This year, three people will be elected to the USA Underwater Hockey Committee. We hope all USA UWH members will participate in the election. All current members will receive a link to online voting in their email. Details will be forthcoming. In the meantime, learn about the candidates!
The candidates for the three open Governing Committee spots are:
Current Club: San Francisco, Calif.
Tom Brown started playing as a student and found a new hockey home with the San Francisco Sea Lions in 2005. With other club members, he created the first club charter in 2009. As a member of the steering committee for 5 years, he played a large role in the day-to-day running of the club and its long-term financial health while changing from fixed fees to suggested donations. Tom also ran a 6 week beginner course and organized a few tournaments. Recognizing that the club shouldn’t depend so much on one person, he helped other members take over all responsibilities at the end of 2013.
Beyond San Francisco, Tom took the initiative to help Chris Lewis resuscitate international hockey tourist, keeping it going for years. he also created the first US tournament calendar and worked with the hockey committee to include it in usauwh.org. Recently, he changed his focus towards the future of hockey, the children’s program. Tom coaches at most weekly kids hockey sessions and was an assistant coach for the Team USA U19 Men at Worlds in 2015.
Toms want the committee to focus on growing our fun underwater activities with more programs for children, better training for new adult players, and a series of clearly defined club and regional tournaments with great refs and video.
Current Club: Washington, DC
Kristen Hocutt swam on a swim team back in elementary and middle school but never even heard about underwater hockey until February of 2011. In September of that year, after much convincing, she tried underwater hockey but only to get her significant other at the time (now husband) to stop bugging her about playing. She had never been snorkeling so needless to say the first couple weeks was struggle city. But through determination and stubbornness, she decided to stick with it. Now she loves it!
In the very first year Kristen started playing, she won the U.S. Women’s UWH Rookie of the Year award. Since then she has played in many different regional tournaments with her club team as well as development teams. She not only loves the sport but she loves the community. Though it is played in many countries and communicated in many different languages, we all have one thing in common, the love of the sport. And it’s because of the love of the sport we create an automatic bond or friendship.
Kristen’s vision for underwater hockey is to be dedicated to the excellence and the improvement of the sport, while creating an energetic, focused, unified and authoritative environment for players to thrive in. Kristen’s mission for the community is to develop and deliver effective services, guidance and support to the underwater hockey members. Her strategy is to work alongside the committee members as well as the constituents of UWH and teams to enhance best practices and identify and explore growth opportunities. Focusing on: Athlete recruitment and retention, strengthening the program, competition and games, increase funding and awareness, improve knowledge management and information sharing, just to name a few.
Current Club: Chicago, Ill.
Jim Lester started playing hockey in 2007 with the Minnesota Loons after being roped into helping with the video footage at that years Nationals. After spending a whole weekend filming he showed up to a practice and has been playing ever since. Over the past years Jim has been active with the Minnesota club both in the pool and out. Recently Jim moved to Chicago for work and has been practicing with the Chicago club.
Jim has recently been spending his extra-curricular hockey time working on the online tournament schedule system to help make tracking tournament schedules and results easier for players and organizers. Jim wants to bring his experience working with tournament leaders on schedules and bracketing to the national committee to help further improve the quality of the growing number of tournaments giving the best experiences to both players and clubs.
Current Club: Denver, Colo.
Eric Straily started playing underwater hockey in the spring of 2012. He has been a member of Colorado Underwater hockey, serving as vice president of the club and has been a CO nationals team member for 3 years. During his time with CO UWH, Eric has been a part many tournaments and events, both with the CO team, potlucks, and helping ref the annual women’s tournament. Eric helped facilitate the new Denver pool location and was a key contributor to the design and layout of the new dual court layout with sport court and walls that will be used in weekly practices and the upcoming 2016 UWH Nationals.
Eric has been an active partner in enriching the experience of UWH by improving the video system quality available at tournaments. Increasing the accessibility of good video in Underwater Hockey is a priority for Eric as he believes it will have a dramatic effect in helping to grow our sport with benefits to players, coaches, spectators and recruitment. Eric also expects that with better video the juniors team involvement will improve since parents will have a clearer idea of what their kids are actually doing beyond seeing bubbles, snorkels and fins.
Current Club: Washington, DC
Dan Yocum recently moved to Souderton, Penn., but his home club is Washington, DC where he has been playing for 6 years. He has ridden the coattails of much better players to several championship wins, including 2015 Nationals with NBS. In his free time you can find Dan eating canned bread and complaining about the weather. “Can I be done writing this bio yet?”