Over the course of their combined careers, Dallas Drake and Doug Zmolek played in nearly 1,500 games in the National Hockey League.
Along the way, they played for countless coaches who helped to shape their games as they progressed from youth hockey, through the college ranks and into the NHL. And now that they’ve retired, it’s time for them to give back to the game and help the next generation of young hockey players.
Despite growing up thousand of miles apart, Drake in Trail, British Columbia, and Zmolek in Rochester, Minn., both credit their rise to the highest levels of the game to coaches who nurtured their skill development rather than the physical aspects of their games.
Still, when it came time to play in the NHL, both earned reputations are hard-nosed players – Drake, as a tenacious checker, and Zmolek, a strong and steady defensemen.
So when USA Hockey’s board of directors passed the Progressive Checking Skill Development Program at its 2011 Annual Congress, both men knew it was the right thing to do for their own kids and youth players around the country.
“The checking had gotten out of control,” Zmolek, who coaches his son, William's team in Rochester, wrote in an email to USA Hockey. Read more