Our coaches and on ice volunteers are integral keys to keeping practices and games organized and running smooth.
We strive to make our program a great experience for our skaters and our volunteers. Volunteer roles are based on your interest and availability, as well as the needs of the teams and programs.
Thank you for your interesting in being part of Minnesota Special Hockey!
A FEW SIMPLE REQUIREMENTS:
While we certainly look to accommodate as many volunteers as possible as a way for our program to “give back”, there are some very simple requirements & expectations we have of our volunteers that we want to communicate upfront for you to consider:
1. TRAINING REQUIRED - Coaches and Assistant Coaches must be at least 18 years of age and are required to complete the USA Hockey Coaches Training and required modules before December 31. A document is provided below outlining the requirements. The clinic date is usually in October and more information on this clinic will be provided soon. New this year... Volunteers 18 and older are are required to complete our online SafeSport Module. There is no cost for this module. The required modules can be found at http://usahcepmodules.flexxcoach.com/
3. COMMITMENT - The majority of our athletes typically do better in a very structured environment and working with the same person is an important part of their weekly routine. Given that we will most likely pair our on-ice volunteers up with one specific player, it is important that we have consistency and commitment from our team of volunteers. While we don’t expect every volunteer to make every single practice or game, we don’t want this to be viewed as a place to go when it is “convenient” for the volunteer either. We typically only get together one hour a week, so the time commitment is minimal, but important.
4. COMFORTABLE - All volunteers must be comfortable dealing with people who live with some form of disability. We fully realize that any persons comfort with this may grow based on increased exposure, but it is important to note.
5. WILLING TO HAVE FUN - It is imperative that our volunteers are out-going and have a sense of humor. Keep in mind that for many of our players, this one hour we are together each week during our season and the events planned throughout the year may be the highlight of their week. It is imperative that we all have fun!!!!!
6. Lastly, many of our teams have had tremendous volunteer support. Having said that, there comes a point when an excess of volunteers for a team detracts from the main priority, which is our athletes. We conduct an assessment of returning volunteers for each team and will make every effort to accommodate the request for you to work with a specific team. However, we cannot guarantee that team will be in need of additional volunteers. If it is not, we will certainly provide the option for you to join on with another team in need.
If you meet the criteria listed above and want to apply for a volunteer position in our program, please contact our Volunteer Coordinator, Tom Schuneman, via email by clicking on the envelope underneath his name at the top of this page.
Thank you for your interest in MN Special Hockey!
How old do you have to be to volunteer?
At least a freshman in high school.
What roles are available?
We have many on and off ice roles available that have their own impact on the program. Here are some of the most common ones:
(availability varies per team but more help is welcomed!)
On Ice Player Assistant
Team Photo/Video/Social Media
Off Ice Player Assistant
Coaches Coordinator - OPEN
Team Managers Coordinator
Ice Schedule Coordinator
New Program/Team Growth Coordinator
Organizational Planning Committee Member - OPEN SPOTS
Wow that's a lot of opportunities, what does each role do?
Description for organizational roles are provided here. Specific descriptions for team roles are coming soon. For sure, everyone's primary task is to ensure everyone is having fun! For the most part, coaches are responsible for helping players learn the game. On ice assistants help players get around and be involved in the action. Managers help run the team administratively and communicate important news. Photo/Video/Social media people capture great content to share the great stuff happening with their team. Off ice assistants help players with their gear, getting around, on the bench, etc.
What kind of commitment is required?
Our athletes do better with more structure and regular faces helping them week in and week out. Frequently multiple players also need one on one help putting gear on, learning, getting around and staying involved in the action. We only regularly meet once per week on Sundays for about an hour (time of day varies by team and ice schedule) with a little time before and after helping players with gear and mobility (if necessary) and ask that team volunteers attend most, if not all of the regular events like practices and games. There are many events like fundraiser, promotional, fun types that are not part of this requirement but we have no doubt that once you get a taste, you will want to be part of these too! Organizational roles have their commitment requirements outlined in the job descriptions provided above.
Sounds great! Is there any training or certifications required?
The answer depends on your role so we made a handy chart for reference.
Why do coaches and managers need so much training/certifications?
It's very important that volunteers in leadership roles have a strong understanding of the sport, and the situations that may come up and how to handle them. Unfortunate situations happen and we are no exceptions to them. Over the years we've experienced each of the situations covered and want to make sure you are prepared to help.
The team I originally signed up for is apparently 'full', what do I do now?
Each new year is a little different than the past year when it comes to supply and demand for volunteer help. Sometimes a team just doesn't need as much help as another team or all of the needed spots fill quickly. We have to be pretty flexible at times depending where that need is and if we let you know your choice team is full, we will likely ask if you can help with another team that is relatively close. We understand if that just doesn't work out and appreciate you signing up and hope you consider helping next season!
What equipment will I need to help on-ice?
At least, skates and helmets are required. Bring your stick but sometimes you may not need to use it. The rest is up to you, sometimes helpers will wear shin guards. Coaches will be provided materials for their use, as needed.
Can we travel too?
Absolutely. Teams will need help for away games and festivals just like they do for home games or practices.
Whoa, that sounds great but how will I know when these events are happening?
Some events we know about well in advance. Others we find out very shortly before it happens. We try to send out info as soon as we know the finalized important details. The primary methods are sending out a league wide email and posting to our website, which also has an accompanying mobile app you can download, and then sharing via our social media channels. A calendar is available on the website/mobile app that will list the events when we post them. Find us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, Google+, Youtube and LinkedIn.