Wisconsin Youth Hockey Forum

The Ultimate Guide for Players and Parents

The Wisconsin Youth Hockey Forum is a must-attend event for top youth hockey players and involved parents in Wisconsin looking to take their game to the next level. Throughout this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about the Wisconsin Youth Hockey Forum, including the activities and training offered, how to prepare, and how to get recruited.

What is the Wisconsin Youth Hockey Forum?

Wisconsin Youth Hockey
Wisconsin Youth Hockey

The Wisconsin Youth Hockey Forum is an annual 3-day event held in Madison, WI that brings together elite youth hockey players ages 8-17, top coaches and recruiters, and engaged parents from across the state.

The forums key focus is on

  • Advanced on-ice training
  • Off-ice conditioning and workout tips
  • Recruiting combine to get noticed by college programs
  • Educational seminars for players and parents

Over 300 players participate each year. The event allows young athletes to develop critical hockey skills, learn from coaches at top state programs like the University of Wisconsin, and get direct exposure to college recruiters.

Key benefits of attending include:

  • Significant ice time for drills and scrimmages
  • Direct feedback from coaches on areas to improve
  • Building connections early on in recruiting process
  • Learning best practices for nutrition, training, and hockey performance

For parents, the Wisconsin Youth Hockey Forum provides insight into the player development pathway and sets expectations for higher levels of competition.

History of the Wisconsin Youth Hockey Forum

The Wisconsin Youth Hockey Forum was founded in 2004 by local Wisconsin hockey coaches and recruiters that recognized a need for an event catered specifically to educating talented youth players on reaching the next levels.

Over nearly 20 years, the forum has become established as the top off-season training event in Wisconsin for PeeWee, Bantam and Midget AAA and AA hockey players to develop their skills.

Many forum alumni have gone on to play NCAA Division 1 hockey and a handful have been drafted into the NHL, proving that the instruction and exposure provided clearly accelerates development.

Wisconsin Youth Hockey Forum Events and Activities

The Wisconsin Youth Hockey Forum runs drills, instructional sessions, and info sessions across three action-packed days. Here’s an overview of main events:Wisconsin Youth Hockey Events and Activities

On-Ice Development

Each day starts early with intense, structured on-ice practices tailored to the players’ positions. Players are split into small groups of about 20 based on position – forwards, defensemen and goalies.

Forward on-ice session – 75 minutes

  • Position-specific drills like left wing triangular passing
  • Net-front tips and screens
  • Breakout and zone entry fundamentals
  • Defending the rush
  • Video session analyzing a college game’s forward positioning

Defensemen on-ice session – 75 minutes

  • Gap control and angling
  • Boxing out forwards in front of the net
  • Shooting drills for getting pucks to the net
  • 2 on 1 defensive tactics
  • Video examples of college defensemen initiation breakouts

Goaltenders on-ice session – 75 minutes

  • Movement and save selection drills
  • High shot volume simulations
  • Breakaway save techniques
  • Goalie-specific video analysis session

The segmented practices allow concentrated repetition in fundamental areas tailored to excelling specifically at each position.

Off-Ice Training

Off-Ice Training

While the on-ice sessions focus on hockey-specific development, the off-ice training zones in on athletic performance, strength and conditioning.

Off-ice showcase combine

The off-ice combine puts players athletic capabilities on display for coaches and recruiters:

  • 40-yard dash
  • Pro agility shuttle run
  • Vertical leap tests
  • Muscular endurance tests like push-ups, chin-ups and plank holds
  • Sport-specific movement sessions – lateral shuffle, jump rope

Data is recorded to benchmark current athlete ability levels and the top performers are recognized.

Additional off-ice sessions

Supplemental off-ice training sessions educate players on elite training methodologies:

  • Speed ladder footwork drills
  • Position-specific strength plans – squats, deadlifts
  • Injury prevention mobility sessions
  • Stickhandling drills without skates using special balls
  • Hydration and recovery best practices

Educational Seminars

For players:

  • Healthy pre-game meal prep cooking class – sample meals
  • Film study of NHL shifts – discuss positioning
  • Making hockey fun while pursuing Division 1 – managing expectations
  • Q&A with former players on junior hockey vs college

For parents:

  • Recognizing and preventing overuse injuries
  • Getting the most out of high-level hockey – budgeting, time management
  • Hockey equipment sizing, safety standards
  • Player development benchmarks by age

The educational seminars give players insider tips for performing at higher levels and give parents the information needed to set their child up for long-term success.

Recruiting Combine

The recruiting combine is the marquee event of the Wisconsin Youth Hockey Forum:

Showcase scrimmages

  • Eight fast-paced 30-minute games over two days
  • Chance to demonstrate game skills against top competition

Skills competitions Opportunities for individual players to shine:

  • Fastest skater – forward and backward
  • Hardest wrist & slap shot
  • Puck control drills – obstacle courses
  • Accuracy shooting – hit small targets

College coaches get data on player attributes like speed, power and technical ability from the skills competitions.

Player interviews

  • All players meet 1 on 1 with college staff
  • Coaches assess player potential and interest level
  • Players ask questions about programs
  • Contact info exchanged for follow-ups

The recruiter combine gives players plenty of chances to display talents and have focused conversations with programs they may potentially join in future years.

Preparing for the Wisconsin Youth Hockey Forum

To maximize your participation in the Wisconsin Youth Hockey Forum, adequate preparation is a must.

