Welcome to the Junior Crusaders, the premier youth hockey organization of Central Massachusetts! The Junior Crusaders offer an affordable program committed to developing our young athletes and fostering a lifelong love of hockey. We endeavor to do this by creating an age appropriate curriculum that focuses on the fundamentals of teamwork, development and, most importantly, FUN!
The Junior Crusaders are proud to offer competitive teams for all age levels. Our programs offer a balance of skill development and competition, with a solid practice program and the opportunity to participate in highly competitive leagues throughout New England.
Our programs are based on USA Hockey’s American Development Model (“ADM”), a framework that focuses on long-term athletic development using the most up-to-date science and statistical analysis. Under the ADM, the Junior Crusaders provide age appropriate, age-specific skill training as the blueprint for the best possible youth hockey experience. To read more about our offerings, click on Junior Crusaders Program Offerings
The Junior Crusaders programs focus on long-term development rather than on short term results. Kids are not “mini adults” and our program recognizes that it is critical to understand the different physiological and cognitive needs of each age group to foster long term growth and fulfillment of athletic potential. As they grow, every athlete has sensitive time periods called windows of trainability where they are most receptive to training stimulus and skill acquisition. The areas that are “open” or “receptive” to development can differ dramatically from one age group to the next and the understanding and focus on these key time periods is critical to the athlete’s long term success. For example, young athletes under 8 years of age are very receptive to agility, but not to endurance or strength training, thus spending time on areas the athlete is not receptive to, not only limits their time spent on the most important areas of training, but may even be harmful or dangerous to the athlete. Athletes only enter these key sensitive stages once in their lifetime and once they are closed, it is extremely challenging to go back and develop those fundamental skills and movement patterns. Athletes who are trained with the understanding and curriculum based around these “windows” develop an incredible foundation, allowing them to continue to build and develop rapidly and to a higher ceiling long term, setting them up to pursue their maximal potential as an athlete.
More information about the ADM and its benefits can be found here: www.admkids.com
The Junior Crusaders take the responsibility of being a leader in youth sports very seriously. Not only are we responsible for building better athletes, we focus on building better people. To do so, the Junior Crusaders are proud to partner with the Positive Coaching Alliance (PCA) and stand firmly against the “win at all costs culture” in youth sports. Our coaches are double goal coaches who strive to win but pledge to never compromise the more important goal of teaching life lessons through sport.
More information about the Positive Coaching Alliance can be found here: www.positivecoach.org
Finally, the Junior Crusaders are proud to be working with Holy Cross Athletics to help build the hockey community in Central Mass. Holy Cross is the premier Division I Hockey Program in Central Massachusetts. Our program shares many of the same core values in helping young individuals develop as athletes, leaders and members of the community through a competitive hockey program that emphasizes excellence, commitment, self-discipline, determination, teamwork and sportsmanship.