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ADM Advocates

“With cross-ice hockey and small-area games, there's way more action, way more fun, and it creates more offense. I know it was a lot more fun for me growing up with small-ice hockey. Skating 200 feet down the ice doesn't make a lot of sense for young kids, and it's not a very efficient way to use the ice, either. The game's all about skill, creativity and competition. Playing in smaller spaces helps develop all of that, plus it's fun, which is one of the things I like most about the ADM.”

Toronto Maple Leafs forward, 2017 Calder Trophy recipient, two-time Team USA gold medalist 

“The American Development Model is just what the doctor ordered for youth hockey. USA Hockey and the NHL should be commended for implementing it across the United States, as evidenced by many other youth sports following this lead. I’m a teacher by trade, and the concept of age-appropriate training is bang on. What a 6-, 8- or 10-year-old needs developmentally is vastly different than what a 14-, 16-, or 18-year-old needs. Delivering high-energy, activity-based practices full of skating, puck skills and competitive small-area games is what 12U, 10U and 8U players need, and the formula of three practices to one game at these ages gives players the best chance for long-term success. This formula, combined with playing two or three other sports is vital. As players move into their teenage years, the equation changes a bit, as players need to acquire an understanding of team concepts which comes with playing more games. The bottom line is I want and need players at the NCAA Division I level who can skate, shoot, handle pucks and think the game at a high level. If you as a parent want your child to enjoy the game to its fullest while training in a program which will maximize their potential as a player, find an ADM club near your home, sit back and enjoy the experience.”

Air Force Academy head coach, former IHL head coach and GM

"USA Hockey introduced the American Development Model in 2009 at the youth hockey levels, so that’s when you started to see the cross-ice games, station-based practices and smaller-area hockey, where the focus is more on skill development and enjoyment of the sport versus putting a bunch of 8-year-olds on a giant sheet of ice and doing flow drills. That change helped American hockey in general, and we're seeing the benefits of it now."

University of Minnesota Duluth women’s hockey head coach, 2019 U.S. Under-18 Women’s National Team head coach, 2017 NCAA Division I Women’s Coach of the Year, two-time IIHF gold medalist

“I'm a big believer in USA Hockey's ADM. I’ve been coaching my son for the last six years, from 8U through 14U, and the ADM has been part of every single one of my practices. When we have a large group, it really keeps the kids moving and makes sure they get plenty of reps.

The two things I find most valuable for player development are the small-area games and playing cross-ice at 8U.

I start every one of my practices with a small-area game. It gets the kids’ legs and mind going right away and improves the quality of the rest of the practice because it warms them up and gets them focused. It has also greatly improved my team’s ability to make plays in small areas and generate offense. Most importantly, the kids have fun and can't wait for practice to start.

You can’t overstate the value and importance of cross-ice hockey at 8U. The skating, edge work, puck touches, body contact, learning to play in traffic with your head up and make plays in small areas – it’s terrific. And with cross-ice, every kid feels like they’re part of the game; It's not just the best skater having the puck the whole time and going end to end while the other players stand around.”

14-season NHL playing career, Team USA medalist, NCAA All-American and Hobey Baker Award finalist

“The program is absolutely fantastic. I know its implementation will take some time, but the principles behind the program are dead on.”

Calgary Flames president of hockey operations and the general manager for the 2010 U.S. Olympic Men’s Hockey Team.

“If you bring 100 elite hockey people in the United States into a room and say, 'Do you like the ADM?' Ninety-eight of them are going to say it's great. Anyone who really knows what's going on with the game of hockey right now wants the ADM.”

Quinnipiac University men’s hockey head coach, 2016 Division I Men's Hockey Coach of the Year, hockey dad

“The ADM has done what education in our country is hoping to do. USA Hockey has put forth a program that meets kids where they are and, with an abundance of research, challenges them to grow in an age-appropriate fashion. It's often said that 'people don't buy what you do, they buy why you do it.' USA Hockey has given our country and other countries a model for why age-appropriate development is the only way to truly grow. The body of a growing athlete can handle all you give them. Why not give them the greatest chance to develop in harmony with their brain and their body? The ADM is the most pure way to do it.”

U.S. Olympian, IIHF women's world champion, Harvard University alumna, prep school science instructor and varsity girls' hockey coach

"Skills and small-area play is the foundation of hockey now days. So it's a little bit different from how I was growing up, but USA Hockey is starting to really pay attention to the small areas and it's awesome."

