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2024 USA & Massachusetts Annual Meeting Wrap Up

By Fiona Doull, 07/01/24, 3:45PM EDT


Insights & information from the 2024 Annual Meeting.

Massachusetts Hockey Annual Meeting | May 3 & 4, 2024

To close out the 2023-24 Season both the Massachusetts District and USA Hockey hosted Annual meetings to celebrate and honor our volunteers, review and alter regulations and policies, and look to the future of youth hockey. 

Massachusetts Hockey’s Annual Meeting took place on May 3rd and 4th, 2024. The meeting began with opening remarks from Massachusetts Hockey President, Stephen Palmacci (Stoneham, MA) in which Stephen announced this year's service award recipients for the 2023-24 season. Please see the full list of service award recipients below. This was followed by guest speakers from USA Hockey, Dwayne Dillinger (Gillette, WY), Vice President, International Council Chair, and T.C. Lewis (Houston, TX), Vice President, Junior Council Chair who shared updates from their councils and respective districts.  

Jeremiah Tabor (Pembroke, MA) Co-Chair of the Long-Range Planning Committee shared an update on the committee's work this season. This includes the possibility of re-districting Massachusetts Hockey’s 10 Districts for players and teams to be more evenly distributed. This would greatly impact the play down process and state tournaments.

Tabor’s presentation was followed by Treasurer Chris Holden (Medway, MA), providing a financial update and budget review. Jen Dematos (Kingston, MA), Director of Program Services provided an update on the state of programs throughout the state. This includes focuses for programs including growth strategies and best practices for programs such as Try Hockey for Free. Best practices are also shared through the Program Power Play newsletter and the Program Playbook. 

Nicole Siglin (Hopkinton, MA), the Player Safety Coordinator for Massachusetts Hockey gave an update on the neck laceration protection rule that will be going into place on August 1, 2024. More information on this ruling will be coming to the Massachusetts Hockey website in the near future. 

Peter Giuliano (Malden, MA), State Tournament Chair & USAH Registrar gave an update on this year's state tournaments. This year, Massachusetts Hockey successfully ran 55 state tournaments total and in turn crowned 55 new state champions. We are looking forward to starting the journey to the state tournament this fall!

To begin the Board of Directors meeting, Stephen Palmacci provided his President's report which touched on the hiring of a 4th employee to the Massachusetts Hockey Staff. The Massachusetts Hockey Annual Awards winners were also recognized at this time. To see this year's winners, please see below.  Kevin Kavanagh (Duxbury, MA), Executive Director of Massachusetts Hockey next gave his report which discussed state tournaments and player development opportunities. Kavanagh also took this time to thank the Massachusetts Hockey volunteers for all they do. 

Following this was Chris Holden's Treasurer Report in which the board reviewed the 2023-24 report and looked at the 2024-25 budget.  Next were elections and legislative proposals. Please see below the results of all elections in addition to a breakdown of all legislative proposals and their current status. All changes to rules within Massachusetts Hockey will be implemented in the 2024-25 Annual Guide. 

Legislative proposals of significance that all Massachusetts Hockey members should take note of include Proposal #1 (Local Rulings), Rule Proposal #2 (Team, Tryouts & Roster), and Rule Proposal #3 (Hometown Program, Player Movement & Rosters).

Rule Proposal #1 changes the suspension period from 1 game to 2 for the 14U age group and below. All ages 15 ONLY and above will serve a suspension for 3 games. This applies to all participants on a Massachusetts District team and playing in a league or tournament game within Massachusetts. The game suspensions will be served the next time the player plays within the district. The only time a request can be made to have the suspension reduced would be in the situation where a player is participating in the Youth (Tier I, II) or Girls (Tier, I, II, II-S) National Bound Tournaments.

Rule Proposal #2 outlines local rulings declaring that a player can only be restored on 1 Youth National Bound (Tier I or II) team. Similarly, a player may only be rostered for 1 Girls National bound or Non-National Bound Roster (Tier I, II, II-S). Please see the full rule below that outlines all rostering updates.

