One State, One Goal: Introducing First State Ice Hockey
Four individuals from within the Delaware ice hockey community have joined forces to form First State Ice Hockey, LLC, a new organization committed to growing the game in Delaware.
First State Ice Hockey has declared a threefold mission to build youth hockey in Delaware by creating opportunities for more Delaware youth to play ice hockey; to promote a unified state-wide goal of helping every participant strive toward their full potential; and to provide fun, inviting and fulfilling opportunities for each player to develop, regardless of age and skill level.
“We need a positive environment for the players to feel comfortable to grow at their own pace,” said Sean Cannon, who will serve as chief operating officer and director of hockey operations. “With proper coaching and individual development goals, we can build that environment.”
The First State Ice Hockey group will be led on the ice by Cannon, whose coaching experience runs the gamut from mites to the collegiate and junior levels. The New York native spent four seasons coaching the Valley Forge (Pa.) Minutemen of the competitive Atlantic Youth Hockey League and most recently served as the hockey director at the Patriot Ice Center in Newark, Del.
“We’re setting out to modernize and grow the game of hockey in Delaware in all aspects — club, middle school, high school, recreational,” continued Cannon. “We want to offer youth hockey players in Delaware an avenue that’s never been brought to them before. There will be roads to many levels based upon what each individual player strives for.
“I believe change in Delaware ice hockey is needed for the game to be healthy.”
To not only help grow the game but to also build a culture around player development, Cannon has assembled a team with years of management and media relations experience, not to mention ample hockey IQ.
Frank Catterton, who brings over four decades of banking and financial services management experience and 12 years serving on executive boards of youth sports organizations to First State Ice Hockey, has been named chief financial officer of the new organization.
“In the youth sports arena, very few organizations seem to focus on maximizing the customer experience,” said Catterton. “A significant amount of time and money is invested by families; we are going to focus on maximizing the return on that investment.”
John Sidoriak, who has been involved in youth hockey as a coach and manager for over 15 years, brings a wealth of team and league administrative experience from the Minutemen, the Delaware Stars and the Delaware High School Hockey League into his role as president and general manager, while University of Delaware play-by-play commentator and Delaware Hockey Night founder James Witherite has been enlisted as First State Ice Hockey’s director of communications.
First State Ice Hockey will offer development opportunities for players and coaches of all ages and skill levels throughout the state, and will also unveil two teams of their own: the First State Flames, who will begin play in the 2020-21 season; and the First State Inferno, who will compete this spring and summer. Details will be finalized in the coming weeks.