Dear Lady Ducks Family and Friends,
I truly hope your Holiday Season is fun and relaxing with family and friends nearby. I want to start by saying Thank YOU, for the continued support of your daughter in pursuit of her love and enjoyment playing this amazing sport.
To our new families, welcome to our LD family! You're the 3rd generation of Lady Ducks! It's inevitable that friendships will be formed. As parents, you huddle together watching your players through the glass. For players, it's being on the ice together. Whether you're beginning at 6u or 12u, you can be together for 6-12 years! This is a lot of time so embrace your journey.
We're continuously striving for success! As the depth and number of girls playing in California grows, our Lady Ducks program maintains a fantastic pace ahead of USA Hockey averages. Our program has earned a top ranking as USA Hockey's most successful Girls' Hockey Program west of the Mississippi! Our program develops and places a higher percentage of alums into the NCAA; we have a higher percentage of elite female coaches/mentors; and we out pace other clubs in the western states in players and teams with 13 girls' teams -- 6u thru 19AAA, plus 2 National-bound Women's teams! Today's NCAA women's ice hockey programs see more than 90% of its players come from girls' teams. Our success has busted the ancient myth that lingers in the west...in order to be good, girls need to be on a boys' team or move away from home.
Thank you for your 10+ years of service. We have two LD "Program Admin" parents whose youngest daughters began at 8u and will graduate this year. They were often behind the scenes helping to grow and improve us. From team management, messaging, team apparel, travel coordination and AAA recruitment, both Troy Reyes and Caroline Marchant have given over a decade of service to this program! They've contributed many countless volunteer hours which has benefited the ENTIRE Lady Ducks Program. I'm so thankful for their service over the years. We would not be where we are without them! Every team and the program can thrive when parents volunteer.
And, yes... we hope to keep Caroline around a few more years. As General Manager, Caroline has built the financial support infrastructure, fundraising programs and manages our annual college tour. These programs contribute to the LD success story that help our players play the sport they love and become college-bound players. If you would like to help support those programs please contact her this winter.
Lady Ducks Alumni! Much like this week's 2018 College Hockey Classic series between Lindenwood and St. Lawrence University, our Lady Ducks Alumni find each other across the ice. Currently, Lady Ducks Alumni sit in 31 different NCAA locker rooms around the country.
Their love of hockey and opportunity to play in college has brought Lady Ducks Alumni to varied professions, graduate schools, and spread them out across North America and Europe. Many alumni now in their 30s are doctors, economists, educators, CPAs, attorneys, journalists, professions of all kinds!
An elite group of coaches. It's amazing to have Alumni and other California-raised hockey players GIVE BACK. Starting a professional career and finding the time to coach takes dedication and commitment. Coach Jen Friedman, Coach Laura Veharanta, Coach Stephanie Yates, Coach Dani Ahumada, Coach Jenny Jones-Medina, and Coach Ryan Bartz ALL played in Southern California and are bringing their unique experiences back to our players. These strong young women are making time to develop outstanding hockey players. These mentors, matched up with our elite experienced coaching staff,
provide for high-end player development from 6u to 19AAA.
We have built the program for the long run. Each year I see parents begin to worry about the future. "What if she doesn't make the Olympic Team?", "What else can I do to make sure she gets a Division I Athletic Scholarship?", "How can I make sure she starts scoring goals at 10u (or 12u or 14u...)?" "How do I make sure she makes AAA next year?" "Why isn't she on the power play?" etc.... My advice in ALL of these instances is YOU CAN'T make these things happen. Keep calm and maintain a plan with achievable expectations. Raise your daughters at home and watch them reach their goals, to whatever level they aspire.
Success will come based on preparation, desire, talent, and the hard work that goes into it all. Really. It's just like school. You don't likely stand over every homework paper and worry if the next answer will be amazing. You don't likely yell at the teacher if your daughter didn't get called on every hour, at every class. You are likely to send your daughter to a tutor if you expect an "A" but are seeing "B or C" level work... why? So, that they can develop missing skills that will be needed to achieve at the college level. And, if your child is really talented and excels at say math, you support that pursuit with higher level training opportunities, tutoring, private programs in order that they may be noticed by select colleges. Well, hockey works the same way. A college-bound hockey player needs extra-curricular training, just like a top college student would... going the extra mile for top skills/grades.
With nearly 20 years of our program and raising almost 500 hockey players we have built the infrastructure for success. We offer an academy-type program as players are trained for the next level, as we go; a majority of our players play their entire career as a Lady Duck, they don't leave the program; and we wouldn't outpace the USA Hockey average with NCAA players if we hadn't built this program for the long run.
It is a marathon, not a sprint. If your daughter wants to play in college, her level of play at 16- and 17-years old is MOST IMPORTANT. Is she coachable? Players who truly listen to the message of their coaches, have a greater likelihood of success than those who know otherwise or are stubborn. Are you always searching for something "better"? Parents who talk about different lessons, changing coaches, second-guessing their team or teammates have players who are less likely to trust their coach and work hard for the team.
Do your very best to speak positively and allow your child to PLAY HOCKEY. Don't analyze everything. Think about it. Your parents probably didn't do that. That was a good thing. Good parents are good hockey parents. They drive (a lot!) and enjoy the experiences their child has in every environment. They plan good meals, teach manners, respect for others, competitive spirit and strong work ethic. Do these things that we all strive to be good at and let our child drive their own desire for success in school and sport.
Show patience with your child's development. We have seen the prodigy at 8u and 10u be amazing but, also some that get burnt out, or simply get passed by others at 16u.
And there are some girls who START at 13-years-old, and went on to be NCAA All-America Honorees. There is NO one path. If your daughter loves it, keep doing it. If she is talented and stands out, we will push her harder. If she is struggling, take a deep breath and let's see what she can overcome. When it's hard... remind her that everything worth doing in life has its obstacles and overcoming the adversity in life is an amazing thing. When she's on a roll, remind her that humility and teamwork demonstrate strong character. Encourage your player to do her best, have fun, and ask questions. It makes for a fantastic experience!
Did you know?
You don't have to be on a winning team to play Division I hockey; coaches watch players, not the score. Coaches begin watching player development at 14AAA and 16AA levels.
You don't have to score goals to get noticed. Players with vision who PASS the puck are often more noticeable because the chance of a successful play.
Division I and III are the two levels of Women's College hockey. Division I offers athletic and academic Scholarships (except Ivy League; no Athletic scholarship). Division III offers great athletics; financial aid and academic scholarships are available.
Thank you all for a great 2017 with the Lady Ducks. I encourage you to reach out to me directly for questions about ANYTHING we can do to help your child thrive in this great sport!