Rule Proposal #3 outlines a new process for non-resident players. Any team that has more than 40% of rostered players as non-resident members now must receive approval from the Massachusetts Hockey Roster Committee. This committee will review each roster and their circumstances to decide if the team can go over the amount of 3 non-resident players to participate in play downs and Non-National Bound State tournaments.

All rule proposals and their status can be seen in the table below. 

Elected Positions

1st Vice President - Jeff Brown

2nd Vice President - Christine Mayer 

4th Vice President - Tom McGrath

Clerk - Tim McMahon 

Director At-Large (Executive Board) - Frank Hart & Jeremiah Tabor

USA Hockey Director (2027) - Christine Mayer & Steve Rizzo

2024 Legislative Proposal Summary

Please refer to the 2024-25 Annual Guide when it is available for more information

# Proposal Title Annual Guide Description Status Submitted By
1 Rule Proposal #1 Local Rulings Any player who is penalized for fighting under USA Hockey Playing Rule 615 (a) or Rule 615 (b) shall serve a 2 game suspension instead of the 1 game specified by USA Hockey at the 14U age group and below. At age groups older than 14U the suspension shall be 3 games. The following shall also apply: 1. This rule is applicable to all players who are participants on a Massachusetts District team 2. This rule is applicable to all players who are participants on teams from the outside of the Massachusetts District participating in league games or tournament games within Massachusetts. A. As Massachusetts Hockey cannot govern players from outside of the Massachusetts District except during games within the Massachusetts District, suspension shall be served the next time they play within the Massachusetts District unless the player received the penalty while participating in a league who has a signed affiliateagreement with Massachusetts Hockey. B. Only players whose next games are either in a Youth National Bound Tournament or Girls District Tier 1, Tier 2 or Tier 2-S may request to have the suspension reduced to the single game specified in the USA Hockey playing rules through review by the Tournament Discipline Committee. 3. Any player who is penalized for 2nd Fighting Major (Rule 616(f) under USA Hockey Playing Rule 615 (a) or Rule 615 (b) shall serve a 5 game suspension instead of the 3 game specified by USA Hockey at all age groups. Item 1 and 2a caveats listed directly above shall apply. 4. Massachusetts Leagues are reminded that any deviation from the above must be approved by the Massachusetts USA Hockey Referee in Chief in consultation with the Massachusetts Hockey Executive Board. Approved Christopher Gong
2 Rule Proposal #2 Teams, Tryouts & Rosters State Tournament and Beyond Roster eligibility. A Player may only be rostered on one Youth National Bound (as defined by USAH) roster (Tier I or II) B. A Player may only be rostered on one Girls National Bound or Non-National Bound Roster (asdefined by USAH) roster (Tier I, Tier II or Tier IIS)C. A Female player 14U and Older may by rostered on a Youth National Bound and a Girls NationalBound Roster as Defined by USAH Rules on declaring which National Bound team she shall beeligible on (USAH Rules Section III Team Membership & Registration Part E). 15U, 16U and18U/19U declarations shall be by November 1.D. A Player may only be rostered and eligible to participate in one non-National Bound Youth StateChampionship tournament (Tier III, IV or V)E. A Player may only be rostered and eligible to participate in one non-National Bound Girls StateChampionship tournament (Tier III, IV or V)F. Players may play on teams that compete in both National Bound State Championships AND Non-National Bound State Championships unless specifically prohibited above (See B above)G. For the purpose of this definition, players rostered on teams competing in the Girls Tier I, Tier IIor Tier II-S tournaments are eligible to play on one Non-National Bound State Tournament team at the Girls Tier III or IV level AND one Non-National Bound Youth team at the appropriate age level 7. 15 Only, 16U and 18U youth level teams/players, players rostered on a Youth National Bound 13U Pure, 14U Tier I and 14U Tier II teams and all Girls/Women teams/players participating above the Girls/Women Tier III level shall not be subject to these Hometown Program roster requirements. Approved Peter Giuliano & State Tournament Committee
3 Rule Proposal #3 Hometown Program Player Movement & Rosters Any team who has more than 40% of their rostered players as non-resident members must receive roster approval from the Mass Hockey Roster Committee who shall review the specifics as to why the roster is non-compliant with the 3 player non-resident member limit in order to participate in Tier III, Tier IV and Tier V and Girls/Women’s Tier III & Tier IV State Championships prior to any district playdowns. Any teams receiving automatic entry or an unopposed entry into the aforementioned State Championship Tournaments must have approval from the Mass Hockey Roster Committee prior to December 31. Approved Ron Ayers
