BOSTON – Anyone who thinks Ron DeGregorio walked away from hockey when he stepped down as the president of USA Hockey doesn’t know the man they call “Digger.”
As he settles into his new role as the organization’s co-chairman of the board, DeGregorio shows no signs of slowing down when it comes to supporting the sport to which he has devoted much of his life.
Even though he concluded his fourth term as USA Hockey’s president in June, DeGregorio is still active in the game. In addition to seeking a spot on the board of the International Ice Hockey Federation, he is involved in two projects near and dear to his heart.
One is aimed at improving goaltending throughout the USA Hockey ranks. A one-time goaltender with the U.S. National Team, DeGregorio is lending his support to an initiative created by USA Hockey’s ADM Manager of Youth Goaltending Programs Phil Osaer to improve the quality of coaching provided to goaltenders at all levels.
Osaer has teamed up with National Team Development Program goalie coach Kevin Reiter and Hall of Fame goaltender John Vanbiesbrouck, who is the USA Hockey vice president of Junior hockey, to create a thorough approach to teaching vital skills needed to expand and improve the goaltending ranks at all levels. For DeGregorio, who has worked with young goaltenders in the New England area, the program is something he wants to support in any way possible.
The other program, called Flex Hockey, is a pilot project created by USA Hockey’s Youth Council, which looks to get keep more players in the game by creating non-checking leagues that require less time commitment than most youth programs.
“Basically the concept is adult hockey for youth,” said DeGregorio, who continued to play adult hockey until the last several years.
“What I mean by that is in adult hockey, we get together once a week and play. We don’t practice, we just have some fun. We want to work with a league and see how the concept works in reality.”