The D1 Development Group's roots can be traced back to their youth hockey origins in New Jersey. Five of the six current members of the D1 Group grew up playing with one another, or against each other, in New Jersey AAA hockey. They eventually would all go their separate ways following their Bantam years, but would get back together annually to play for their summer league team, The Rockets.
Over the years, their friendships and hockey skills would grow until they found themselves all playing at Division 1 colleges across the nation. With all members earning college degrees, they had a wide variety of options following their university careers. Some went on to play hockey professionally, and others began building a strong foundation for their careers. Despite their different post-graduate ambitions, they made sure to reunite every year to play summer hockey for their hometown men's league team, The Rockets.
One night in 2014 following a Rockets victory, the players in the locker room were reminiscing on the trials and tribulations of playing youth hockey in the New Jersey area. All agreed that so much of their success is owed to their coaches (many of whom play on The Rockets as well). With gratitude to their coaches, and the ambition to start a new elite coaching staff group, The D1 Development Group was born. Members of the D1 Development group see themselves not only as on-ice instructors, but also as educators, providing guidance regarding the different options faced by today’s youth hockey player. All D1 staff members ultimately found success playing at the Division 1 level, yet each and every one took a different route, and had different goals in mind to get there. The D1 Development Group wants to offer advice and insight into each and every option for their players, so that they can decide for themselves which path is best fit for him/her.
Get to know our Staff !
Check below to view some of their quotes:
"This group is designed to get the most experienced, young and energetic coaches in the area on the ice at the same time with your son/daughter. We pride ourselves on being students of the game and are always adjusting and tweaking our coaching styles to bring new ideas and concepts to the game of hockey. We will challenge each player to understand why we are working on a certain skill, and not to just perform them. Hockey moves so fast that having an understanding of the game, or 'hockey sense', is a skill that will help propel each player to reach their full potential." -Mike Atkinson
"To me, hockey has been, and always will be much, much more than just a game. Since playing as a child, hockey has taught me self-discipline, work ethic, time management, communication skills, and most importantly leadership. The skills I learned on the ice ultimately would prove invaluable for success off the ice in the classroom, and in the workforce. My goal is for The D1 Development Group to provide your son/daughter with a strong foundation of skills for success both on and off the rink. I have the fullest confidence in our abilities as instructors, and in our commitment to developing today's youth in the most fun and professional manner." - Kevin Crane
"One of the hardest things to do as a hockey player is getting out of the 'comfort zone'. At D1 Development, we want to encourage kids that it is fine to make mistakes when they are trying new things to enhance their craft. This will eventually lead to a bigger and more refined skill set. As a former professional nearing the age of 30, I’m still learning new things about my game, and the most important thing I’ve learned is that all hockey players can always improve those intangibles that make us better hockey players and better people." - Zane Kalemba