The Schenectady Youth Hockey Association (SYHA) was established as an official charter organization in the early 1970s. Like most nonprofit programs, it has seen plenty of new faces and changes since then.
Its mission, however, remains the same: providing a fun, safe environment that promotes hockey instruction, skill development and value-based life lessons for its players.
In 2011, the association strengthened that commitment by working toward full implementation of USA Hockey’s American Development Model, along with its age-appropriate programming and concepts.
Three years later, it became one of six organizations to earn official designation by USA Hockey as a Model Association. This allowed SYHA to receive in-person training for coaches, on-ice instruction and parent education, as well as equipment and other resources from USA Hockey.
“When you watch kids play full-ice, which is what we did before, there were always three or four who were touching the puck and involved in the play,” said Peter Bouton, the program’s association coaching education (ACE) coordinator. “It made a lot of sense to everybody that you should [reduce] the ice down to the size of the kids.”
Rich Hansen, who took over as ADM regional manager for the Atlantic region that includes Schenectady three years ago, was impressed by the program’s enthusiasm for ADM, particularly among its coaches.