A Q&A with MGHL Development Director Brittney Cosmo on the Association’s new vision, FORCE core values, comprehensive development program, and what’s next.
The MGHL recently announced a comprehensive Development Program ahead of the 2021-22 season. We recently sat down with Development Director and U15AA coach Brittney Cosmo to learn more about the Program and what’s next for athletes and coaches.
Brittney, congratulations on the release of our new Development Program. There’s a lot of goodness to unpack in here, so can you start by letting everyone know how the new Program differs from what the MGHL had in place before?
Brittney Cosmo: Thank you, and yes! Let’s dive in. The MGHL has always had a reputation for great coaches and players. What we’ve done in this new Development Program is take the core pieces of what we know improves on-ice outcomes, and integrate them with mental health and nutrition initiatives. These are vital for the health and development of players and coaches. The simple truth is that we need to pay attention to the mental, social and emotional components of hockey to allow our athletes to reach their full potential on and off the ice. Hockey is not only a physical game. We recognize that, and our goal is that this Program will be the standard across female hockey for years to come.
U15AA and MGHL Development Director Brittney Cosmo with her team during training camp for the 2021-22 season.
You know this Program better than anyone else. What stands out for you that will get athletes excited for the upcoming season?
BC: For the first time, we are providing guidance and standards that will help athletes progress through House League, Rep and Elite Performance teams. We are literally showing them, through visual pathways, how to thrive and what they can do to reach their potential. The program also offers visual pathways for coaches, allowing them to create comprehensive programs that enable a safe and inclusive program for all athletes to succeed.
Building on that, what excites you the most about the Program?
BC: I am most excited about how we have incorporated our new FORCE core values and logo. Those core values - Focus, Opportunity, Respect, Community, Excellence - are something we believe in. We are passionate about them. This was the foundation that everything else evolved from. We hope this is something our athletes will wear with pride and understand they represent something bigger than themselves. They represent the vision and passion of the MGHL.
I love that and I hope our athletes do, too. What do you hope the reaction to the Program is from the MGHL community?
BC: I hope the reaction from our athletes is “I can do anything I set my mind to, if I can see it I can be it”. I want every athlete to take advantage of every opportunity the MGHL provides for skill and healthy lifestyle development. We are providing athletes with the tools they need to excel in hockey and reach their full potential, on the ice and off. If they focus on their health, take advantage of the opportunities they are given, commit to developing their skills, respect the process and embody excellence … this is the foundation for believing anything is possible.
I hope the reaction from our coaches is pride. Pride in themselves as leaders and advisors of our athletes. The elements in this Program are natural extensions of their coaching plans, and I hope this helps them recognize the important role they play in our athletes’ road to success in hockey.
The Program provides a structure for athletes to progress through Rep to elite hockey. But it also highlights that an active life after hockey is an equally-important goal. Can you tell us a bit more about why this is included in the Program and what it means to be 'active for life'?
BC: Active for life is a key component of our program. As I’m sure many people reading this are aware, the love of hockey never just “goes away”. Including an active lifestyle as one of the goals of the Program is important because we believe in our athletes as valued members of their community.
Active for life, for us, means our athletes ensure hockey remains a part of their lives, whether that is by representing the MGHL through volunteering or returning to the sport as a mentor or coach. The possibilities are endless. I also felt it was important for our athletes to understand this is an achievement on equal footing with playing at the elite level. To understand they are accomplished, valuable, and deserve to be proud regardless of what level of hockey they play. The positive impact of this on their mental health, self-esteem, self-worth and overall well being is important.
In addition to the development program, the MGHL released our updated vision, mission statement, development philosophy and core values. What would you like athletes and the MGHL community to know about these?
BC: These key, foundational components set us apart from other organizations. They embody exactly who we are, what we believe in, and the character of our athletes. Our development opportunities and programs inspire athletes to reach their full potential as a hockey player and as a valued member of their community. We understand these achievements matter now and will matter for the rest of their lives. By releasing these components we are telling the world who the MGHL is and what it means to be a Hurricane. And we are telling athletes that if this is the person they want to be, if this is the level of hockey they want to play, then they will be given the tools to succeed with us.
Ok, last question. Now that this program is in place, what's next?
BC: Getting back to the rink! We are very excited for our development instructors to hit the ice and start working with our teams. The pandemic is hopefully behind us and I am excited for our athletes to represent the MGHL in a meaningful, and positive, way. And there is still more to come! I can’t wait for our athletes to see what’s coming in the next few weeks and months as we roll out some of the other programs and campaigns the Board has been working on.
If you have any questions about the MGHL Development Program contact Development Director Brittney Cosmo.