Family is important to any person, but it’s a common theme amongst the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame inductees.
Bill Guerin and Doug Weight have remained close friends in retirement, and both stated their respective families are close as well.
For Peter Karmanos, he helped found the Compuware AAA Midget team in part due to his son.
Two of Ron Mason’s grandsons are also involved in the game. Travis Walsh is a sophomore defenseman at Michigan State, the school at which Mason spent the majority of his legendary career. His other grandson, Tyler, is the video coordinator at Canisius College.
“I don’t know if there’s anything I enjoy more than coming up to watch him play,” Mason said. “They’re both following in dad’s and granddad’s footsteps getting involved in college hockey.”
Karmanos founded the Compuware Hockey Program in the 1970s with the goal of providing a local program to help players reach the height of their potential.
The program has found success over the years, so much that it’s something Weight remembers about his youth hockey experiences.
“Compuware used to thump us all the time,” he said with a chuckle, noting he played for his father’s team.
Cindy Curley reminisced on the days when she was younger playing in cold rinks with here brothers, who were instrumental in her growth as a player.
“They always found time for me to play on teams, even though I was the worst one,” she said. “It’s just great to get them all here. Anyone who knows about hockey knows about the sacrifices.”
But the most notable ties came between Guerin and Weight. Both noted how special it was to be inducted in the same class as someone they played many years with.
“It couldn’t have worked out any better and didn’t work out any better,” Guerin said. “Dougy is not only the ultimate teammate but the ultimate friend. He’s always got your back.”
Added Weight: “He’s a great friend of mine, he’s a great guy. We love to have fun, but he’s very dedicated and I love every time I played with him. So this is sort of icing on the cake.”
The way they act around each other is almost brotherly. While Weight was partaking in his media session, Guerin entered the room and shouted, “Are you done yet? Unless you’re talking about me, hurry up.”
While the people crowded in the room laughed, Weight smiled and looked at the gathered reporters.
“He has really big eyes, doesn’t he?” he quipped.
Sept. 1, 2015 | More than 40,000 spectators, plus a national television audience, watched the Little League World Series this past Sunday on a glorious afternoon in Pennsylvania. There were smiles, cheers, entertainment and the noticeable absence of demand for those 12- and 13-year-olds to pitch from 60 feet, six inches or run 90 feet between the bases like their professional baseball heroes.
Right-sized baseball and softball fields, along with age-appropriate rule modifications, have been accepted wisdom in youth baseball for more than 50 years.
Coincidentally, while Little League was paring to its finalists, U.S. Soccer announced a nationwide initiative to improve youth skill development. The centerpiece was a shift to small-sided game formats and field sizes to be phased in across the country by August 2017. As part of the new plan, American soccer at U6, U7 and U8 will be played 4v4 on a pitch approximately one-eighth the size of an adult soccer field. Nine- and 10-year-olds will play 7v7 on a one-quarter-scale pitch. Not until age 13 will players begin competing 11v11 on a regulation adult-sized pitch.
“Our number one goal is to improve our players down the road, and these initiatives will help us do that,” said Tab Ramos, U.S. Soccer’s youth technical director. “In general, we would like for players to be able to process information faster, and when they are in this (new) environment, they are going to learn to do that. Fast forward 10 years, and there are thousands of game situations added to a player’s development.”
With this change, American soccer will join sports like baseball, basketball, hockey and tennis, all of which have embraced the skill-development benefits of age-appropriate playing dimensions and competition formats (see chart below).
Those benefits are at the core of USA Hockey’s American Development Model, which was recently praised by the Sports Business Journal as a “trailblazing program.”