Despite unprecedented challenges faced over the past year, Evanston High School Hockey’s recent family / player survey indicated that EHSH managed to shine bright even during challenging times.
This season’s survey was streamlined and restructured with the goal of focusing more strongly on key measures that reflect our core organizational mission and values. Families were asked about their perceptions of their team’s culture, constructive coaching and communication of expectations, and the balance between team success and a positive competitive environment. Players were provided an opportunity to provide specific feedback on their team coaches, and a separate survey was distributed to every EHSH coach in order to understand their experience and to identify potential areas for improvement.
By all measures, the 2020-21 EHSH survey indicated a highly successful season. Participation was enthusiastic, with approximately 30% more families and players completing the survey in comparison to last season.
“We’d like to thank all families, players and coaches for taking the time to complete our annual survey,” said EHSH co-presidents Dani Barker and Marina Marich. “As always, we remain committed to taking the feedback and looking for ways to continue to improve an already strong program. This was a season unlike any other, and we are proud that we were able to offer players the opportunity to play hockey while prioritizing safety for all.”
Some Other Key Metrics
According to the numbers, the vast majority of players and families were “very satisfied” or “satisfied” with their overall EHSH experience according to the new core satisfaction measures. More than 75% of respondents were ‘satisfied’ or ‘very satisfied’ with on-ice practice time and number of games, a testament to the hard work of team managers who found hockey opportunities throughout the season despite unpredictable circumstances.
The program’s net promoter score, based on the question “How likely is it that you would recommend Evanston High School Hockey to a friend or colleague?", dramatically increased – a six fold increase – compared to last season. And lastly, 100% of coaches gave the past season high marks.
Beyond the numbers and perhaps more encouraging than any survey metric, were numerous comments received along with the survey responses.
• “This was my best season ever”
• “This was a big step up from last season”
• “Program struck the right balance between covid policies, allowing games while protecting player safety”
• “We appreciated the coaches and manager finding every way to play”
• “We managed to have a season in the middle of pandemic”
• “Kids all got along well, had fun and learned a lot!”
• “Keeping things going as best you could through covid was a huge accomplishment”
Next Steps and Action Items
For all organizations, there are always areas of improvement. For EHSH, there were a few areas that were identified in the survey.
Hockey director office hours: Some families indicated that they weren’t aware of the newly available office hours for Del. The office hours provide players and families the opportunity to meet with Del to talk about each player’s individual skill development. The board is committed to increasing awareness of the office hours, especially as we move into a more typical post-pandemic season.
Consistent coach communications: Overall, coaches did a solid job at communicating with families. Some feedback indicated that families and players were looking for more consistent updates and communication from coaches throughout the season. The board remains committed to working with our hockey director and team managers to continue the positive trend of identifying more communication opportunities from coaches to families.
Board liaison awareness: On the survey, some families indicated that they weren’t aware of their team’s board liaison. The board liaison serves as a communication channel between a team and the board. The board will increase efforts to make those liaisons better known in the fall season.
During a year of missed milestones for many high school students, this year’s EHSH survey results indicate that our hockey community has reason to be grateful for a season that proved to be a valuable and widely appreciated outlet. The EHSH board and leadership are committed to continuous improvement, and we will continue to track survey results annually at the end of each season, along with short-form ‘pulse surveys’ distributed twice during the season. Please watch for those SurveyMonkey invitations, and know that your input is valued and essential.
We hope all of our families enjoyed what turned out to be a busy spring season -- a welcome change compared to the sudden shutdown of spring 2020. And after the year it's been, we all deserve something to look forward to. That is why we are very pleased to share lots of great things happening with Evanston High School Hockey (EHSH).
First, we are thrilled to announce that Evanston High School Hockey will be introducing new jerseys for the fall season. The jerseys will feature a new look to align with the "E" branding in the new Robert Crown Center, and will also help distinguish the high school program within the overall Evanston Hockey program. Families will purchase the jerseys so players can keep their number during their high school playing days AND can keep the jerseys even after they graduate. A big thank you to high school board member Mark Hansen for leading this effort.
To ensure that we have the new jerseys on time, we will be opening fall tryout registration early this year. Families will be asked to register for fall tryouts in early to mid-June and will order their jerseys at that time; players will also have early access to pick their jersey number. An added benefit of opening tryout registration early is that we'll be able to better plan for the fall around coaching and ice needs. Be on the lookout for more information coming soon.
