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Letter from AHAI President

1/25/21
 
Dear Members,
 
Although we have not been cleared to play, I truly believe it will happen very soon. Unlike the past, positive changes are occurring daily if not hourly. It would appear that sanctioned play in February is not a stretch.
 
AHAI is in contact with the IDPH to confirm the IDPH interpretation of the updated guidance regarding game and Tournament play within Illinois for High-Risk sports.
 
Until we are cleared by the State of Illinois however, per USA Hockey, we must abide by the Governor's mandate.
 
With that being said, AHAI is working with the Illinois leagues and clubs to send representative teams to USAH Nationals. We have received a great deal of cooperation from USA Hockey to make adjustments to get our players to district and nationals. 
 
If sanctioned games are cleared to be played, I believe it will assist in this goal. If we are not cleared or not cleared soon enough, AHAI is working with the leagues and clubs, and with the guidance of USA Hockey to ensure our players have the opportunity to have sanctioned games and participate in USAH events. 
 
We will update you immediately as the situation changes.
 
Kevin Bolger
AHAI President


ILLINOIS STATE HOCKEY TOURNAMENTS CANCELLED AT ALL LEVELS

AHAI announced today the cancellation of the 2021 Illinois state championship hockey tournaments across all levels and divisions because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The AHAI Board of Directors voted to approve the cancellation at its meeting on Jan. 18.  

The decision was made in accordance with USA Hockey’s mandate to affiliates to follow state and local health guidelines. Illinois’ COVID-19 mitigation restrictions currently do not allow the state tournaments to be held. 

“The health and safety of our players, parents, coaches, officials, administrators, and volunteers remains our top priority, and following state guidelines is not optional – it is required by USA Hockey,” said AHAI President Kevin Bolger.

“We understand that this decision is disappointing to our competitive players and teams, but we look forward to safely resuming the state tournament championships in 2022,” Mr. Bolger added.

Because of the extensive planning, ice rink commitments, and other logistics that are required to stage the multi-level state tournament, it would be impractical to reverse the decision even if the pandemic situation and guidelines were to improve at some point in the future. The state tournaments were scheduled to begin next month and extend to early March. 

AHAI is analyzing and exploring options for qualified Illinois teams to participate in USA Hockey Central District playoffs and national championships, if available, but there is no assurance at this time that such opportunities will exist. 


Blackhawk Alumni Association Scholarship Application Available

The Chicago Blackhawk Alumni Association (CBAA) distributes college scholarships annually to the three most deserving high school hockey players. Awards are determined from a candidate's level of community service, volunteerism, good citizenship, academic performance as well as the hockey talent of the individual. Recipients will receive an annual $7,500.00 scholarship over four years for a total of $30,000.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic the timeline has changed; for 2021, scholarship applications are available for download beginning January 15 on the Blackhawk Alumni website. Fully completed applications including letter of recommendations, original transcripts, and scholar essays are due no later than March 15, 2021. Once all the forms are gathered, a selection committee from the Blackhawk Alumni Association (CBAA) will review all candidates and then select the three recipients.

We encourage all senior high school players to take the time to submit their applications. We also encourage all coaches, managers, and team/league presidents to promote and support this effort.

Please take a minute to visit the  Blackhawk Alumni website to read more about the scholarship, view a list of past recipients and to download the application. If you have any questions regarding the scholarship, please direct them to Tom Dillon at tom.dillon@amwins.com.


2021 AHAI Coach of the Year Nomination Process Now Open!

AHAI recognizes that Illinois Hockey is comprised not only of incredible players, but also of dedicated and talented High School, Youth, Girls and Disabled Hockey coaches who guide our teams both on and off the ice.

This season has proven especially challenging and the role of the coach even more important than ever. Candidates for AHAI's Coach of the Year Awards should embody good sportsmanship and respect toward teams, parents and officials while providing a positive experience for their players. Candidates should also teach positive life skills while demonstrating dedication, passion, and commitment to community.

Regardless of whether teams played a game or just practiced this season, we know there are many coaches that have gone above and beyond to provide a positive environment for development, both on and off the ice. Deadline to nominate is Friday, February 5, 2021.


Attention Coaches: Important Coaching Education Program (CEP) Update

USA Hockey has approved extending CEP education until January 31, 2021. January clinics will be posted shortly on the USA Hockey website for any coach that wishes to complete their CEP requirements. As before, coaches that have temporary cards for this season will still need to complete the in-person clinic next season or a virtual clinic in January to move to the next certification level.

If you received a temporary card this season and want to receive your next level certification in January, you will not be charged for the virtual class. Attending a virtual clinic in January will allow you to advance in certification levels again during the 2021-22 season rather than stay at your current temporary card certification level.

