CALGARY, AB – Hockey Canada announced on Wednesday the launch of Hockey Canada National Skills Standards and Testing Program (NSST), a resource for minor hockey coaches in Canada to test the skill level of players on their team, compare the results with other teams, and receive specific drills to assist in enhancing the skill development of each player.
The NSST is free of charge to all minor hockey teams who visit www.hockeycanada.ca. The program is based on the fundamental philosophy that skill development should be fun and challenging. The program’s goals are to raise awareness of the importance of skill development and to establish a system to measure and celebrate skill acquisition.
Minor hockey coaches of boys and girls teams across Canada are encouraged to go to www.hockeycanada.ca, and click on ‘Skills Testing’, to learn about the benefits of the National Skills Standards and Testing Program (NSST) so that their team can participate.
Team coaches can download a series of six on-ice individual skills tests for all of the team’s players. Coaches follow the testing guidelines and instructions provided, and collect the test results for each player on their team. Coaches can either keep the data within the team or can enter all of the data into the Hockey Canada Skill Standards and Testing website database. Over time, a set of age division standards will accumulate in the database of test results. Once this information is collected, players and teams will be able to compare scores and judge strengths, weaknesses and areas in need of improvement.
One of the most important components of the NSST program is that once coaches have tested their players and the results have been submitted to the NSST website, coaches will have access to a series of drills designed specifically to assist in improving the areas of weakness for the entire team, or to meet the needs of individual players.
“The hockey development system in Canada must continue to examine ways to encourage and promote our development programs. Linking all of our development resources and initiatives together through this new on-line resource provides coaches with an excellent method of measuring skill level and demonstrating how improvement can be achieved”, said Paul Carson, Director, Development Programs for Hockey Canada.
During the 1999 Molson Open Ice Summit on Player Development in Canada, delegates recommended that Hockey Canada investigate ways to“raise awareness of the importance of skill development and establish a system to measure and celebrate skills”.Prior to the launch of the NSST program, there was no nationally organized program that would test or recognize skill acquisition and skill improvement within the Canadian hockey system. Through the on-line NSST at www.hockeycanada.ca, minor hockey associations, coaches, players and parents will now have a method of measuring success beyond wins and losses.
Hockey Canada is working in partnership with Sport-Quest Systems (www.sport-quest.com) who will serve as the "Official Supplier" to Hockey Canada’s National Skills Standards and Testing Program.
"We selected Sport-Quest because the company offers a complete package: a proven online program along with leading edge technology and support to maintain the system," said Johnny Misley, Vice President Hockey Operations, Hockey Canada. "Sport-Quest is the right fit because they have the flexibility to adapt to our needs. In developing the NSST Program, Hockey Canada has taken an important first step in establishing a NationalSkill Evaluation system”.