Shortening the Bench

Discussion of Minnesota Girls Youth Hockey

Moderators: Mitch Hawker, karl(east)

At what level do you start to shorten the bench?

10U
2
11%
12U
10
53%
14U
7
37%
 
Total votes: 19

Homer
Posts: 116
Joined: Thu Jan 15, 2009 3:45 pm

Shortening the Bench

Post by Homer » Sat Jan 02, 2010 12:59 am

I thought I would post this topic, regarding shortening a teams bench to win a game. When or if it is a good idea. I would like to here from all levels and your opinions.

I watched my daughter's team lose in OT, in the first round of a tourney. She is at the 14A level. The coach had 2 third line forwards on the ice at the same time and the strongest D on the bench. (1 D was out because of too many penalties, 3). As soon as I saw the kids on the ice I knew it was over. They didn't prove me wrong.
I think at this level and w/ the talent available the bench should have been shortened to about the top six forwards or at least split up 3rd liners. (considerable drop in talent between 2nd and 3rd lines).
Am I too competetive? I think the kids want to win. I believe at this age it would be acceptable to go with the top players to win a tourney game.

fun&games
Posts: 20
Joined: Tue Jan 20, 2009 11:08 am

Post by fun&games » Sat Jan 02, 2010 10:02 am

At 14A it's appropriate to shorten the bench in the situation you describe. These players are just a year or two from high school where there won't be a question about shortening the bench.

EPIC97
Posts: 58
Joined: Wed Jun 17, 2009 12:07 pm

Post by EPIC97 » Sat Jan 02, 2010 10:24 am

I didn't answer your poll because it does not include Never.
How are players to improve if you never put them in situations where they are challenged. How are players going to make it to the next confidence level if they are never allowed to be succesful when it matters most. Every game matters and every player should be allowed to step up and be the hero. If they are not the hero and they are on the ice when the game is decided then maybe they will work harder to make sure that doesn't happen again.
As for the girl that takes three penalties in a game, maybe she is the one you should be blaming for the loss and not the girls that kept themselves elegible to play when the game was on the line.
To that matter how many goals were scored while she was in the box and if your team plays a penalty kill how many double shifts had those "top players" had leading up to the game being decided.
Lastly, The time to shorten the bench if you are planning on doing it at all is the first shift of the first period and continue this until the game is in control and/or your first and second line needs a rest. Never, understood why those that will shorten the bench do it only at the end of the game when they need a goal rather then getting that goal in the first period.

capitalist
Posts: 122
Joined: Fri Nov 13, 2009 7:24 pm

Post by capitalist » Sat Jan 02, 2010 5:54 pm

The Bears have a long and rich tradition of spending quality time in the box. The U14s are just living up to what will be expected of them when they play Varsity. #-o

Homer
Posts: 116
Joined: Thu Jan 15, 2009 3:45 pm

Post by Homer » Sat Jan 02, 2010 9:22 pm

I did mean to put in never or not at the youth level, my bad.
The three penalties weren't cheap, 1 was a nice diving play on the puck, she hit the puck first and the girl stepped on her stick, another was a check in the open ice, more of a collision. I don't think she is in line w/ the HS girls who make a routine visit to the box. If memory serves me right I think at least 2 were good penalties to take to prevent scoring oppurtunies.
Oh well good start, lets keep the opinions coming.

areaman
Posts: 26
Joined: Sat Sep 19, 2009 11:18 am

Post by areaman » Sun Jan 03, 2010 7:46 pm

Our coach started shortening the bench during the second period of the second game our team played.

U10B.

My daughter was one of the "shortened" and cried all the way home. She couldn't understand why she didn't play for much of the game. She's not one of the best players, she's also not the worst. Despite two years of mites and really loving hockey, we had to talk her into going back. She thought she was "going to be no good, ever" at nine.

To be fair, the coach isn't doing this as much now, though there are definitely girls who will never see the ice during a penalty kill or power play.

And for the record, no, we did not win any of the games where we shortened the bench.

Pens4
Posts: 217
Joined: Sat Dec 22, 2007 6:45 am

Post by Pens4 » Sun Jan 03, 2010 9:13 pm

Good to see your coach is moving in the right direction...interesting that you don't think that missing shifts for PP and PK isn't shortening the bench.
If your daughter's 10U team spends a minute of practice on PP & PK you should give your coach a slap. I'll give you the secret of a good PP that you can pass on to the coach...have the girls play with their heads up and make plays. Any and every line can do it at that age level.

Then you probably notice the coach that always finishes the period with the top line and always starts the next period with that same line. The coach thinks the kids & parents don't notice this shortening of the bench.

All ofthese techniques will hinder the growth of your team and players.

areaman
Posts: 26
Joined: Sat Sep 19, 2009 11:18 am

Post by areaman » Sun Jan 03, 2010 9:54 pm

Pens4 wrote:Good to see your coach is moving in the right direction...interesting that you don't think that missing shifts for PP and PK isn't shortening the bench.
If your daughter's 10U team spends a minute of practice on PP & PK you should give your coach a slap. I'll give you the secret of a good PP that you can pass on to the coach...have the girls play with their heads up and make plays. Any and every line can do it at that age level.

