by Barclay Kruse
An unprecedented gathering of Minnesota’s hockey leaders will head a one-day conference with a mission to share with coaches from Mites on up what it takes to motivate players as the game enjoys its greatest popularity from the grass-roots to the NHL.
Under the direction of the Herb Brooks Foundation and Sanford Orthopedics and Sports Medicine, the conference also comes as hockey’s leaders tackle how to make the sport as safe for its players as possible, teach athletes to respect the game and their opponents, and yet develop them on and off the ice to succeed close to home, across the country and around the world.
“We want hockey coaches of all levels to hear the impact that strong leadership can have on this wonderful game,” said John McClellan, executive director of the Herb Brooks Foundation. “These workshops won’t change the game, but they will change how coaches incorporate leadership into their programs.”
Minnesota Wild head coach Mike Yeo heads the list of coaches scheduled to lead these discussions, held in small breakout sessions. Participants will learn from Yeo how he gets the most out of some of the world’s best players and identifies the right men on his roster to help him lead.
Joining Yeo from the coaching ranks will be those who stand behind the bench for the state’s five Division I programs in men’s hockey: Minnesota, Minnesota Duluth, St. Cloud State, Bemidji State and Minnesota State Mankato.
“By tapping the best of the best, we hope hockey coaches of all levels can learn what it means to be an effective leader,” McClellan said.
The Herb Brooks Foundation will also include in this conference two strong figures in hockey: Ken Martel of USA Hockey and Ross Bernstein, who has written dozens of books about athletics and leadership.
Martel heads USA Hockey’s American development model, a program that promotes the skill development of American players at all ages and abilities without over-emphasizing travel and playing games.
Bernstein is on the Herb Brooks Foundation board and regularly addresses business groups on how to think and act like a champion.
Beyond issues surrounding leadership, conference attendees also will participate in workshops about injury prevention presented by Dr. Mark Carlson from Sanford Orthopedics, shifts in rules enforcement by Eric Olson of Minnesota Hockey and closing remarks by Dan Brooks, son of 1980 Team USA “Miracle” Coach Herb Brooks.
About the Herb Brooks Foundation
The Herb Brooks Foundation mission is to memorialize the miracle, create and operate the most innovative hockey skill development and training facility in the USA (Herb Brooks Training Center), located at the National Sports Center, create and operate the best educational leadership training program for hockey players, coaches and officials as well as create and operate a learning environment that gives the game back to the kids. For more information on how to sign-up for the Sept. 15 HBF Leadership Conference go to www.herbbrooksfoundation.com or call 612-919-9666.
Barclay Kruse is chief communications officer for the National Sports Center