We'd also like to thank all of the families who completed this year's program survey. The results were overwhelmingly positive. Thank you for trusting EHSH to provide your children with a worthwhile athletic experience. We don't take our responsibility lightly and will continue to work toward our mission of providing high schoolers the opportunity to play competitive high school-level hockey. Be sure to read the story.
As we officially close the books on the 2020-21 season, we are proud to report that our high school organization is in a strong financial position. As such, we are pleased to share there will not be a fee increase for the 2021-22 high school season. As a non-profit, we work hard to remain fiscally responsible while meeting our operating expenses. We'd like to acknowledge our finance committee for a job well done, especially Joe Maguire, who retired from the board this year after many years of dedicated service.
A few other things to highlight:
- Be sure to check out and sign up for our summer high school skates. Our HS hockey director Del Morris set up a fun and flexible program to keep kids skating all summer. Read more and register here.
- We've renewed our agreement with the Positive Coaching Alliance, and will offer a workshop for HS players in the fall. Read more here.
- Save the date! The Evanston Hockey Marathon is happening again and we've locked in Friday, Aug. 27-Saturday, Aug. 28 for the 24-hour marathon. More details are coming soon.
Finally, enjoy the warmer weather and hope to see you at the rink soon! Go Kits!
Evanston High School Hockey
The spring season is over and summer vacation is here. It’s time to take a breath, get outside and have some fun with friends.
Whatever you have planned for the summer, it’s essential to stay fit and active. Learn a new sport or skill that improves your quickness, balance, hand-eye coordination and overall athleticism. Hit the tennis courts or golf course. Get together with your teammates for some beach volleyball.
Summer is a time for fun and relaxation, but it also offers the perfect opportunity to re-dedicate yourself to fitness. Develop cardio and strength workout routines and stick to them. Challenge yourself. You’ll be glad you did come August, when all Evanston High School Hockey players will take a pre-season fitness test.
For those who need ideas, I will be sending out summer workout schedules in the coming weeks. I also strongly recommend signing up for at least one session of strength camp at Evanston Township High School. All ETHS students are eligible. You can find information about the camps by clicking here.
Summer is also a great time to get better at hockey. The easiest way to do that is to sign up for the EHSH summer program at Robert Crown, which runs from June 14 to Aug. 6 and will include skills and intra-squad scrimmages. You can find more details and register for the program by clicking here.
That’s not all you can do. Sign up for drop-ins or hockey camps around town. Grab a stick and a puck or golf ball and practice your stick-handling and shooting. If you need some drills, check out this article from Minnesota Hockey.
I’m really looking forward to a fun and successful 2021-2022 season. I hope you are too. The preparation for it starts now. Have a great summer.
Evanston High School Hockey renews PCA partnership
Evanston High School Hockey has renewed its partnership with the Positive Coaching Alliance for the 2021-2022 season.
Founded in 1998, the PCA exists to advance a single mission: to help youth sports clubs build a positive culture within their organizations. Advised by sports icons including Phil Jackson, Steve Kerr and Brandi Chastain, the non-profit offers training and other resources for coaches, players and parents.
Workshops, led by experienced coaches, are central to the organization’s mission, giving players, coaches and parents the opportunity to think deeply about what it means to support each other to bring out the best in ourselves on and off the ice. EHSH coaches participated in two PCA workshops last season. Players, parents and board members have participated in workshops in prior years.
At the beginning of the 2021-2022 season, the non-profit will host a workshop for all high-school players. Be on the lookout for more details as the date gets closer.
“The PCA is a key resource for our program when we think about the values we want our players to live by during their high school years and far beyond,” said EHSH Director Del Morris. “We all want to teach them the skills to succeed on the ice, both individually and as a team. But competition offers the opportunity to teach so much more. The PCA gives us the tools to maximize that opportunity.”
The PCA has an abundance of free materials on its website for athletes and parents interested in learning how to compete and live by its principles. Click here to visit the PCA’s Development Zone Resource Center.
In hockey, being able to stop and start quickly is essential if you want to succeed on the ice. In this on-again, off-again pandemic season, it also has been essential off the ice.
The season has tested all of us—players, coaches, parents, volunteers—in ways we never imagined. But I am proud of the way our organization has responded.
