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April President's Letter: Fall Season Summary and Plans for the Future

By Admirals, 04/05/17, 9:00AM CDT



I want to thank all of our families, friends and players for making the Admirals Hockey Club a great place to learn, play and enjoy the game of hockey.  Next year will be our 10th Anniversary as a hockey club, and as someone who has been here since the beginning, I truly appreciate how everything we accomplish and become is a community effort.

The 2016-2017 Fall Season was one for the books. Our teams experienced success at nearly every level, and you can review an impressive list of team accomplishments here. Of particular note, Bantam AA pulled off the impressive double of a President’s Cup and a Wolves Cup, the U19 Girls were finalists in the state hockey tournament, and Bantam Red rode home with the Championship in their NWHL division. Our lines will soon sport more laundry than a farmhouse after the first week of harvest once all of our tournament banners hit the rafters. While these victories are not the only, or even most important, metric of our success as a club they each represent a game, weekend or season when our coaches and players brought their best to the table and came away with a great hockey memory. A couple of our coaches took home some individual accolades this season as well, with Chad Green being named the AHAI Youth Hockey Coach of the Year, Pete Powers being named the Blackhawks Youth Coach of the Month, and Chris Gonzalez being named NWHL Coach of the Year.

We appreciate the great participation we got this season with our members survey. This feedback is important to us as we try to make this the club in which each of you would choose to invest your time, effort, and money. While we thank you all for so many positive comments about our people and programs, I want to take a moment here to reflect on two specific areas identified for improvement and what we plan to do to address them.

There were comments in the survey about our communications and how difficult it can be at times to get information and answers to concerns/questions. The club has doubled in size over the last 5 years and this is one area we have not gotten completely right in reckoning with our rapid growth. In hopes of addressing this issue in the coming season we are committing to the following changes:

1. Recruitment of a Director of Communications/Marketing as a new Board position. If you are interested in applying for this role, see the description and application link below.
2. Resurrection of an Admirals newsletter
3. Establishment of office hours when a board member or other responsible party will be available in the office to meet with members and answer questions that arise in our course of business
4. Maintenance of an FAQ page on the Admirals website
5. Looking at other website improvements to put important announcements and information closer to our users
6. Exploration of new/existing member orientation program at the beginning of the Fall season

Fluency in our Program and Approach
The American Development Model (ADM) is essential to our DNA and our approach to hockey development. We are quite proud of our status as one of a select handful of ADM Model Associations in the country and the only one in Illinois. However, it is clear from some of the comments in our survey that we have not done enough to explain how this approach effects everything we do from the structure of our practices, to the formation of our teams and our use of ice.  We have also not done enough to make sure that everyone you would go to for answers on these topics is fully equipped to inform. I think of this issue as a lack of organizational fluency in our program and approach. I am not saying every member of the club needs to be an expert in the ADM but to the extent you want to understand we should provide you the tools to do that. In hopes of addressing this issue in the coming season we are committing to the following changes:

1. On a periodic basis throughout the season, skill practices will include a coach in the stands and a wired coach on the ice to explain the skill-development specifics of the practice plan and to answer questions
2. Coordination with USA Hockey on parent education and special events related to the ADM (including articles in our newsletter and more publicity around the links already on our website)
3. Orientation as mentioned in “Communication” section above

We believe these changes will help to address the communication and fluency issues identified in the member survey but we are open to other suggestions or ideas so please send them along.

This last season has also seen a number of personnel and leadership changes that I wanted to bring to your attention. After six successful years with the Admirals Hockey Club, Matt Noga will be leaving to pursue other opportunities in hockey and to continue the development of his Handler skill development program. I would like to personally thank Matt for his time with the Admirals and wish him the very best in his future endeavors, something you each can do as well as he continues to be a presence around Center Ice. The boardroom has also seen some changes as terms have expired and some new members have joined. The current board is listed in the About Us section on the website.

I am excited for what the future holds for the Admirals Hockey Club. As we enter our 10th Anniversary season, I believe we have the foundation in place to continue moving our club forward in our commitment to developing hockey players and great young people. It will be a special season as we look back on our history and look forward to our future. We will commemorate and celebrate with a number of events and things next season and I look forward to the “reveal.”

If you are skating with us in the Spring, I wish you all another successful season of development in hockey. And if you are not, I wish you the same in all of the other sports we play when we don’t live at the rink. I hope you all have a safe and happy off-season and hope you will each trust us to be your hockey club next season -- a choice that the board, our staff, and I will never take for granted.

Best regards,
Jon Grant