4 Rule Proposal #4 A Game All District playdown and State Tournament games are under the jurisdiction of Massachusetts Hockey and must be officiated by Massachusetts Hockey registered referees, unless otherwise approved by the Massachusetts Hockey Referee-in-Chief and/or the Massachusetts Hockey Referee Supervisor. These games can only be assigned by the Referee -In- Chief, Referee Coordinator and District Referee Supervisors. Districts are not recomended to schedule playdowns games on Wednesdays or Saturdays or during the following months (December, January & February). For all National Bound State Play-in games those officials will be approved bythe Section Referee Supervisors prior to the game’s assignments. National Bound State Tournaments will be assigned by the Section Referee Supervisors, Referee-In-Chief, Referee Coordinator or an Assigner approved by the Referee -In- Chief. Approved Kevin Donovan & John Murray
5 Rule Proposal #5 Referees USA/Massachusetts Hockey (Minimum Level of Registration shall be a Level Zero Official), complete SafeSport and background screening and agree tobe subject to the rules and regulations promulgated by both USA Hockey and Massachusetts Hockey.Assignors shall be required to report to Massachusetts Hockey when requested, any information relatingto any officials assigned by the assignor to officiate USA Hockey sanctioned games in Massachusetts.Furthermore, Assignors shall be required to report to Massachusetts Hockey on efforts to grow and develop new officials and provide game opportunities. Any registered assignors who assign officials for USA Hockey sanctioned games that do not have current USA Hockey certifications may be subject to disciplinary action, including but not limited to suspension of assigning privileges and monetary fines. Any leagues or programs that use unregistered assignors or non-certified officials may be subject todisciplinary action. All New Officical (Level 1) will be recommended to be mentored/shadowed for their first 5games. The Assignor’s will be recommended to first schedule new officials with a mentor/shadow beforescheduling other games. Approved Kevin Donovan
6 Rule Proposal #6 Hometown Program Player Movement & Rosters Organizations recognized by Massachusetts Hockey may: A). Have open tryouts and are not subject to any geographical restrictions. B). Rosters will be comprised of a majority of Massachusetts residents. Withdrawn by Dan Esdale Dan Esdale
8 Bylaw Proposal #2 Board of Directors One-third of the Directors then in office shall constitute a quorum at meetings of the Board of Directors. Each member in good standing shall have only one vote, regardless of the number of positionsheld. A member is considered in good standing with a valid USAH/Mass Hockey Membership,Background Screening, compliant SafeSport Certification, and accurate Conflict of Interestfiling. All of the aforementioned administrative requirements shall be completed prior to November 1 ofthe current season/fiscal year or shall be ineligible to vote on any matters for the balance of that seasonand subject to removal from their position. Any elected Members of the Board of Directors that who failto complete all administrative requirements for eligibility or fail to satisfy the 50% meeting attendancerequirement while serving as an elected director during a season shall be ineligible for re-election to holda seat for the next season. No proxy votes shall be allowed.Alternate Directors may vote in the absence of a Director from a District/Division if registered,indicating the Director being replaced with the Clerk prior to the meeting being called to order by thepresiding officer. Once a Director is replaced he/she is ineligible to vote during the current session of themeeting. All actions of the Board shall be subject to majority of the votes cast unless otherwise specifiedin these Bylaws. The presiding officer shall vote only to break a tie. The President may surrender theChair to vote from the floor. In order to remain in good standing and eligible to vote at the Annual Meeting, a Director, Alternate Director, member of the Executive Board or Director Emeritus must attend at least 50% of the scheduled meetings of the Board of Directors since their last election during the year prior to the Annual Meeting of which at least one of which must be an in-person meeting. Approved Robert Joyce
9 Housekeeping Bylaw VII All references to "USA Hockey Directors" in Bylaw VII should be changed to "Representatives to USA Hockey Congress." Approved Rules Committee

