AYHL President Sees Youth Hockey Grow
Gene Palecco sees children not only grow as athletes, but in everyday life as well
|The North Jersey Avalanche Squirt Minor team, member of the Atlantic Youth Hockey League, recently became champions of their division at the Bauer World Hockey Invite Tournament in Chicago (Photo/AYHL).|
The number of options available to kids has made the sport more popular, according to Atlantic Youth Hockey League President Gene Palecco. The AYHL fields 100 teams located between Connecticut and Maryland, and range in age from the Squirt Minor division through the Midget 18 division, Palecco says. Of those 100 teams, 46 of them call New Jersey home.
With more children becoming involved in ice hockey, the AYHL teams that represent New Jersey have seen consistent success, Palecco explains.
“Teams from the AYHL and New Jersey tend to fare well on the National stage, generally making it out of the round robins and into the quarter, semi and final games,” he states.
Palecco also thinks that having the Devils involved with certain youth programs helps the league prosper, and provide growth to youth hockey in this area.
|AYHL President Gene Palecco (Photo/Gene Palecco).|
When it comes to being a league president, it is a challenge that sometimes interferes with the aspects of everyday life.
“There are no days off. You’re literally on call 24/7/365, whether it’s a coach, official, player or Organization President, you’re on call as needed,” Palecco says, adding, “Often times, your personal “family time” can suffer, not to mention the conflicts with your “real” job.”
“Excellent time management skills are a byproduct of today’s athlete,” Palecco says, adding that “Juggling demanding academic schedules with their travel hockey commitments, while finding balance is no easy task.”
While hockey may keep Palecco, and others, away from quality family time or working at their primary job, seeing a child succeed is the ultimate thrill for him.
“Knowing that we are making a difference in the lives of children, challenging them to be athletes and develop skills that will shape them in their future careers. Seeing the young mite player grow up to be a competitive Tier I hockey player competing at the highest level all starts at the local level, it starts here in the AYHL.”
For more, head to NJ Youth Hockey Central.