Pre-launch Release

Well, the fact that you haven't heard a lot from me lately is actually a good thing, in that my partners and I have been working long hours in preparing our new website.  As a matter of fact, here's a quick glimpse (although we have lots more to do before launch time)...

Next, I think I can give you the best feel for things by showing you the welcome letter we've prepared for first time visitors to the site...
A Welcome Message from the Editors... 

We can't tell you how excited we are to finally breath life into American Youth Hockey Coast to Coast! As we show you around and tell you more about it, we hope you'll agree that such an undertaking was long overdue.

First and foremost, we're going to be all about kids' hockey in the United States – from beginners through Midgets, and from its players to those who give them the chance to play. Yes, we're talking about players, coaches, parents, administrators, game officials, specialists, arena personnel, and even the governing bodies. And, while we mainly want to highlight all the good in American youth hockey, we're willing to take to task those who don't make the grassroots levels of our game "all about the kids".

As for the rest of our title -- that "Coast to Coast" part -- means we're all in this thing together. For sure, there are some true hockey hotbeds sprinkled across this continent, but we want to ensure that every state is heard from -- from Alaska to Florida, from Maine to California, and from Hawaii to the District of Columbia. (Interestingly, friends from Canada, the UK and several other faraway nations have expressed interest in what we're doing. And, since we see them as our brothers and sisters in this great game, we've encouraged them to also occasionally contribute stories about hockey in their homelands.)

Without doubt, the heart and soul of American Youth Hockey will be our in-state reporting staff. It's up to each of those individuals to keep us all informed about the goings on in their home states, when it comes to youth hockey, or anything that impacts on the kids' games. That in mind, you could greatly help your state correspondent by alerting him or her about any news or special interest stories. Of course, parents and coaches might come to mind first as contributors, but we're sure your local correspondent would also love to hear from arena managers, youth program administrators, game officials, and anyone else directly related to youth hockey. (At this writing, we have most US states covered. However, if you'd like to become involved as an American Youth Hockey correspondent or special assignment writer, please let us know at your earliest convenience.)

We hope it makes sense that we should acknowledge the accomplishments of young players, teams and coaches, without over-glamorizing anyone too much. We think recognizing youth kids and coaches "tastefully" might be the right way to put it.
We also hope it makes sense that we'll primarily focus on "not for profit" individuals and organizations, except when a "for profit" is involved in something truly newsworthy.

And that brings us to two different ways an organization or company might advertise with us. If your business is basically conducted locally, your in-state correspondent can take your ad, and arrange to have it appear with his or her most recent writeup/s. If a company prefers national coverage, a main office representative can help provide maximum exposure on American Youth Hockey's home page.

Then, because our hope is to keep our followers well informed, we're in the process of developing a support system for all those involved in youth hockey. As a matter of fact, if you notice that any of these positions aren't filled, then we're still looking for volunteers to help oversee a number of these special areas, including a Hockey Moms' section, a Coaches' section, a Referees' section, a Hockey Administration section, an Equipment section, and an Arena Managers' section. We're also including a hockey advice page authored by one of American's top skills coaches.

Our hope is to also have the most extensive hockey tournament listings found anywhere. Regular listings are free – so send them along, while there's a nominal fee if tournament sponsors wish to attract more attention to their offerings.

If there's one other aim we have for this site, it's that visitors should be able to stop by regularly for some fun and entertainment. Kids (of all ages) should enjoy our Hockey Poll and our Hockey Trivia Contest. There's also a chance to follow your favorite NHL team in our special Trade Rumors section.

Finally, a vision is one thing, and evolution is quite another. In other words, while we the Editors -- or founders -- had a vision entering this undertaking, we know that American Youth Hockey should ultimately belong to you, the folks who make youth hockey go on a daily basis. So, with time, we look forward to your Letters to the Editors guiding us, and helping us evolve into something truly, truly special.
  • With that, I want to reinforce the point made above, in that you writers will be the heart and soul of this project.
  • We hope each of you will be able to keep everyone informed about the goings on in your home state, when it comes to youth hockey, or anything that impacts on the kids' games. 
  • As was also mention above, you'll want to encourage hockey people in your state to alert you about any news or special interest stories.  That will help make your job easier, and so should it be easier if you become familiar with your state's arena managers, youth program administrators, game officials, and anyone else directly related to youth hockey.
  • As for advertising, we'll soon provide you a "rate sheet", which will spell out the cost to advertise in the different sections of our site.  As we'll also explain soon, each writer will be able to earn by selling ad space in any section of our site (although we hope you'll especially focus on those merchants who might sponsor your state's page).  As we mentioned above, it makes sense for local companies to advertise in the space next to your write-ups, while nationwide companies would likely prefer the larger ad space to the right of all pages.  
  • You might have also noticed mention of extensive tournament listings.  A list is currently being readied for our launch.  However, we encourage you to send us more listings from your area.  Local youth programs and arenas will likely love you for this.
Okay, what to do now...  

It's understandable if you don't already have anything to report.  In that case, many correspondents are putting together an introduction, or a little about how they became involved in hockey (it doesn't hurt if your readers soon feel they know you).  Be sure to welcome your readers to send you any announcements or stories of special interest.  Each of you will be given your own AYH email address which will be published along with each of your articles.

Not wanting to turn away anyone who has been nice enough to volunteer, a few states do have multiple writers.  To be honest, I think most states are large enough that they might warrant being divided into sections, or maybe by age groups.  So, very shortly I'll introduce those within a given state, so that we might somehow either split areas of responsibilities, or decide on different duties (one perhaps being the correspondent, and another providing special stories).

After our initial launch, we'll go to staggered deadlines.  In other words, our 51 writers (which includes DC) will be divided into 4 groups, with each being asked to submit their write-ups on the first, second, third or fourth Monday of each month.  (I'll poll you soon on this.)

Okay, so someone recently asked me when we're expecting to launch, and I told them, "Last week!"  Yes, I wish it had been on September 1.  Still, I think we all want to get things as close to right as possible, even if that means delaying our launch by a few days.  

All that in mind, we're ready to receive your articles right now.  Please save the following email address for submitting all future articles: 

Here are a few Resources you might save: - a listing of maps sorted in any way you want (this site will also give you a listing for every rink in your state).

USA Hockey Near You - a way to locate the state or regional USA Hockey affiliates near you.

US Newspapers by State - you can use this site to find newspapers published within your state (perhaps a way to find stories or more details on a given story).

If you should discover some similar links that might help other correspondents, please let me know, and I'll get it out to everyone.

I'm getting psyched!

Dennis C

PS:  Do you have any questions?  Maybe it's a good idea for us to discuss them in front of your fellow writers by using the Comments box down below...

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