Here is a checklist of what to take care of leading up to the event:

Registration Deadlines

Registration fills up fast once it opens in January. Spots are confirmed on a first-come, first-served basis:

  • 250 skater spots total – 175 forwards, 50 defensemen, 25 goalies
  • 50 player waiting list in case of cancellations
  • Payment must be submitted within 2 weeks of registering

Forums Venues

The Wisconsin Youth Hockey Forum utilizes top local facilities:

  • On-ice sessions at LaBahn Arena (2 sheets)
  • Off-ice training at Ford Center fitness complex
  • Educational seminars at Gordon Events Center theater


Book accommodations for the 3-day event at one of the recommended hotels nearby the forum venues. Hotels offer reduced Wisconsin Youth Hockey Forum rates:

  • Hyatt Place Madison/Downtown – $199 per night
  • Hilton Garden Inn Madison Downtown – $175 per night
  • Hampton Inn & Suites Madison – $169 per night
  • AC Marriott Madison Downtown $185 per night

Packing Checklist

Use this checklist to avoid forgetting any hockey gear or training necessities:

  • Hockey skates, helmet, shoulder pads, gloves
  • hockey & Training jerseys, under armour
  • Sticks, skate guards, tape, pants, cup
  • off-ice shoes – running, turf or cross-trainers
  • workout clothes, compression gear, shorts
  • toiletries – deodorant, athletic soap, etc
  • healthy snacks – protein bars, fruits
  • multi-vitamins, melatonin for sleep

Player Profile

Forum organizers recommend submitting your player profile by mid-May for optimum visibility:

  • Contact info – cell, email, address
  • Jersey number, handedness, position
  • Recent hockey stats if available
  • Wisconsin youth hockey tournaments participation and accolades
  • GPA, academic interests

Getting Recruited at the Wisconsin

The main draw of attending the Wisconsin Youth Hockey Forum for top youth players in Wisconsin is the chance to get noticed by college programs looking for talent.

The recruiting combine brings together coaches from over 25 NCAA D1 and D3 colleges across the Midwest with rosters to fill who use the Forum to scout prospects they’ll track for future recruitment.

Schools that actively scout the forum include:

  • University of Wisconsin
  • University of Minnesota Duluth
  • St. Cloud State University
  • University of Nebraska Omaha
  • St. Thomas University Minnesota
  • Milwaukee School of Engineering
  • Lake Forest College

Here are tips for maximizing recruiting opportunities at the forum:

  • Treat all scrimmages and drills like game situations
  • Consistently demonstrate best skills – shooting accuracy, ice vision
  • Initiate conversations with college coaches when possible
  • Collect business cards and take notes on coach conversations
  • Follow up within 2 weeks with any interested coaches

It’s important to note that only roughly 15 of the 300 players get recruited directly out of the forum by college programs looking for players 2-3 years out.

More commonly, coaches flag sophomores / juniors as players they want to actively track over the next seasons before extending a recruitment offer down the line when roster spots open up.

Key Takeaways from Attending

To wrap the guide up, here are the 5 major benefits from attending the Wisconsin Youth Hockey Forum:

  1. Significant ice time with top coaches instructing
  2. Direct recruiting exposure to 25+ college programs
  3. Benchmarking training level compared to elite peers
  4. Learning training best practices from experts
  5. Insight for parents into player development pathway

Attending the prestigious Wisconsin Youth Hockey Forum allows focused training alongside the state’s best and provides a platform to get on the radar of college programs well in advance.

The Wisconsin Youth Hockey Forum is the prime venue for accelerating a youth hockey player’s skills and competitive readiness while establishing vital recruiting connections. We highly recommend adding it to any serious hockey player’s development plan.


What age groups does the Wisconsin Youth Hockey Forum cater to?

The Wisconsin Youth Hockey Forum is designed to serve a broad range of age groups within the youth hockey community. Programs are typically available for players ranging from Mite (6 and under) to Junior (20 and under). Specific age divisions may vary based on the organization and league.

How can my child join a youth hockey team in Wisconsin?

To get your child involved in youth hockey in Wisconsin, start by checking with local hockey associations or clubs. These organizations often have registration periods before each season. Attend informational meetings, complete registration forms, and ensure your child has the necessary equipment. Some wisconsin youth hockey association may also hold tryouts, while others offer introductory programs for beginners.

What equipment does my child need to play youth hockey?

Youth hockey players require essential equipment to ensure their safety and enjoyment on the ice. This typically includes a helmet with a full facemask, shoulder pads, elbow pads, gloves, a protective cup, shin guards, hockey pants, skates, and a hockey stick. Make sure all equipment fits properly and meets safety standards.

Are there opportunities for girls to participate in youth hockey in Wisconsin?

Yes, Wisconsin Youth Hockey Forum encourages and provides opportunities for girls to participate in youth hockey. Many organizations offer girls-only teams or co-ed teams where both boys and girls can play together. The availability of girls’ programs may vary, so it’s recommended to check with local associations for specific details.

How are youth hockey teams structured in Wisconsin?

Youth hockey teams in Wisconsin are typically organized by age groups and skill levels. The Wisconsin youth hockey divisions follow a standard framework set by governing bodies. Teams may be further divided into skill-based categories, such as A, AA, and AAA, to ensure competitive and fair play. Team placement often involves tryouts, and players are grouped accordingly for a balanced and enjoyable hockey experience.

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