Another season, another year of TD Bank Mini 1-on-1! We’re thrilled to once again partner with the Boston Bruins in the 3-on-3 cross ice competition, hosted this year on Sunday, Nov. 3 at TD Garden.
To better prepare for this year’s favorite tournament, we caught up with Bruins director of youth hockey and fan development, Mike Dargin, to share what all goes into the competition and what competing teams can expect.
USA Hockey Chairman of the Board, Ron DeGregorio (Digger), is known throughout Massachusetts as the originator of the “Mini One-on-One.”
Massachusetts Hockey: First, let’s get to know Mike; what is your role with the Bruins?
Mike Dargin: I’m the director of youth hockey and fan development. My primary responsibility is to develop programing and create and expand on the next generation of hockey players, all while connecting to the fan base (and they seem to go hand in hand).
The Bruins youth program has more than 5,000 players in involved (including 25 percent female participation). It’s exciting to have that support here in our home state!
MH: How long has Bruins Mini 1-on-1 been around for?
MD: It all began in 1973. There was a hiatus from 2000-2007 but has been back up and running ever since. It has changed over time in many different forms but always the same goal to promote youth hockey.
MH: How was Bruins Mini 1-on-1 formed?
MD: USA Hockey Chairman of the Board, Ron DeGregorio (Digger), is known throughout Massachusetts as the originator of the “Mini One-on-One.”
He wanted to highlight youth hockey across the New England Region beyond our local hockey rinks but on a National level.
MH: Why did the Bruins Mini 1-on-1 format change to 3v3 set up? What benefits came from changing the format?
MD: While we loved the mini 1-on-1 format, we wanted to get more kids involved. By opening up the game to a 3-on-3 it allowed for more participation across the board, pus allowed for even more excitement for the players and fans alike.
We also wanted to adhere to the ADM model and showcase small-area games beyond Mites, so now we have teams at the Squirt, Peewee, Girls 10U and 12U age classifications competing!
MH: How many divisions are there for Bruins Mini 1-on-1?
MD: We have four Divisions: Squirt (youth 10U), Peewee (youth 12U) 10U Girls and12U Girls. Plus, we are adding a Sled hockey division for the first time this season.
MH: Where do the teams come from to participate in the Bruins Mini 1-on-1?
MD: We actually have teams come from up and down the east coast. Participating teams generally hail from Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Maine, Vermont and this year we have Connecticut joining us too. Allowing for neighboring states to participate really helps activate youth hockey in the New England area.
MH: How do teams get involved with Bruins Mini 1-on-1?
MD: Interested teams should reach out to their local registrars and presidents to let them know they want to participate.
MH: What should teams expect if they are a team who is participating in Bruins Mini 1-on-1?
MD: FREE experience to come in and skate on the Garden ice. We start with warm-up drills followed by single elimination games, all which are filmed. Plus, of course, we have fun Bruins giveaways throughout the day. Really we just try and make it as fun as possible – that’s what it’s all about!
MH: Besides bragging rights, do the teams win anything else?
MD: We pull out all the stops. Winning teams will have their names engraved on a mini Stanley Cup, and each level has its own exciting prize.
MH: Do you have any favorite memories over the years from Bruins Mini 1-on-1?
MD: I was on the bench when Oliver Wahlstrom had his spin-o-rama in 2010 – so cool.
MH: Finally, how do you think the partnership with Massachusetts Hockey helps Bruins Mini 1-on-1?
MD: The Bruins and Mass. Hockey partnership is very important for Mini 1-on1. We really couldn’t do it without everyone’s support. It all ties back to the to amazing volunteers throughout Massachusetts—we are pretty lucky here!