Future Olympic coach Katey Stone hosts girls' clinic

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Future Olympic coach Katey Stone hosts girls' clinic

LINCOLNWOOD -- The Under-14 girls took turns fighting for control of the puck, pushing each other as if they were competing for a spot on a team.

On Saturday, these were just drills. But they were also drills led by one of the most successful coaches in Division I womens ice hockey history and coach of the U.S. Olympic womens team.

Katey Stone, who was named 2014 U.S. womens Olympic hockey coach back in June, led a clinic with Chicago Young Americans girls hockey players at American Heartland Arena on Saturday. Stone, who has the most Division I womens hockey victories among active coaches (378 at Harvard University) ran separate sessions for U14, U16 and U19 girls. Longtime friend Kenny McCudden, the Chicago Wolves skating and skills coach, also helped run the clinic.

For Stone, theres nothing like the game of hockey.

It empowers women, young women, to do something at a highly intense level and be successful at it, Stone said. Its fast, its competitive and its so different than any other game.

For the girls who participated, working with Stone was a tremendous opportunity.

Its fun because she has so much experience. Shes a really great coach and really an inspiration, said 14-year-old Shea Nelson of Evanston. Its fun to be on the ice with someone with that much history of hockey. It makes the whole game that much better.

Amelia Murray, 14, of Crystal Lake, said it was an enjoyable day.

She just tried to get us to have fun, said Murray, who switched to hockey from figure skating after her dad told her she was too fast for the latter. We were working on skills, but she was making sure we had fun at the same time. We also get to know what we need to know for college. CYA, all these teams, their goal is to get you into a great college.

Stone grew up at a time when girls playing hockey was truly a rarity. She began playing when she was three, when she and her older brothers would get on the pond in front of her house in Connecticut. She was the only girl playing at the squirt level, with only a few more playing at the bantam level. But being one of few girls playing didnt stop Stone.

Some came after you a little bit, but it was good for me, Stone said. I held my own and learned a lot of lessons. The prep school where my dad worked had a girls team, and from that point on I played.

Flash-forward to today, when these girls have so many more opportunities to play. There were more than 100 girls combined at Saturdays clinic, and Stone said the lessons they learn from playing are immeasurable.

We never went overnight to a tournament; it was always local, just in and out. For these kids, that transition going to college now is so much easier, she said. They play a ton of games, travel a lot and learn how to manage everything else in their life, which is critical.

Still, a few more lessons from Stone didnt hurt.

She taught us that, if you make a bad play, just get over it and make up for it. Dont sweat it, Nelson said. A lot of times in games if I make a bad play, I just keep focusing on it the rest of the game. Its good to just let go.

Hockey paved a great path for Stone I couldnt be luckier, honestly, she said. Now hockey is giving another generation of girls the tools to succeed, on and off the ice.

One of the biggest things for me is the willingness to prepare. Its one thing to be competitive but how willing are you to really prepare and put yourself in a position to win? Stone said. Thats something that women thrive on, and thats why women in business and everything in life have been so successful. Theyve had great opportunities and theyve made the most of the ones theyve had.

Hawks Talk Podcast: Blackhawks' bottom six steps up in Colorado

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Hawks Talk Podcast: Blackhawks' bottom six steps up in Colorado

On the latest Hawks Talk Podcast, Pat Boyle and Jamal Mayers discuss the bottom six carrying the Blackhawks to a come-from-behind win over the Colorado Avalanche on Tuesday night.

Later, Mayers weighs in on possible targets with the NHL trade deadline just six weeks away.

Listen to the latest episode of the Hawks Talk Podcast below:

Playing close to home a special experience for Hartman, Hinostroza families

Playing close to home a special experience for Hartman, Hinostroza families

DENVER — When Ryan Hartman went to Michigan at age 16 to play with the U.S. National Development Team, his father Craig moved the whole family there, too. Craig wanted Ryan to stay close with his brother, who's several years younger.

The move was worthwhile but not easy. Craig traveled back and forth to Chicago for his work, and the stay in Michigan, originally expected to be two years, turned into four when Ryan played for the Plymouth Whalers.

Now when the Hartmans want to see Ryan, whether it was in Rockford last season or in Chicago this season, it's less than an hour away from their West Dundee home.

"Either transition's been great because I've been seeing him a lot, taking care of his dog when he's on the road," Craig said. "It's pretty cool when he comes and sees his little brother play hockey. It's pretty amazing to have him home. If he's in any other city, he'd be gone. It's special to have him here."

For many of the fathers currently on the Blackhawks' dads trip, this excursion is one of maybe a handful of times they'll get to see their sons play in a season. But for Craig Hartman and Rick Hinostroza, Vinnie Hinostroza's dad, their sons play for the hometown team. They get to see them at least half of the season. And for both of them, it's an incredible feeling.

"It's pretty unbelievable to be able to just drive, depending on how traffic is, it could take us a little over an hour to get there. But just to be able to be home in 35 minutes and we get to sit and talk to him after a game or go out to dinner, things like that," Rick Hinostroza said. "It's really nice, and we'll take it as long as we can."

Craig and Rick are also enjoying their first dads trip, which began in Denver and now goes to Boston. Ryan Hartman said it's been a great experience for him and his father.

"It's my first year here and (it's a chance) for him to be able to see what we go through on the road, so he has a better idea of what I'm doing when I'm gone all the time. I'm sure it's good for him to be here and see that," Hartman said. "And just being on the road with him, it's a cool experience. I'm glad to have him here."

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Vinnie Hinostroza said this was the first hockey trip he'd been on with his dad since his midget hockey days.

"It's so special to bring him along, where he used to bring me and pay for the hotels and everything. It's nice he gets to enjoy this," Hinostroza said. "It's special for us to have them here. They sacrifice so much for us growing up, taking us on hockey trips."

Rick Hinostroza got his first taste of how his son travels on this trip. The elder Hinostroza was impressed, from the charter jet to the hospitality that wasn't the usual commercial-flight can of soda and bag of pretzels.

"The attendants going back and forth, asking if I wanted something to eat and here you have this list, a choice of all this stuff. I'm used to the attendant coming around with the cart and you get what you get when you get it," he said. "To be exposed to that and see just how the organization treats the families and players, it's pretty neat. It's really surreal."

But as important as playing in hometown Chicago is for Hartman and Hinostroza's parents, it means so much to the players as well.

"It's a blessing, really, having them so close," said Ryan, who sees his younger brother play hockey whenever he can. "It's nice. You don't have to plan a trip for them to come, and you don't have to be waiting for the next time you're going to see them. Sometimes there are off days when I go home and relax with them. It's definitely nice to have."

The latest Blackhawks' dads trip will end this weekend. Most of the fathers will head back to their respective homes, most of which are a good distance from Chicago. For the Hartmans and Hinostrozas, the return to Chicago means being back home and continuing to live the dream of watching their sons play here.

"I've gotten to meet a lot of fathers and having a nice time," Craig Hartman said. "It's fantastic. Growing up in the city — I was born probably about 15 blocks from the UC — being part of this and having my kid play with the Blackhawks, it's crazy."