The USA Hockey mission statement for its Youth and Girls’ Programs is as follows: To provide an innovative grassroots foundation for the growth and development of USA Hockey, designing programs aimed at increased participation, improved skills and a responsible environment for the conduct of youth hockey.
The American Development Model (ADM), which includes programs at all levels, is the basis for youth hockey in the United States. It provides:
- A safe and healthy environment for all.
- An opportunity for all new players who wish to play hockey.
- Fair and equal opportunity for all to participate in our sport.
- An opportunity to learn the basic skills without an over-emphasis on winning.
- A philosophy which attempts to reduce the number who become disenchanted.
- An opportunity for those who wish to advance in a more competitive environment to do so.
- Qualified adult leadership.
USA Hockey recommends:
- Scoring records should be de-emphasized at the age of 11 & under.
- Awards should be inexpensive and based on significant achievement. The most gratifying award any player can receive is the joy that comes from skill development that contributes to team success.
- The recruitment of players on a widespread geographic basis for the establishment of youth division “travel teams” (beginning at 14U) may be pursued under the guidelines established by USA Hockey.
- It is recommended that adult volunteers place a primary emphasis on the formal education of players and a de-emphasis on excessive competition and a win-at-all-costs attitude in the youth age classifications.
- Sportsmanship at all times should be emphasized.