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Bruins Boost Youth Hockey in the Hub

12/10/2015, 12:00pm MST
By Jayson Hron - USA Hockey

In the 1970s, with Stanley Cup fever having swept through Boston, youth hockey in the Hub reached an apex. Rinks and streets were filled with aspiring Bruins, as kids flocked to hockey like never before.

Ron DeGregorio, then a volunteer in USA Hockey’s New England District, helped stoke the excitement with his Mini One-on-One, a youth hockey showdown on Boston Garden ice that became a between-periods staple of Bruins telecasts on WSBK, and later, NESN.

Some 40 years later, the Mini One-on-One remains a powerful connection between the Bruins and New England youth hockey, and this year, fans will see a new look when they tune into NESN telecasts. Instead of a breakaway contest, the Bruins hosted a cross-ice tournament at TD Garden for teams consisting of three players and one goalie in the boys and girls 10U and 12U age classifications.

NESN filmed the entire tournament Nov. 22, packaging a winter’s worth of youth competitions in a single festive day.

“The energy in the building, with the players, coaches and families watching, was amazing,” said Roger Grillo, USA Hockey ADM regional manager. “The cross-ice format over the center ice spoked B was really impressive and the kids had a blast. Hats off to all those involved, including Ron DeGregorio, Mike Dargin, Kevin Kavanagh and other members of the Massachusetts Hockey family, and most importantly, thanks to the Bruins for their support.”

Not stopping with the Mini One-on-One, Boston also launched Bruins Academy, a new children’s television series designed to help teach hockey through a variety of show segments and instruction involving current Bruins players, coaches, management and medical and training staff, as well as NHL on-ice officials and personnel.

Each episode will be hosted by Emmy award-winning sports personality Charlie Moore and feature BostonBruins.com reporter Caryn Switaj, a former USA Hockey Brian Fishman Intern.

“Growing the game in our region is a top priority for the Bruins organization,” said Cam Neely, Bruins president. “We hope that Bruins Academy is equal parts entertaining and educational for kids throughout New England, who love our game and want to learn more about it.”

Both the Mini One-on-One tournament and the Bruins Academy announcement came on the heels of another successful Bruins Coaching Symposium, which brought a record number of youth hockey coaches from throughout New England to TD Garden. The entire Bruins coaching staff presented, as did several representatives from USA Hockey including Michele Amidon, Joe Bonnett, Roger Grillo, Kevin McLaughlin and Mark Tabrum.

“It was not only the largest of the Bruins Coaching Symposiums, but also the best so far, in my opinion,” said Grillo, who led a breakout session on USA Hockey’s American Development Model. “The involvement of the entire Bruins coaching staff was terrific. They emphasized the important role of youth hockey coaches and also made some great points about practice planning and coaching techniques that were helpful.”

It should also be noted that the Bruins coaches and staff did it all on a game-day.

“The organization’s commitment to the youth coaching community and to youth hockey in general has a very positive impact,” said Grillo. “And to have an organization give of its time on a game-day in their building speaks volumes about their commitment.”

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The Boston Bruins debuted a new cross-ice 3v3 format for their Mini One-on-One youth hockey showdown last week.



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Tag(s): ADM Features