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Killip Learns, Leads in Kalamazoo

08/24/2016, 2:00pm MDT
By Jayson Hron - USA Hockey

KOHA skills coach bringing ADM lessons to player development role at Western Michigan University

The search for Western Michigan University’s new director of player development netted a familiar face in a familiar place.

Former Broncos assistant captain David Killip was the face and Kalamazoo was the place.

It was an ideal fit for Killip, who spent last season pursuing his master’s degree at WMU and coaching youth players in the Kalamazoo Optimist Hockey Association. The British Columbia native was KOHA’s American Development Model skills director, a specialized coaching role that put him on the ice with every player in the USA Hockey Model Association. He’ll continue to help at KOHA this season, but now he’ll also lead player development for NCAA Division I student-athletes at WMU.

“Coach (Andy) Murray is good at listening to people on his staff and we’ve had plenty of conversations about what I did at KOHA with the ADM,” said Killip. “I expect to see it this year with our guys at Western.”

Killip was part of a skill development team at KOHA that worked once a week with each 10U, 12U, 14U and girls team, and then spent weekends with 6U and 8U players. Brian Tulik, KOHA’s program director, offered high praise for Killip.

“David’s knowledge and understanding of the game and his commitment to player development is a huge asset to KOHA,” said the former ECHL defenseman. “He’s a bright young man with an exceptional ability to understand the ADM and implement it with our players and coaches. We’re very fortunate to have him.”

Even though the ADM was new to Killip, he grasped the concepts quickly.

“It’s not something I had in hockey at that age, but I saw some of the principles in other sports,” he said. “I grew up playing soccer and I saw some of the concepts there. It’s a great way to use ice, maximize player reps and expose players to more individualized coaching. It’s huge for their development.”

And as a former NCAA Division I player, Killip easily embraced ADM core tenets like cross-ice hockey and small-area games.

“I’m a big fan of cross-ice,” he said. “It’s always been part of hockey at the upper levels and it’s even more valuable today because the college game has become all about speed, skill and making plays in small areas. For kids, cross-ice makes it more challenging for the advanced players and it gives the other players more puck touches and also more engagement, which adds to their development on both sides of the ice.”

As for his view on small-area games in practice, Killip not only enjoyed them as a player, he also liked how they transferred into games on Friday and Saturday nights.

“Small-area games are more competitive,” he said. “They always amped things up in practice, got the competitive juices flowing and heightened the speed of everything, so on the weekends, you could slow things down a little.”

His weekends – and weeks – will be anything but slow this season, with MBA classes and coaching duties aplenty, but Killip is ready for the challenge and eager to learn. With KOHA kids, college players and a mentor coach whose resumé includes 333 NHL victories, he’ll have no shortage of study material.

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One issue that continues to arise is the abuse of officials and the effects it has on retention. To counter and help improve the environment, USA Hockey’s rules sub-committee has been focused and committed to solutions.

This sub-committee was established to define and recommend programs to confront this problem. As a result of this, a first step was taken at the recent Annual Congress to amend the Zero Tolerance Policy. Several proposals were made and adopted by the Board of Directors to constructively confront this problem. 

These changes strongly recommend things like game officials introducing themselves to the coach during warm-ups in order to start the communication process and set some guidelines for in-game communication.

The parents/spectators section was amended to clearly state the behavioral expectations of this group. Another strong recommendation added to this section was to establish a parent/spectator monitor by each local youth hockey team for all games. Ideally, this monitor will address and de-escalate parent/spectator behavior before it impacts the game and the officials have to stop play. 

Also added, a reminder to administrators that they are responsible for taking any appropriate disciplinary action towards parents/spectators that are removed from a game as a result of a violation of the Zero Tolerance Policy.

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Every Tuesday, the Officiating Education Program will present an hour-long webinar on various topics of interest and importance to not only USA Hockey’s officials but the entire membership. These panel discussions will cover topics such as abuse and zero tolerance, communication, player safety, as well as items such as game management and positioning within the three recognized USA Hockey Officiating systems. Panelists will include some of the top officials in the country and other experts from the hockey world whose goal will be to inform, entertain and encourage the USA Hockey community to learn more about officiating.

Mentor Project

Getting officials from their first year to their third season is a key focus for the Officiating Education Program. Helping officials understand the basics of the craft and giving them a supportive resource is what the Mentor Project is all about. USA Hockey is helping local Officials Associations put together the framework where a mentor gets matched with a new official and works with them not only in their first month or second, but is a constant resource for the new official throughout their first couple of seasons. Learning about how to read the rule book, navigate the challenges of getting assignments and become a proficient official are all goals of the mentor project.   

Again, we hope everyone is safe and sane as we prepare for a different landscape of hockey – but we are excited to welcome it, and you, back to the game.

See you at the rink!

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Tag(s): ADM Features