USA Hockey Annual Meeting | June 5-8, 2024

The 2024 USA Hockey Annual Meeting was held from Wednesday, June 5th to Saturday, June 8th, 2024. Topics of discussion included growth, playing rules, elections and more.  

Growth: Participation numbers for the 2023-24 season were shared during the Annual Meeting and included 564,468 players, up by 1.49%. Youth players grew to 389,820, while adult players increased to 174,648. The number of female players hit an all-time high of 93,610 in 2023-24, up by 2.58%. The season also included record numbers of coaches (64,280/4.14% increase) and officials (31,125/9.87% increase). 

Playing Rules: USA Hockey’s councils, committees and sections reviewed the many playing rule proposals submitted and will be voted on during the USA Hockey Winter Meeting this January in Nashville. Any rule changes approved will go into effect for the 2025-26 season and remain in place for a four-year cycle. 

Elections: Mike Trimboli (Massena, N.Y.) was re-elected to a second three-year term as President. Bob Joyce (Newton, MA), former Massachusetts Hockey President and current General Council was named Director At-Large and appointed to the Executive Board for a three-year term.  

Awards: USA Hockey honored members with Service and Volunteer Awards. Amy Lowe (Stoneham, MA) was named the recipient of the William Thayer Tutt Award presented annually by USA Hockey to a volunteer who, during many years of service, has displayed a selfless dedication to the enhancement of ice hockey at the grassroots level in America. It is the top volunteer honor awarded by USA Hockey each season. Mark Sampson (Longmeadow, MA) received the 2024 Chet Stewart Award. The Chet Stewart Award recognizes an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to the officiating education program during many years of service as an official and volunteer. The recipient will have been a grassroots leader in officiating education and development and provided dedicated service throughout his/her career to both the officiating and hockey community. Congratulations to Mark and Amy, please see the list below which includes all award recipients.  

2024-25 Important Dates

  • Welcome Back to Hockey Week begins September 8th, 2024 
  • Try Hockey for Free: November 2nd, 2024 & February 22nd, 2024  
  • Level 5 Coaching Symposium: August 14-17, 2025 | Columbus, Ohio  

Massachusetts Annual Award Recipients:

Steve & Terry Palmacci President’s Award – Al & Joan Smith 

Richard “Duke” Kumpel Award – Paul Crowley 

Dr. Alan Ashare Safety Award – Tom McGrath 

Ron & Jo DiFillippo Registrar Award – Matt MacDonald  

Milt Kaufman Officials Award – John Mitchell  

Massachusetts Hockey Service Award Recipients:

5 Years of Service:  Rachel Hutchinson, Robert Lynch, Jared Mitrano, John Murray, Ryan Scott, Kip St. Germaine & Jeremiah Tabor

10 Years of Service:  Kevin Donovan, Bruce Finethy, Tim McMahon & Mark Rhodes

15 Years of Service:  Paul Crowley & Jim Maimone

20 Years of Service:  Jeff Brown, Ron Cincotta, Chris Holden & Tom McGrath

25 Years of Service:  Mark Boldrighini

30 Years of Service:  Christine Mayer

40 Years of Service:  Allen Wright 

USA Hockey Annual Award Recipients (MA):

William Thayer Tutt Award – Amy Lowe  

Chet Stewart Award – Mark Sampson  

USA Hockey Service Award Recipients (MA):

5 Years of Service: Paul Crowley & Bob Joyce 

10 Years of Service: Kevin Donovan  

20 Years of Service: Jean Ann Nigro