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AHAI Annual Meeting & Leadership Conference Recap

By Jim Clare, 06/14/23, 9:00PM CDT


The 2023 AHAI Affiliate Leadership Conference (AALC) was held on Saturday June 3.

The Leadership Conference is designed to assist the AHAI Affiliate clubs in the organization and administration of their affiliates. The meeting was attended by Affiliate Presidents, Hockey Directors, Board Members and staff. A variety of topics and speakers were presented to the attendees in interactive breakout sessions.  The breakout sessions included:

  • High School
  • Growing the Game
  • Officiating
  • USAH Safe Sport update
  • AHAI Suspension information
  • USAH update
  • Chicago Blackhawks youth hockey update
  • AHAI processes and procedures

Jim Clare, AHAI VP of membership opened the meeting and introduced the day’s schedule and gave a brief overview of the Leadership Conference information. Jim was followed by Kevin Bolger, AHAI President, who welcomed membership and presented the follow AHAI Awards:

AHAI Lifetime Achievement Award

  • Mike Mullally

AHAI Service Award (service above and beyond benefiting the AHAI Membership.

  • Jim Arhontas (league president/ master ice scheduler)
  • Jen Davidson Champaign Urbana HS and Youth.
  • Alex Alessi Niles Rangers HD

AHAI New Leader Award (a volunteer who is leading by example at the Affiliate club level.)

  • Michelle and Wayne Millard (Special Hockey)

AHAI Volunteer of the Year Award (service above and beyond benefiting the AHAI Membership or Affiliate)

  • Jim Clare

AHAI Girls Program Award

  • St Jude Girls

AHAI Annual Award Winners

  • AHAI Service Award Winner, Alex Alessi
  • AHAI Volunteer of the Year Award Winner, Jim Clare
  • AHAI New Leader Award Winner, Wayne & Michelle Millard
  • AHAI Lifetime Achievement Winner, Mike Mullally
  • AHAI Girls Program Award Winner, St. Jude Hockey Club

Following the award presentation, Dan Jablonic from USA Hockey Player Development updated the attendees on USA Hockey's direction, where they can assist, and how Dan himself is available to member clubs to visit, help on-ice, speak with coaches, amongst other things.

The Blackhawks Andrea Hahn, VP of Youth Hockey, was gracious enough to attend and speak to what the Blackhawks are doing to hlp grow the game with Little Hawks and other programs. Ben Ostler, Blackhawks Youth Hockey walked participants through all the programs the Blackhawks offer for youth hockey teams including on-ice opportunities pre-game, during intermission, etc.

From there we rolled into the breakout rooms for more intimate discussions around each topic. The 5 breakouts were High School Hockey, Grow The Game, Officiating, Rules and Ethics, and AHAI Processes and Procedures. The discussions in each breakout were very interactive and drove some exciting conversation and ideas. The AHAI Process breakout was designed to help the attendees better understand AHAI’s role within USA Hockey, what we do on a daily basis, and what areas we do not control. Hopefully all the breakouts were informative.

Additionally we had Anita Lichterman, Our Safety and Equipment Coordinator, present some valuable information on player safety, equipment, and concussions.

The AHAI Board of directors meeting was also held in conjunction with the Leadership Conference.

An Election for the five AHAI board of Directors Positions was held. The following candidates were nominated by the AHAI Membership to serve 3-year terms on the AHAI Board of Directors. 6 people running for 5 positions.

  • Kevin Bolger
  • Justin Lewandowski
  • Ken Michel
  • Spencer Montgomery
  • Chris Naveja
  • Melissa Surrette

The following candidates were elected to serve 3-year terms on the AHAI Board of Directors:

  • Kevin Bolger
  • Justin Lewandowski
  • Spencer Montgomery
  • Chris Naveja
  • Melissa Surrette

The 2023/24 AHAI Board of Directors voted the following Directors for 1-year terms as AHAI Board Officers positions

  • Kevin Bolger: President
  • Keri Zschach: Vice president Operations
  • Jim Clare: Vice President of Membership
  • Chuck Smith: Vice president of Administration/ Secretary
  • Greg Chudacoff: Vice president of Conduct
  • Bill Crowley: Vice President of Finance and AHAI Treasurer