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Local Youth Hockey Players to Test AHL “Skills”
Providence, RI (2/3/2015): In the first event of its kind ever held in Rhode Island, the American Hockey League’s “Skills Test” will be presented to a local youth hockey organization.
Organized by the Rhode Island Reds Heritage Society, 34 youth hockey players representing the Warwick Junior Hockey Association (WJHA) will be able to test the AHL’s comprehensive skills challenge on the outdoor skating rink at the Alex & Ani City Center in downtown Providence on Sunday, February 22, from 7 to 10 a.m.
The skills test was generously provided by the AHL to the Reds society in both video and diagram formats. According to the AHL only one other group (from Connecticut) has ever requested the league’s model. The Alex & Ani City Center has donated the ice time.
“Our objective is to introduce to young hockey players the required series of skills expected at the pro hockey level,” said Buster Clegg, president of the 700-member Reds historical organization. “In a highly competitive format, we hope kids will recognize their strengths and their weaknesses so they can improve their performances in order to reach their next level of competition. We thank both the AHL and the Alex and Ani City Center for their kind contributions to this premiere event.”
Chris Orton, president of the 600 player-member WJHA, said age groups will be segmented by USA Hockey’s standards: Peewees (ages 11and 12) and Bantams (13 and 14). WJHA plans to ice 15 Peewees and 15 Bantams and split them into equal teams. Drills will consist of skating, passing and shooting. There will be no scrimmaging. Four goaltenders will rotate to handle shots.
The competitive concept agreed to by Clegg and Orton means that players will compete against the clock and all other players on the ice. “This is designed to be a fun event and instructive for the future,” the two agreed.
On the ice with each group will be USA Hockey certified coaches from WJHA who will run the drills along with the assistance of ex-Reds players Bobby Leduc and Serge Boudreault. The two teams will be designated as Team Leduc and Team Boudreault. The Reds also hope to have ex-goaltender Ross Brooks on hand to work with the goalies.
Each participating player completing the AHL test will receive a copy of the Emmy Award winning DVD “When the Reds Ruled the Roost” and an opportunity to have Leduc, Boudreault and Brooks autograph photos.
The non-profit Rhode Island Reds Heritage Society was formed in 2000 by seven founders and has grown to over 700 members in 2015. Its initial stated mission was to restore and preserve the 51-year history of the Reds in pro hockey from 1926-1977. Today it is reaching out to all levels of hockey – youth programs, high school and college – to demonstrate that the old R. I. Reds club represents the genesis of hockey interest here in Rhode Island.
WJHA is a non-profit volunteer based youth hockey organization based out of Thayer Arena in Warwick. The association has been teaching children how to play the sport of ice hockey for more than 50 years. WJHA is currently the largest youth hockey program in the state of Rhode Island, providing learn to skate, learn to play, house league and travel programs to over 600 children between the ages of 3 and 18.
For further information call 401-270-0035 or e-mail UNH1959@aol.com.