Florida Panthers forward, former Hockey East All-Academic selection and NTDP standout

“At first, it was a dilemma for some parents, because it didn't look like the NHL, so they didn't consider it hockey. But they also didn't consider where the kids were going to be in five, 10 or 15 years. The ADM puts them in an environment that allows them to succeed, now and in the long term. Plus, the kids love it. We've been using it for years now and every team in our association has been a beneficiary of that decision.”

Stanley Cup champion, Northern Michigan University alumnus, youth hockey coach

“I’m really excited about the American Development Model. As a parent, I think what’s great about the the ADM is that it focuses on age-appropriate learning and provides kids an environment to reach their fullest potential.”

2009 Vezina Trophy winner, U.S. Olympian, University of Vermont alumnus

“I think the American Development Model will really make a difference in helping develop better hockey players and making the game more fun for kids.”

Minnesota Wild defenseman, U.S. Olympian, University of Wisconsin alumnus

“The American Development Model is fantastic and already paying dividends for USA Hockey and its players, parents and coaches. Age-appropriate training, increased repetitions, more puck touches and more opportunities to make plays in tight areas through small-area games that encourage competitiveness in practice and games all equal young athletes having more fun and staying with the game of hockey. Increasing the opportunity to learn, play and compete, while shifting the focus to development rather than just trying to win youth hockey games, will allow our sport to grow and flourish throughout the country.”

National Team Development Program head coach, longtime NCAA coach, former collegiate goaltender

"Above all, we will always put the kids first. As part of that commitment, we support USA Hockey’s American Development Model."


“The state of Minnesota has always had a great development model, period. Add in the ADM and we’ve just gotten even better. We’ve shown people that there is a purpose for proper development. It has the small-area games and the small groups that are so important to the overall development of a good hockey player. It’s a great teaching tool for coaches, too.”

Minnesota Duluth men's hockey coach, 2011 and 2018 NCAA national champion, former NHL defenseman, Hobey Baker Award finalist, two-time member of Team USA, hockey dad

“I've played on plenty of teams, in plenty of games, but where I really learned to play the game was during those hours upon hours when I was laughing and goofing around on the ice. When you're among friends in an environment that encourages you to try new moves or take risks, you don't worry about making mistakes. When you get that high number of reps and you're not self-conscious about screwing up, the difficult parts of the game become second nature, the flow of things seems natural and you discover on your own what you love about hockey.”

Calgary Flames forward, three-time NHL All-Star, 2015 NHL All-Rookie Team, 2013 U.S. National Junior Team gold medalist, 2014 Hobey Baker Award recipient, 2011 USHL Rookie of the Year 

“This effort is one of the best things to happen in USA Hockey in the last 25 years. While it will be a change of approach in some respects, it’s what is best for kids and that’s what we should keep in mind.”

Affiliate president of the Amateur Hockey Association of Illinois

“You have to be creative in small spaces. You have to move and be strong on the puck. From personal experience, growing up, we didn't work on the small ice as much and it was an area that I had to grow in.”

Minnesota Wild assistant coach, former NHL center and U.S. Olympian

“Although change is difficult in most settings and organizations, the USA Hockey initiatives provide an opportunity to all of us to see a larger vision and enhanced outcomes for all youth players in Minnesota and around the country.”


“The American Development Model has made a huge impact on our young athletes, and by staying committed to the ADM, we'll continue giving them the overall skill development they need.”

Buffalo Sabres head coach, 2013 gold-medal winning U.S. National Junior Team head coach, highest-scoring American defenseman in NHL history

“In a world where youth sports are under scrutiny because of specialization, politics, or parental issues, USA Hockey’s American Development Model is the solution. The age-specific and age-appropriate training keeps kids excited about coming to the rink, while also developing them and guiding them on a path to achieve their full potential. The bottom line is, the ADM has found a way to develop skills, commitment and athleticism, all the while making it fun and entertaining for the athletes. It’s a fantastic program.”

Clarkson University women’s hockey assistant coach, three-time U.S. Olympian, 2018 Olympic gold medalist, seven-time IIHF women’s world champion, 2011 Patty Kazmaier Award recipient

“We should always strive to do the right things for kids, and the American Development Model does that. I think as hockey has evolved in our country, coaches and parents have certainly tried to do the right thing in regard to development, but we haven’t had a national blueprint for associations to use – something that is based on solid research — until now. This is a major step forward and USA Hockey is to be commended for its leadership.”

2010 U.S. Olympic Men’s Hockey Team head coach, top-10 all-time winningest coach in NHL history

“One of the most important things USA Hockey has done is create an environment with the ADM where kids are excited to play. So, not only are we getting good athletes playing the game, but with the ADM, they enjoy playing. And they’re getting good coaching with the right skill development at the right ages, and that’s really how you help develop players and produce players. It’s exciting to see. And when you talk to people around hockey, the ADM comes up as one of the better things on the player-development landscape.”

