a new, first year official may be having going through their head during the game. Often there are missed calls simply due to so much going on in the game and we all make mistakes. Have a little empathy for our officials, especially young or new officials. They are not out to give the other team an advantage, and I can tell you, in a hostile rink environment, it is very difficult for a brand new ref to feel comfortable raising their arm, stopping the game with their whistle, having the entire building stare directly at them anticipating the right call with the proper signal and cadence. That is something that takes a few years for most young referees to become comfortable with, and it is certainly uncomfortable to the point where new refs often refrain and can be a negative for the game play and fairness, but it is a fact. Our youth hockey teams, due to age classifications and level of play, often are assigned the newest and youngest officials who need these games under their belt to learn and build their confidence. We need to be more understanding of their positions and encourage them, even praise them for taking the responsibility and challenge of officiating a good game to ensure fair play. We cannot continue to discourage new officials and lose them due to repeated abuse.
What Can I Do?
If you are in the stands watching the game and a parent or other spectator from your own team, or the other team is behaving in a way that is abusive toward anyone else in the rink (players, coaches, officials or other spectators), it is encouraged that you not directly get involved with that person, but notify the rink attendant, manager, concession attendant, time clock/scorekeeper or if no one else is present the head coach of your team who can convey the message to the on-ice official during a play stoppage. In extreme cases the local authorities may need to be called to escort the person out of the building. Most of the time, the threat of forcing a spectator to leave the building wakes them up and reminds them that this is a youth hockey game and not worth making such a fuss over, but that is not always the case. Do not be afraid to get involved and notify someone who can make the environment better for all, especially the kids playing who need to see better from the parents and other participants to learn how to be civil. If you are not comfortable in the moment or cannot find someone, please notify our board at email@example.com. Please indicate the date, time of game, rink and any specifics you can share (names or descriptions, what team they were from). In many cases we can work with Live Barn camera feeds or other organization members to identify and address the problem.
If it is a friend or person you feel comfortable talking to about this, please do not encourage their behavior and have the confidence to tell them to stop. Remind them of the points you learned here about what the game is all about and how ridiculous they look when they are berating another over a youth hockey game.
In the long run, this is the greatest sport on the face of the earth and we are all fortunate to be able to enjoy it. Let’s work together to prevent a few bad apples from spoiling it for others. Remember, Zero Tolerance Policy is there to ensure Fair Play and Respect for all involved.
By Nick Twesten, SRIYHA VP and Director of Officials, USA Hockey On-Ice Official Level 3
Check out the new Rams colors CCM gloves! Get yours at Sandy Lane Sports!
The 2023 Golf Tournament is in the planning stages and we are scouting for locations and dates right now. More news to come!
The new SRI Goaltender Development program has had two sessions so far and they have been very well received! We are intent on providing all of SRI's goaltenders the goalie-specific training, drills and skills that they need to develop. Keep it up Coach Jason!
Please continue to keep the family of Dave Correia in your thoughts and this is another call to reach out and support this Ram's family. The Go Fund Me page to is assist in covering costs and is very close to their goal. #RAMFAM
The Lake Placid International Youth Hockey Tournament will take place February 23rd - 26th, 2023. This is always a kid AND parent favorite and will fill up quickly, so make sure your head coaches are aware of the signups, which happen VERY soon! Last year, both the u12A and u10A teams won their divisions
35th Annual Thanksgiving Tournament (Warwick) takes place Thanksgiving weekend (Nov. 25th - 27th 2022). A nice local tournament for anyone not going away for the holiday. SRI currently holds the Mite Division Championship.
The Hockey Academy runs tournaments at Waterville Valley all season long. They might not be the best (read: even) tournaments, but it's a great way to combine hockey with a family ski weekend!
Newport Christmas Classic returns this year from Dec 27th - 29th. Held at Portsmouth Abbey and St. Georges, this is a nice local option for teams from Mites to Bantams (u8-u14).
Connecticut Winter Classic - The NEW Winter Classic will be hosted by the gorgeous twin-rink facility at the Danbury Ice Arena in Danbury, CT, home to the Professional Federal Hockey League's Danbury Hat Tricks! The Winter Classic will play host to 60 teams from all over the country!
While we're discussing tournaments, sponsorships are a great way to offset some of the costs of playing travel hockey. Sponsorship funds can be used for tournament registration fees, tournament hotel costs, and other travel related costs including team meals. 100% of the money collected goes back to the team that collected it.
Now is the time to begin asking your employer or other local businesses for their support. We had several teams collect enough money last year to pay 100% of their tournament registration fees!
All sponsors receive recognition on our website and on social media. This is a great way for local businesses to help our young hockey players and, in return, get some great exposure to all our hockey families.
Please see our Sponsorships page for additional information.
Goalie Clinics / Power Skating
SRI Newsletter - October 2022 - Issue 2