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2014-2015 AVHA Player Development Strategy

By Chris Slater, 07/28/14, 7:15PM CDT


AVHA is pleased to announce our new Hockey Developement Committee (HDC) for 2014-2015.

2014-15 AVHA Player Development Strategy

AVHA is pleased to announce our new Hockey Development Committee (HDC) for 2014-15. AVHA will employ a centralized approach to player development with major strategies and decisions made at the Hockey Development Committee (HDC) level. The HDC communicates its strategies to the Player Development Coordinators (PDCS), who act as conduits to their level and resources for the coaches at the level.

The HDC is comprised of experienced hockey people. The primary goal of the HDC is to ensure proper and consistent training and development of Apple Valley hockey players.

Specific responsibilities of the HDC include:

-Responsible for determining AVHA’s direction with regard to hockey training and development; what players need to learn, and when and how they need to learn it. In effect, this group determines our hockey curriculum.


-Formalize/recommend proposals to AVHA Board of Directors (BOD) regarding financial expenditures related to hockey development as well as policy member-policy recommendations related to hockey development. 


-Make recommendations to AVHA BOD about levels of play which our teams compete and team size.

-Select and oversee Player Development Coordinators (PDC). The PDC role is explained later in this document. HDC will manage PDCs, collecting reports and conducting evaluations of them. PDCs report to the HDC, not to the AVHA BOD.

-Coordinate an organized, professional and unbiased  tryout process for all levels, utilizing tryout evaluators (non- parent with hockey experience) and PDCs. Ensure AVHA is evaluating players properly and consistently.

-Conduct parent discussions related to development and team placement.

-Conduct HDC meetings. These meetings will be monthly and scheduled in advance and posted to the AVHA web site. Those involved from a participation standpoint would be the HDC and PDCs. Board members can attend but are asked to provide advanced-notice if they have specific topics of discussion. AVHA members cannot attend without pre-approval. The open microphone time at the Board meeting is the time for this. .

-Conduct pre-season coaches meeting as well as provide ongoing coach training (along with PDCs), and a level-appropriate scope and sequence for each coach.


Hockey Development Committee Members:

The following is a list of those people who will make up the 2014-15 HDC.

Director, HDC – Chris Sikich. Chris is entering his 2nd year as the Head Boys Hockey coach at AVHS after serving as an assistant coach for 12 seasons. He played his youth hockey in Apple Valley and was a captain on the 1996 Apple Valley high school team that won the state tournament. His post-high school playing experience included a season with Fargo in the USHL as well as a four-year career at the University of Alaska, Anchorage.

Director, HDC – Chris Slater -  AVHA Board Member (Director) for HDC.

Associate Director, HDC – Matt Lundin. Matt played youth and high school hockey in Apple Valley, graduating in 2004 when he was an All-State goaltender. Matt’s post-high school playing experience includes one year with Sioux Falls in the USHL as well as playing at the University of Maine and Mercyhurst University. Matt also spent 3 seasons playing professional hockey. Matt’s instructional experience also includes working as a professional trainer at First Athlete, Total Hockey MN and Pro Hybrid Goaltending, as well as an assistant coach with the AVHS boys team.

Associate Director, HDC – Michelle Gustafson. Michelle played youth and high school hockey in Apple Valley, graduating in 1998. She lead the Eagles to the first-ever women’s state championship in 1995 as well as the 1998 title when she was also a finalist for the Minnesota Ms. Hockey Award, presented to the best women’s player in the state. She played collegiately at the University of Wisconsin. Michelle is also a coach with the AVHS women’s team.

AVHA Board Liaison-Boys Hockey – Eric Martinson.

AVHA Board Liaison-Girls Hockey – Derrick Lindstrom. 


Level Player Development Coordinators (PDCS)This position is appointed by and reports to HDC. PDC is responsible for the hands-on implementation of HDC strategies at their specific level. In effect, they will ensure proper hockey training at their designated group. This direction will be decided by the HDC and rolled out to coaches by level PDCs. PDCs will have input into the development process but will implement the HDC’s development strategies. Coaches will implement the scope and sequence developed by the HDC. Level PDCs will maintain activity and reporting level as required by the HDC in order to receive compensation. This will be written into contracts.

Coaches Committee: The Coaches Committee will be assigned by HDC. Coaches Committee interviews, researches and recommends coaching candidates to AVHA Board for approval. If a member of the Coaches Committee is a coaching candidate, he or she will be removed from the selection process at that level. This process should be seamless with an HDC Director as a co-chair on this committee.

Current Coaches Committee Members:  Chris Sikich (co-chair), Eric Martinson (co-chair and AVHA BOD Member), Matt Lundin, Michelle Gustafson, Jay Syverson (AVHA BOD President) and Randy Olson (AVHA BOD Member).

Tryout Process: Level PDCs will maintain operational control of the tryout process at their level, subject to HDC approval. They will assemble a committee of unbiased non-parents to evaluate players in the tryout. If a PDC is a parent of a player at their level, the HDDs will arrange for a suitable replacement for the tryout process. HDCs will not necessarily be directly involved with team selection, but can be when appropriate. Please refer to specific tryout tab for further information on tryout philosophy, process and team selection. Tryouts will be as consistent as possible throughout AVHA – realizing age will limit this somewhat (i.e. Squirts would not be graded on body checking).

In summary, we look forward to this group leading our hockey development efforts and keeping our membership well-informed about the steps we are taking to ensure our teams are competitive.

AVHA members can expect to see subsequent announcements related to player development, including the naming of our 2014-15 PDCs and the launch of our new “Development” tab on our web site. We will use this tab to educate members about various aspects of our player development. Included will be further information about our development Scope and Sequence, coaching information, PDC detail and tryout details (philosophy, process, etc.) .

We look forward to a great season!

Chris Slater

Co-Director, HDC