For example, if you received a Level 2 temporary card this season and did not attend a virtual CEP clinic, you will need to attend a Level 3 CEP clinic next season. However, if you received a Level 2 temporary card this season and do attend a virtual Level 3 this season, you will be able to attend a Level 4 clinic next season. Please contact AHAI Coach-In-Chief, Jim Clare at coach@ahai2.org with any questions.

AHAI Will Host 3 CEP Clinics in January

Virtual Level 3

January 12 & January 14

6:30 pm to 9:30 pm

Virtual Level 1

January 19 & January 21

6:30 pm to 9:30 pm

Virtual Level 3

January 26 & January 28

6:30 pm to 9:30 pm

 

Clinics will be posted this week. Sign up early as they fill up fast! USA Hockey is also hosting many Virtual CEP Clinics at all levels. Click here to view current CEP Clinic schedule and to register!


IHHOF Induction Dinner

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we will not be holding an induction ceremony this year. We will be inducting this 16th class into the Illinois Hockey Hall of Fame on Sunday, January 30, 2022 at the Belvedere Banquet Hall in Elk Grove Village beginning at 5:00 pm. More information will follow when we get closer to the event. 


Illinois Hockey Hall of Fame Announces 16th Class of Inductees!

The Illinois Hockey Hall of Fame announces the 16th class of inductees into its Hall of Fame. The honored inductees this year are:

 

PLAYERS CATEGORY
Kendall Coyne-Schofield
Grant Mulvey

COACHES CATEGORY
Bob Graham
Michael Svac

BUILDERS CATEGORY
Paul Jakubowski
Jim McKeague
JJ O'Connor

REFEREE CATEGORY
Larry Swakon
D. Ray Tucker

Illinois hockey has a very long and rich hockey history, due in large part, to the foundation laid down by these inductees. Their tireless dedication in making sure every individual who had a desire to participate in this great sport has had the opportunity to do so.

Depending on the situation involving the COVID-19 pandemic, we are tentatively planning that the IHHF Induction Dinner will be held in their honour on Sunday, January 31, 2021, at the Belvedere Banquet Hall located at 1170 West Devon Avenue in Elk Grove Village beginning at 5:00 pm. We will be making a final decision on whether or not the induction ceremonies will be held on January 31, 2021 by December 1, 2020. (If the Induction Ceremonies can not be held this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we will be inducting this 16th class into the Illinois Hockey Hall of Fame on Sunday, January 30, 2022 - we will let everyone know by December 1, 2020).

Tickets are available after December 1st by contacting Norm Spiegel at 847/269-2922 or e-mail Norm at jacole@comcast.net.

Joining in honoring this special group of inductees will be several of the past inductees into the Hall of Fame. This year's inductees, and all of the past inductees have demonstrated, through their actions over the years, their personal commitment in making a difference in the lives of thousands of Illinois youth and the Illinois hockey community.

The mission statement of the Illinois Hockey Hall of Fame is as follows:

"To honor the excellence of those individuals who, through their exceptional endeavors both on and off the ice, have contributed in an extraordinary way to enhance the sport and image of hockey in Illinois."

On behalf of everyone involved in the game of hockey, we admire and thank each of the inductees into the Illinois Hockey Hall of Fame class of 2020. They truly are in a class of their own.


KEVIN BOLGER TO TAKE HELM AS AHAI PRESIDENT

We are pleased to announce that Kevin Bolger will serve as President of the Amateur Hockey Association of Illinois, Inc. Kevin's vast experience in the Illinois hockey community will serve our membership well during these unique and trying times.
 
Kevin began coaching in the House League at Winnetka 27 years ago. He progressed through the Winnetka Program serving on the Board of Directors as Wishbone Tournament Director, Director of Development, Legal Consultant, Director of Personnel, Coaches Selection Committee, All Star Committee, Vice President and President. 
 
From 2004 to 2011 he served on the Loyola Academy Hockey Board holding positions as Registrar, Chairman of R&E, Coaches Selections Committee and Secretary. In 2003 Kevin was appointed to the AHAI Board of Directors to fill the vacancy of Sarah Teuting. 
 
Prior to taking the helm as President, Kevin most recently served AHAI as Vice President of Hockey Operations and Chairman of the Suspension & Review Committee. Kevin has also served on the Tier II, Showcase, Screening and Appeals Committees. 
 
Additionally, Kevin's experience as a Criminal Defense Attorney, former Cook County Assistant State's Attorney and Chicago Police Officer provides him with the broad experience necessary to fulfill the role of AHAI President and achieve the goals of Illinois Hockey. 
 
Kevin was inducted into the Illinois Hockey Hall of Fame in 2018 for his myriad contributions and exceptional dedication to hockey in Illinois.
 
"There are many ways we can improve this great game and grow our sport in the coming years. I look forward to serving the Illinois hockey community and representing your interests in the State of Illinois." - Kevin Bolger, AHAI President



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