USHL Player Development is a division of the League exclusively devoted to enhancing the USHL's communication with, scouting, and recruitment of the very best hockey talent in the United States and internationally. Part of the communication and recruitment process of the top players in the world is to educate and share the unique opportunities the USHL has to offer.
The USHL had 256 NCAA Division I hockey commitments last year and 22 USHL players were chosen in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft. The USHL is the crown jewel of the USA Hockey Development model. The USHL provides an opportunity for players to reach their goals of playing in the NHL while also providing an opportunity to play NCAA hockey.
The USHL represents the best in hockey; the league does not ask you to sacrifice choices. The USHL helps you keep them. A USHL player can play up to 80 games with preseason, regular season, and playoff games. 90% of the games are on the weekends to make sure school work is a priority. Players attend school, have part time jobs, or are regularly doing community service during their free time. Players are able to play and practice in professional facilities. Players regularly play in front of an average of 2,800 fans a game. The team objectives are to win the Clark Cup Playoffs and the Anderson Cup Regular Season Championship. The USHL celebrates what makes hockey great: Commitment, Integrity, Honor, and Excellence on and off the Ice.
USHL Player Development assumes the functions of the USHL's Central Scouting group, previously overseen via a consulting arrangement. USHL Player Development is now managed directly out of the USHL Commissioner's Office. Player Development's focus is to find players who are cut out for the USHL. The USHL is an elite league. Its players have to be prepared mentally and physically to play at a high level at all times. What Player Development looks for are complete players who can adapt to the rigors of a demanding practice and game schedule. When evaluating a player, Player Development ranks the player's skating skills, puck skills, hockey sense, and competitive drive. Most importantly a USHL prospect must be a good teammate and have a character of high quality.
USHL Player Development will be hosting three USHL Combines in Chicago this spring. The purpose of the Combines is to bring the top players in the world to an event where USHL teams can evaluate players before the 2011 USHL Entry Draft and the 2011 USHL Futures Draft. Players will be evaluated on the ice in games and practices. There will also be off-ice testing of strength, speed, agility, and character. The Combines are designed to help USHL teams gather as much information as possible before making their draft day decisions. The Combines are the best way for a player to gain exposure in front of the entire USHL network.
If you are interested in attending a USHL Combine, please complete and submit this form. For purposes of a quality evaluation process for the coaches, only the best players in the world at their respective age groups will be invited.
Rick Comley Jr. - Director of Scouting
Rick Comley, Jr. has joined USHL Player Development in a full-time capacity in the role of Director of Scouting. He was USHL Player Development Coordinator during the 2009-10 season, while also continuing to serve as assistant coach for the Sioux City Musketeers.
"Rick is a true professional in every sense of the word," said USHL Commissioner Skip Prince. "It's been my pleasure to get to know him as we reorganized our player development and scouting efforts under the USHL Player Development umbrella this past year. We're lucky to have someone with his combination of talent and hard work - and scouting at this level takes both. Our thanks as well to the Sioux City Musketeers organization for their graciousness and assistance, both last year and during Rick's transition to this crucial new role for the USHL.”
Comley was instrumental in launching last season's USHL Player Development initiative to help identify and evaluate prospects of the USHL. As the League's top scout, he attended tournaments and events to evaluate young talent throughout the U.S., while also educating both players and parents about the opportunities available in the USHL. Comley also helped conduct the USHL Prospect Combines this spring, a first of its kind player showcase of on-ice competition and off-ice testing for the League's future stars.
Comley also served as Assistant Coach and Recruiting Coordinator for the Musketeers in each of the past two seasons (2008-09 and 2009-10). His USHL experience began in 2004-05 as a scout for the Waterloo Black Hawks. Comley scouted for the Des Moines Buccaneers the following season (2005-06), when the Bucs won the Clark Cup title. He then moved behind the bench in Des Moines to become an assistant coach for two seasons (2006-07 and 2007-08).
"Rick has been a tremendous asset to the Musketeers' organization both as a person and professional," said Luke Strand, Sioux City Musketeers Head Coach and General Manager "Rick's passion and abilities for scouting and recruiting has afforded him this position with the USHL. We are very blessed to have had Rick on board with us and we wish him nothing but the best for his bright future."
