IIHF launches Development Hub
by Derek O'Brien|29 SEP 2020
photo: Viscompark
Welcome to the IIHF Development Hub, a resource-rich addition to the IIHF website that will serve as a central hub dedicated to the development of ice hockey. 

It includes various training resources, including a framework for coaching development and a Player Development Guide – which includes a new video Drill Hub.

IIHF President RenĂ© Fasel celebrated the launch of the Development Hub on Tuesday during a video call with each of the IIHF’s 81 Member National Associations. 

“All of you now have access to over 500 ice hockey drill and exercise videos, and so many other resources that have been carefully chosen to help you develop your coaches and players within your countries,” said Fasel. 

The timing of the launch is an unexpected bonus for the IIHF’s member nations. With limitations to ice access in some countries and with some IIHF tournaments having already been cancelled due to COVID-19, the Development Hub will equip member national associations with necessary resources to rebuild momentum in their domestic development plans. 

“The idea came from the top IIHF leadership and the two respective Committees, those being Coaching as well as Youth and Junior Development,” said IIHF Membership Development Manager Aku Nieminen, who has had more than 100 people contributing to this project over the past couple of years. 

“We acknowledged the need for us to refresh and invest more into our online resources and make those available to the world in order to support the Member National Associations and their clubs in the development of the game.” 

Some of the materials, such as those found in the Learn to Play and Development Programs, were already part of the IIHF website, but they have been updated and are now part of something much bigger and better focused.

“Not all materials are brand-new but we have certainly created a lot of new resources and addressed new areas on which we have not given guidance before,” said Nieminen.
The result is the new Development Hub, which has many sections that focus on different aspects of the game, including Player Recruitment, Learn to Play, Player Development Guide, and Coaching and Development programs. 

Within the large Player Development Guide are several links. Perhaps the most exciting new addition to this section is the Drill Hub, a video resource library which focuses on numerous skill areas for both on-ice and off-ice training. There are already more than 500 videos in the library which are divided into three categories – Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced. The videos were shot over the past year and a half, in partnership with the Vierumaki Sport Institute in Finland. 

“While we acknowledge also the elite level, we have decided to prioritize and focus on the youth more,” said Nieminen.

A quick visit to the Drill Hub confirms that, starting with a large number of basic skating, stickhandling, passing and skating drills before moving onto more advanced technical, tactical, and off-ice training drills. There are also drills for goaltenders of all skill levels. All of that makes the Drill Hub a resource which can be an invaluable tool to help coaches plan practices for teams of any level, or for players to improve fundamental skills on their own. 

“Coaches are certainly the main target group as they are the ones to design and run the practices but we hope that also players, coaching or development directors, and basically all stakeholders could benefit from these,” said Nieminen.

While the Drill Hub might be the most visible part, it is just one of nine sections in the Player Development Guide, which covers the full spectrum of a player’s life both on and off the ice. Other sections include General Information, Physical Development, Nutrition and Hydration, Well-Being and Lifestyle, Parents, Coaching, Standards of Behaviour and External Resources. 

“We have also made over 40 downloads which support player development in different areas,” Nieminen said about the rest of the Player Development Guide. “We have wanted to address some of the challenges, such as well-being, nutrition and lifestyle. We believe in athlete-centred coaching and therefore have wanted to create tools which are holistic and developmental stage appropriate.”

As mentioned, the Player Development Guide is just one part of the new Development Hub. In the coming days, we will introduce you to other sections, including the Coach Development Framework and the updated Learn to Play Program.

Find the IIHF Development Hub in the website menu or by entering development.iihf.com in your browser.