Players showed up at practice ready to work hard without knowing when they’d be able to test themselves against outside competition. Coaches showed flexibility and patience and kept practices interesting and fresh. Parents offered their players encouragement and support. Board members and managers mastered the art of the pivot amid ever-changing circumstances, including game cancellations and shifting COVID-19 restrictions.
Thank you to everyone involved in Evanston High School Hockey who made the season possible. It was frustrating for all of us at times, but it worked out in the end.
I think I speak for everyone by saying I’m looking forward to a spring season that feels a little more typical. For many of us, the last several weeks have been hectic to say the least, with an especially full calendar of games to make up for lost time. I hope everyone gets an opportunity to take a deep breath during spring break and enjoy a week away from hockey. Recharge your batteries and come back with fresh legs, a clear mind and an eagerness to get back to work. I know I will.
Presidents Message: An Unforgettable Season & Look Ahead
What a whirlwind of a season! Even with the fits and starts, we managed to get our high school teams on the ice for hundreds of hours for games and indoor and outdoor practices. And with a season that stretched an extra four weeks from our typical last day, in some strange way it has almost felt like the season would never end.
But, like all things worth their weight in hockey gold, the fall/winter 2020-21 season is coming to a close.
Before we officially close the books, we want to share a few quick updates. We will be sharing an end-of-season survey for parents and players once the season ends. This feedback allows the board to evaluate additional ways to further improve the program and the experience for all players. We encourage everyone to provide feedback.
While Covid-limitations will not allow for a program-wide gathering to celebrate the season, we are looking at the possibility of team-specific celebrations. Stay tuned for more info on that as well as collecting your player’s game jerseys.
Now, looking ahead. The board has been actively working with high school Hockey Director Del Morris to put in place a high school spring program that combines skills and fun. If your player hasn’t yet signed up, we encourage you to do so soon. Tryouts start on March 23; see all the details and register by clicking here.
In the coming weeks and months, we will also be sharing exciting news about new jerseys for our players to don in the fall, which we’re hoping will resemble the fall seasons of past. The board is currently evaluating design options, and will be sharing more details as they become available.
The board has also renewed the program’s partnership with the Positive Coaching Alliance for the 2021/2022 season. Our partnership next season will likely include an early season workshop for all high school players. EHSH coaches attended two workshops this season.
Speaking of the board, we’d like to thank our retiring board members and welcome our newest board members. Evanston High School Hockey is an all-volunteer board; we couldn’t do it without these dedicated members. Read more about them by clicking here.
Don’t forget that we share a lot of information about our club via our social channels. Follow Evanston High School Hockey on Instagram (@evanstonhshockey), Facebook (@evanstonhshockey and @EvanstonGirlsVarsityHockey) and Twitter (@EvanstonHigh). And be sure to check out photos from our recent Senior Night – where we celebrated our graduating players – and our 7th & 8th Grade Skate with HS Coaches – where we welcomed our future graduating players. We are proud of all of our Wildkits past, present and future!
Finally, we want to thank all of our families, coaches and fans for supporting our organization and players throughout this season. There is no doubt that we’ll be talking about it for years to come. And while the world is not quite where it was pre-Covid, Evanston High School Hockey continues to look ahead and plan for the future.
If this were a typical year, we’d be getting ready right about now for the final push of the regular season and playoffs. Even though this past year has been anything but typical, we still find ourselves in this moment forging ahead to find new opportunities to play hockey.
And it appears that there could be some good news ahead with the Illinois Department of Health’s new guidance that could make it possible for games to return to Robert Crown. Like you, we are watching it closely and will be sharing any updates as soon as we receive them. We also want to emphasize that if the regular season begins, the expectation is that all players prioritize being back on the ice for practices and games based on each family’s comfort level.
Focusing on safety has always been our goal, and we’re pleased that we’ve been able to offer hockey opportunities while keeping that goal at the forefront. As such, we’re thrilled that high schoolers are back on the ice at Robert Crown for team practices.
In other good news, we are actively planning a recognition for our seniors. If you have ideas or are interested in helping, please reach out to board member Mike Kuhn (
) who is leading this effort.
We’d also like to welcome our rising 9th grade families who are receiving this HS newsletter for the first time. As you may know, current 8th graders will be eligible to play high school hockey in the spring. Even though we don’t have a confirmed, definitive date of when the current HS season ends and the spring begins, we remain committed to keeping you informed of relevant details. Stay tuned for information on a special event – Skate with the HS Coaches – that will be taking place soon. It’s an opportunity for our HS coaches to get to know current 7th and 8th graders who are interested in playing high school hockey.