Comley is a graduate of Michigan State University where he holds a bachelor's degree in history and earned a master's degree in sports administration. The native of Marquette, Michigan is a part of strong hockey bloodlines, as he is the son of Michigan State University men's hockey coach Rick Comley, Sr.
Barry Bartholomay - California
Barry is in his fifth season as one of the founders and original coaches of the California (So Cal) Titans AAA/AA program in Southern California. He has 22 years coaching experience in California and is currently on staff with the California Titans 18 AAA team. Barry has scouted for several teams at the Tier 1 junior level, including the Tri City Storm in the USHL. He has coached and scouted many players that have developed and advanced to the NCAA, USHL, and the NHL. His son Adam spent three seasons in the USHL playing for the Topeka Scarecrows and the Lincoln Stars. Barry will be focusing on the NAPHL and Bantam Major Hockey in California.
Joseph Bracken - Northeast
Joe has been an Assistant Coach and Director of Hockey Operations for the Boston Advantage Hockey Club since 2007. The Boston Advantage are a member of the T1EL. A four-year member of the Saint Anselm College Hockey team, Bracken is also Director of Operations for Lovell’s Hockey Schools. Joe’s knowledge of players in the Northeast is a tremendous asset to USHL Player Development and will assist in scouting the Midget Minor, Bantam Major, and Prep School levels of Hockey.
Keith Rowe - Southeast
Keith is the Director of Hockey for the Huntsville Amateur Hockey Association and also is the head coach for the TPH Thunder Bantam Major team. The TPH Thunder are a member of the NAPHL. Keith will be a major asset as USHL Player Development identifies the top 1996-aged players in the country. Prior to his coaching career, Keith was a four-year member of the University of Alabama-Huntsville hockey team.
Tom Rudrud joins USHL Player Development as a Regional Scout after a long coaching career in the USHL. Rudrud is the head coach of the Russell Stover U16 team and will assist in scouting at the midget minor level. A native of Bloomington, Minnesota, Rudrud played for the Bloomington Junior Stars of the USHL before playing collegiately at Ferris State University. After college, Rudrud spent eight years as an assistant coach at Ferris State and University of Illinois-Chicago. His career in the USHL includes serving as assistant and head coaches for both the Topeka Scarecrows and Tri-City Storm.
Pete Samargia - Minnesota
Pete will focus on the 1995 and 1996 age groups and his experience will be a major benefit. Pete is the owner and founder of Attitude Goaltending which is a private goaltending instructional service based in the Twin Cities. Besides Attitude Goaltending, Pete also serves as an assistant coach for Wayzata High School and is an evaluator for the Minnesota Hockey Advanced 16 and 17 Camp, and is a goalie scout and head coach for Team West of the Minnesota Elite Development League. Previously to his coaching career, Pete played at the University of Minnesota from 1999-2001 before finishing his collegiate career at Augsburg College from 2001-2003.
Dave Smith joins USHL Player Development as a Regional Scout after spending the last three seasons as Strength and Conditioning Coach for the Sioux Falls Stampede. He joined the Honeybaked Midget Minor program as an assistant coach and will assist in scouting the midget minor level. His knowledge of the USHL and hockey background will be a tremendous asset to USHL Player Development. Smith played hockey at Minnesota State University from 1993-1997 and has been coaching youth hockey since 1997. He has also been a power skating instructor for numerous hockey camps throughout the United States and Canada.
Bob Thornton - Manager of USHL Combines
Thornton, has been the Atlantic District scout for the USHL, is currently in his fifth season as director of the Atlantic Junior Hockey League's New Jersey Rockets and owner of the ELITE Hockey Group. He has helped develop, promote, and draft numerous players to the USHL, NCAA, and NHL through the Rockets organization. A USHL alumnus, Bob played for the Des Moines Buccaneers in 1994-95 as the Bucs won the USHL's "Triple Crown" - the Anderson Cup, Clark Cup, and Gold Cup (the Junior "A" national championship for which the USHL competed prior to acquiring Tier 1 status) under head coach Bob Ferguson. He also won an OHL Championship, and participated in the CHL's Memorial Cup with the North Bay Centennials in 1993-94. Thornton's professional career spanned seven seasons (1996-2003) in the ECHL; he also served as an assistant coach for the ECHL Roanoke Express in 2003-04.