2022-23 Season Wrap-Up!
Over 700 AHA players from our learn to skate and learn to play programs through our high school and Warrior Cup adult teams participated in hundreds of games and thousands of hours of practices and skills sessions. Our teams were successful, winning local and out-of-state tournaments, beating club teams, and capturing championships. We partnered with some of the best skills providers in the business. We strengthened our relationships with the Andover High School and Phillips Academy hockey teams. We added new programs this season, including our hugely successful Rec Hockey offering as well as our Girls’ Select and Full Ice Mites supplemental teams. We partnered with the NHL and the Boston Bruins to run two sessions of Learn to Play, providing hundreds of kids with their first opportunity to fall in love with the greatest sport in the world. We hosted two major tournaments – the annual Heseltine Mite Tournament Thanksgiving weekend and the Massachusetts Hockey Girls’ State Tournament last month. Finally, many of our AHA teams were active in the community, serving local charities and neighbors in need.
Plans are already well underway to make the 2023-24 AHA season even better. As previously announced, we are working on a supplemental “games only” pilot program for the squirt, pee wee, and bantam age groups. We plan to enhance offerings for all our players, including adding skills clinics in areas such as power skating and defensive tactics. We are also working hard to improve and grow offerings for our girls and our goalies.
Off the ice, we are in the planning stages of a new initiative focusing on the health, safety, and welfare of our members – topics such as AED/CPR training for coaches, injury protection and prevention, and general information designed to aid the physical and mental health of all our members are planned. We are going to partner with Andover Recreation for a summer street hockey league (stay tuned for details!). We will continue to expand our involvement in the community, including our partnership with the Boston Ice Storm Sled Hockey team. And on the topic of community and charity, I am proud to announce that AHA will be a sponsor for both the Step Up for Colleen 5K and Andona’s Clown Town this spring. (Yes, I will participate in the 5K. No, I will not ride the Zipper or Round Up.)
My goal for the off season as president will be to continue moving AHA in what is hopefully the right direction in terms of our on-ice product and off-ice management, with a specific focus on our fundraising and community engagement endeavors. I plan to continue networking with other youth hockey programs to see what they are doing right (hello, Winchester) as well as coordinating with other sports and recreational organizations in town.
AHA is a large community based, volunteer run, not for profit organization. To that end, we are always looking for committed, passionate, and talented volunteers to help. We will have several spots opening on the Board this summer. Every team needs a manager and several assistant coaches. And all of our events, especially tournaments and placements, require lots of helping hands. Even if you’ve never set foot on the ice, please consider getting involved and helping your youth hockey organization.
In closing, please note I will not personally be involved in the player evaluation and team formation process, but I will always be available to speak with new or prospective members about any questions, concerns, suggestions, or even compliments(!) you may have about AHA. I hope to see you at the fields or around town this spring. Thank you for your support of AHA.