New Jersey Devils head coach, 2011 AHL Coach of the Year, former USA Hockey National Team Development Program head coach

“The more we prioritize learning over winning in youth hockey, the better we get at developing talent and the more likely we are to win.”

Detroit Red Wings head coach, 2017 and 2018 U.S. Men's National Team head coach

“One of the great things I’ve noticed in USA Hockey’s ADM is that there are more reps because there are smaller-area games and more players are frequently touching pucks. We do a lot of small-area games during the course of our season.”

Boston College men’s hockey head coach, NCAA's winningest hockey coach

“Having coached now in two different states, New York and Connecticut, I think it's an absolutely perfect model. And the cross-ice hockey is fantastic for every single mite, whether it's a mature mite who can skate and shoot, almost like a squirt, or a beginner mite who might be smaller and has trouble getting up and down the ice.”

Former N.Y. Rangers captain, three-time U.S. Olympian, Boston University alumnus, hockey dad

“It's a great program USA Hockey has set up and it's really helped kids develop quicker and improve their skill level.”

Stanley Cup champion, University of Wisconsin All-American, head coach at Morristown-Beard School

“ADM research is quite strong; if it was medical research, I would change how I treat patients relative to it.”

Physician, hockey dad, hockey coach and former Rockford IceHogs team physician

“I'm a huge supporter of the ADM. The core of our skill-development philosophy is putting players in situations where they can work a lot of reps on specific skills. The best part of the ADM is seeing the results. We've seen vast improvement in the fundamental skills of our players.”

Merrimack College assistant women's hockey coach, youth hockey coach

“Having coached mite hockey for the last two years, I can unequivocally say that the best experience and most productive game development for my son, was a cross-ice 3 v. 3 tournament. We played four 23-minute running-time games with a buzzer every minute for shift changes. My son (7 years old) got 46 minutes of actual game time and many more puck touches then he does when we play full-ice hockey. In our regular league, we play three stop-time 12-minute periods, and many kids do not touch the puck, or even skate much for that matter, during a shift. Because of the transitory nature of cross-ice hockey, kids are forced to change direction, think about the game, and have opportunity to handle, pass and shoot the puck far more ... I would imagine that if we were to use the 50 minutes normally allotted for our regular-season games, and played cross-ice, that would equate to at least 25 minutes of game action. There is no way possible that my son sees even 15 minutes of game action using the full ice and playing 5 vs. 5. This is a no brainer when we consider the development of kids under age 10.”

Babson College head coach, hockey dad

“You put a young child on a full-length golf course and have them play from the blues when they're 7 years old and a lot of those kids probably wouldn't want to continue playing the game. Why would you do it in hockey, when you could do a cross-ice game instead? The kids will get more touches of the puck and the goalkeepers will be more active and make more saves. In a cross-ice game, they're going to see much more action.”

Ferris State University men's hockey head coach, two-time NCAA coach of the year, hockey dad

"I like that the ADM encourages kids to play other sports, too. Hockey is a great sport, but playing other sports definitely helps you become a better hockey player."

Minnesota Wild forward, U.S. Olympian, University of North Dakota alumnus

“The ADM is a game-changer. Anyone who isn't using it, even through the college and pro ranks, is missing out on a great development tool.”

Youth hockey coach, former NHL center with Phoenix, Minnesota and Toronto, University of Minnesota MVP and medalist with Team USA

“It should be cross-ice games. Ten mites playing on a full sheet is like adults playing hockey on a football field. It wouldn't be much fun skating a hundred yards.”

University of Minnesota men's hockey coach, 2002 and 2003 NCAA national champion, hockey dad

“What I've learned in station-based sessions has been a difference-maker in my game. I didn't understand it until I saw the difference, but now that I've seen it, I understand. It's all about the right form and repetition. Players might not see the results overnight, but it's the week-to-week consistency of it, the accumulation of those repetitions that pay dividends in the long term.”

Three-time U.S. Olympian, Olympic and IIHF Women's World Championship gold medalist, Merrimack College assistant women's hockey coach

“When you put an advanced mite on a full ice sheet, you’re handing them time and space. They don’t have to stickhandle for it, they don’t have to pass for it, they don’t have to create it and they don’t have to earn it. It’s just handed to them on a silver platter in full-ice hockey. That’s not good for their development.”

New York youth hockey coach and hockey dad