We can’t thank our players, families, coaches, hockey director and board members enough for going on this journey with us. And what a journey it has been! Now is the time for others to step up and be part of the decision-making process for the future. We are seeking new board members to join the all-volunteer HS board. Specifically, we’re looking for people with technical skills to lead our tech and digital needs and a girl’s hockey representative, and generally we’re looking for people with enthusiasm and commitment to support a great high school organization. Click here to fill out the application or reach out to us with questions (
Finally, please continue following public health and safety guidelines, including wearing masks, washing hands and socially distancing. Let’s keep our community safe so we can play more hockey. Go Kits!
Evanston High School Hockey approves new mission statement
The Evanston High School Hockey board recently approved a mission statement for the high school program, another step in its effort to build its own identity under the Evanston Hockey umbrella.
The new statement embraces many of the same goals and values stressed in the Evanston Youth Hockey Association mission statement while recognizing the different expectations that come with playing at the high-school level. It reads as follows:
The mission of Evanston HS Hockey (EHSH) is to provide boys and girls attending Evanston Township High School (and neighboring communities, where applicable) the opportunity to play competitive high school-level hockey. EHSH is a diverse program that is rooted in skills development, sportsmanship, outstanding and positive coaching, leadership skills, strong character development and camaraderie. While the program is competitive and ambition-filled, this approach ensures our Student Athletes experience a positive, inclusive environment that will have lasting impact beyond their years as EHSH Wildkits.
EHSH became a separate legal entity from EYHA in 2019, but the two programs and the Evanston Junior Wildkits still work closely together to provide the best possible experience for young players who move up through Evanston Hockey.
As Evanston High School Hockey looks ahead to the 2021-2022 season, the program is seeking volunteers to join its board. Each year, the board elects new officers and members, which comprise volunteers a two-year term. Terms may be renewed once.
The board oversees the administration of the program and is a great way to give back to the program that gives so much to our children. We encourage everyone to consider filling out a form as we look to our families to help make our program better and better every year.
Click here to fill out the nomination form. Deadline to submit: Feb. 9
Presidents message: An eventful-and thankful-high school season
Presidents Message: An Eventful -- and Thankful -- High School Season
In a year of many unknowns, there is one thing we know for sure: We are thankful for our families and coaches who have entrusted us and the members of the high school board to be flexible as we navigate this interesting time along with all of you.
For those of you who don’t know us, we are the co-presidents of the Evanston High School Hockey (EHSH) board. Like you, we too have children in the high school program, and we take our responsibility seriously to continuously evaluate how we can offer a positive athletic experience to our members while keeping safety protocols at the forefront and while following all health and safety guidelines.
Although navigating and evaluating options to play hockey safely during a pandemic has been our focus this season, believe it or not, EHSH has also been working on other efforts as we continue administering the program. Many of these are highlighted in this newsletter.
• Read about our inaugural pulse survey. We want to thank everyone who took the time to provide their feedback.
• Don’t forget about office hours. While these may not be the same as we remember during our college days, with technology and social distancing, our office hours give families a chance to set up time with our Hockey Director Del Morris to talk about their player and the program. Email
to set up a time.
• Remember that each team has a dedicated board liaison. We enhanced this program to give families additional opportunities to provide feedback throughout the season about their experiences. Not sure who yours is? Reach out to
to find out.
• Ask your coaches about their experience with Positive Coaching Alliance. The board approved two PCA workshops with high school coaches this season – one took place at the start of the season and another is coming up soon. There are great resources for parents too; check them out here.
• Be on the lookout for mid-season player evaluations. Hockey Director Del has charged the high school coaches with getting mid-season player evaluations to everyone ahead of the holiday break.
• Recognize your student-athletes for being just that: student-athletes. We commend them for balancing a challenging remote learning environment with athletics. For some, one sport isn’t enough. Read about Varsity player Campbell Wagener to learn more about one of our student-athletes. Tell us about your student-athlete! Email their story to
so we can feature them in an upcoming newsletter.
Finally, we can’t say this enough. Thank you. Thank you to our families, to our coaches, to our board members and everyone associated with EHSH who supports the program. We wish you a wonderful, safe and healthy time with your family during this holiday season.
Evanston High School Hockey