We hope this message finds you safe and healthy during this uncertain time. We know our member families are going through a difficult time and wanted you to know that the Board has been thinking a lot about you, our next season and how to improve the GSC experience for all of our skaters and family members. We also wanted to recognize our General Manager, Brent Brower, and the GSC staff for helping deliver another great season. And congratulations to all our teams for a great season and our annual award winners for hockey and figure skating.
As we emerge from this pandemic, we feel activities and experiences on our outdoor rink so close to home will bring parents and their children joy in a safe and healthy environment. The continuous improvements to our hockey programs will further develop our children into athletes that understand the importance of good sportsmanship and hard work while also having fun playing a sport we all love. We also look forward to having our Figure Skaters back on the ice in November and hope that many of you, including adults and hockey players, will partake in our programs. As they one day grow up, we hope that all our skaters will reflect on their time at GSC as one of their favorite childhood experiences.
With the expectation to get back to some sense of “normal” in the coming months, we wanted to update the membership on initiatives that are critical to improving our programs. While we know there is a lot of uncertainty around fall school and athletic programs, we want to be as prepared as possible to provide our members with the best experience, even if that means that next season will look and feel different. We believe owning our outdoor rink (available from November to March from 630 am to 10 pm) will be a blessing as school schedules may become more flexible and outdoor activities are being approved for public use under Government Lamont’s phased re-opening of Connecticut.
Below is a summary of the topics we will cover in this message.
Planning for the Season Ahead
Hockey Program Update Highlights
Tryouts in September
Individual Team Zoom Banquet Awards in May
Announcement of Annual Award Winners
New Hockey Program Initiatives
Welcome Ian Tarrant, Our New Mite and Hockey Skills Director
Mite Program Improvements
ADM Coaching Plans
Mental Toughness Curriculum
Added Skills Sessions
GSC Shooting and Stickhandling Station
Coaching Slate for 2020-2021
Tournaments (Holding Lake Placid)
Figure Skating Program Update Highlights
Class offerings for 2020-2021 season
Announcement of Annual Award Winners
Admissions Committee Update
First Annual Open House Update
Admissions Process Changes
Resignation Due June 1st
New Health and Safety Protocols
Weekly Deep Clean by Third Party Service
Hand Sanitizer Stations at Entrance, Bathrooms, and Main Gathering Areas
We are disappointed to have not had an in-person banquet this year. But in place of an in-person banquet, last year’s coaches will be setting up Zoom banquet awards for their respective teams this month. The Zoom event will give the Coaches and players a chance to see each other and experience a more intimate and impactful end-of-year discussion while also making fun of many of our players during this difficult time.
In addition to Zoom banquet awards, each year, special awards for Bantams and U14 girls are given out to last-year players for the best all-around player and sportsmanship award, respectively. This year, we are proud to announce the winners below.
The Hockey Committee would like to start by saying we REALLY miss hockey right now and cannot wait for the Club to open again! While there seems to be light at the end of the tunnel, the timing of tryouts is still unclear as Connecticut Hockey Conference, under USA Hockey, has suspended all play, including tryouts, until further notice. And many rinks that operate year-round do not expect to open before the end of June. With that information, we now expect to hold tryouts in September. We know all players will be rusty before tryouts. To help players stay connected with hockey and to prepare for next year, our 2020-2021 coaches at each age-level will reach out in May to all players signed up for tryouts to introduce themselves and offer training tips and fun challenges. The goal is to have periodic communication with the players to keep them connected to the Club and the sport they love while also improving their skills in the off-season. We also make every effort to provide practice ice to help players get ready closer to tryouts. Stay tuned for more information on that.
We are looking forward to welcoming back all Figure Skaters and our coaches this Fall. We are hopeful that our new "normal" post-COVID-19 will allow for all our planned events and classes to run as scheduled and are planning accordingly.
As always, the program will follow the Club calendar and will run from November through the first weekend in March (weather dependent, of course). We will have the same class offerings as we did last season, and classes can be found on our website. The very popular Cookie Exchange will take place in early December. The annual competition against New Canaan Winter Club will be held in New Canaan in early February. We will wrap up the season with our Year-End Show, whose theme will be announced later in the season. Our banquet will be held in early April 2021 to celebrate the season.
The Admissions Committee would like to thank all GSC members who participated in the First Annual Community Open House that took place in February 2020. We had over 250 people in attendance. It was a huge success and brought us some wonderful new families who are in the membership pipeline now. We also want to thank all the members who have sponsored wonderful new families to GSC. Sharing your family’s individual experiences of the magic that occurs each winter on Cardinal Road is by far the best exposure for the Club and helps to build our membership!
As local health officials and state governments across the country begin to allow some rinks to reopen, we want to ensure our members that our Club will follow the necessary protocols to provide a safe and trusted environment for our skating community. Recently, U.S. Figure Skating, USA Hockey, and the U.S. Ice Rink Association partnered together to develop a comprehensive Returning to the Rinks guide, offering guidance for rinks and programs to consider when opening to our members. To ensure our member's health and safety, we have set up a new committee to ensure we follow these guidelines and have the appropriate protocols in place. This year, we will have a third-party cleaning service clean the Club, including a weekly deep clean. We will also be installing hand sanitizers at the Club entrance, bathrooms, and central gathering areas.
Do you have a garage full of hockey or figure skating equipment that's too small or that you are not using anymore?Good!
It's the annual GSC equipment swap weekends, This a great way to pass along equipment to the hockey community. Members of the GHS boys and girls hockey teams will be on hand both days to help with sizes! We are hosting 2 weekends this year to accommodate pre-season needs and then what didn't fit after all once the season starts!
The Mite Program is the foundation on which the teams of GSC are built. The Skating Club is committed to making sure we provide a safe and fun environment to develop our young hockey players. This season we will continue with our revamped Mite program to make sure all young players have an appropriate place to play at GSC and are provided the opportunity to grow and love the game of hockey.
Develop a strong Mite Program to be the pride of GSC
Increase development, participation and retention of young players
Fun based, skating-focused development
Provide USA Hockey ADM station based skating and skill development practices
Provide highly skilled, motivated coaching pool system run by Mite Director
Two practices per week, plus one cross ice game on the weekend
Increase “on ice” time to speed development
All Mite Teams will participate in the Chelsea Piers Cross-Ice League
What is the “ADM”?
The ADM is USA Hockey’s nationwide player-development program for youth hockey associations. It’s based on age-appropriate, age-specific competition and training for boys and girls, beginning with their first steps onto the ice and carrying them through age 18 and beyond. The ADM places a heightened emphasis on skill development and long-term athlete development principles, providing a blueprint for the best possible youth hockey experience.