A guideline of the types of questions you should consider asking to assist you in your decision:
* What is the mission or philosophy of the school? Is it a fun-oriented program or is it serious, high-level intense training?
* Are there classes for different age groups, and if so, is the training age-appropriate?
* How many years has the school been in business?
* How many years has the program been at this particular location? (When schools change locations frequently, it’s typically not for a good reason.)
* Who are the head instructors, and what is their experience and credentials?
* Do they have any instructor training sessions?
* Are the “drawing card” instructors on the ice with the classes all week, or do they just show up for an appearance at some point during the school?
* What is the student-to-instructor ratio for the on-ice sessions?
* What is the schedule and how much time is spent on the ice?
* Is there any off-ice training, and if so, how much and what does it involve?
* Are the players broken up into smaller groups based on skill level/experience/age?
* What skills will be taught during the classes (i.e. power skating, stickhandling, passing, shooting, checking)
* Does the camp have a procedure in the event of an injury or emergency?
* Are the instructors trained in basic first aid or CPR?
* Are the players always under supervision of the instructional staff or counselors, or are there times that they are on their own?
* Are parents welcome to attend and watch?
* Does the program have an insurance policy in place, and if so, what does it cover?
This article originally appeared in the April 2012 issue of New England Hockey Journal.