Then you probably notice the coach that always finishes the period with the top line and always starts the next period with that same line. The coach thinks the kids & parents don't notice this shortening of the bench.

All ofthese techniques will hinder the growth of your team and players.
I do think the PP and PK stuff IS shortening the bench, but compared to what was going on before, I'll take it. We're moving in the right direction. The more all the girls play, the more they all get better.

I think someone must have told him to chill on some of this stuff. We need to worry more about who's on what side of the blue-line before we start acting like every game is the 7th game of the Stanley Cup Finals.

HockeyDad35
Posts: 13
Joined: Mon Aug 17, 2009 10:13 pm

Post by HockeyDad35 » Mon Jan 04, 2010 12:09 am

I agree 100% with you Pens4 I wish our coaches thought that way!! My son quit hockey because our coaches shorten the bench even at the squirt B level! I know what a joke!! Iam lucky my daughter has had a couple of great coaches that dont.

luckyEPDad
Posts: 416
Joined: Wed Nov 25, 2009 3:31 pm

Post by luckyEPDad » Mon Jan 04, 2010 2:19 pm

Pens4 wrote: If your daughter's 10U team spends a minute of practice on PP & PK you should give your coach a slap. I'll give you the secret of a good PP that you can pass on to the coach...have the girls play with their heads up and make plays. Any and every line can do it at that age level.
So you see no value in having the girls practice playing a player up or a player down? I would think that practicing power plays and penalty kills would build a young player's confidence.

EPIC97
Posts: 58
Joined: Wed Jun 17, 2009 12:07 pm

Post by EPIC97 » Mon Jan 04, 2010 6:30 pm

luckyEPDad wrote:
Pens4 wrote: If your daughter's 10U team spends a minute of practice on PP & PK you should give your coach a slap. I'll give you the secret of a good PP that you can pass on to the coach...have the girls play with their heads up and make plays. Any and every line can do it at that age level.
So you see no value in having the girls practice playing a player up or a player down? I would think that practicing power plays and penalty kills would build a young player's confidence.
EP Dad could you please elaborate on how you think practicing PPs and PKs will build a players confidence.

Pens4
Posts: 217
Joined: Sat Dec 22, 2007 6:45 am

Post by Pens4 » Mon Jan 04, 2010 9:21 pm

luckyEPDad wrote:
Pens4 wrote: If your daughter's 10U team spends a minute of practice on PP & PK you should give your coach a slap. I'll give you the secret of a good PP that you can pass on to the coach...have the girls play with their heads up and make plays. Any and every line can do it at that age level.
So you see no value in having the girls practice playing a player up or a player down? I would think that practicing power plays and penalty kills would build a young player's confidence.
I see no value. Only because it creates systematic play that lacks creativity. It is the same type of coaching that demands their wingers go north & south and always stay wide. The same coaching that requires the defense stay on the points and not be part of the offense. Girls need to expand on their creativity and individual skills and that will pay off when on the PP & PK.

Have you ever seen the teams that have spent hours practicing the powerplay...getting the correct positioning on breakouts and overloading one side in the offensive zone...only to find out that the other team decided not to play the box and just pressured with all 4 girls until they get the puck back. Now the system has broke down and yes they are playing just where the coach told them but the other team is peppering their net with chances.

IMO, Creativity and skill is required for a sucessful PP & PK and an hour of practice ice is too valuable to waste it on a system...run a small area 3 on 3 game and your PP will go up 10%.

luckyEPDad
Posts: 416
Joined: Wed Nov 25, 2009 3:31 pm

Post by luckyEPDad » Tue Jan 05, 2010 5:07 am

Pens4 wrote:
luckyEPDad wrote:
Pens4 wrote:
I see no value. Only because it creates systematic play that lacks creativity. It is the same type of coaching that demands their wingers go north & south and always stay wide. The same coaching that requires the defense stay on the points and not be part of the offense. Girls need to expand on their creativity and individual skills and that will pay off when on the PP & PK.

IMO, Creativity and skill is required for a sucessful PP & PK and an hour of practice ice is too valuable to waste it on a system...run a small area 3 on 3 game and your PP will go up 10%.
I'm not saying practice power play formations and stategies, just putting them in a power play-like situation. There must be plenty of drills or small games that could be run with one group having a man advantage. Learning how to defend when a player down, or how to take advantage of having an extra player, require creativity too.

royals dad
Posts: 434
Joined: Mon Dec 29, 2008 8:41 pm

Post by royals dad » Tue Jan 05, 2010 9:15 am

It’s 10B, master basic skills (edges, stick handling, backwards, passing) and have fun! Try to make sure you keep every kid because you can’t really spot a miss hockey candidate for another 4 years. Shortening the bench, playing PP/PK units, focusing on winning, floating wings, and not rotating positions, this is what makes some of the top youth programs so disappointing at higher levels. MAHA doesn’t do a State Tourney at this age so that we can keep it in perspective but you just can’t get through to some people.
IMO Treat the 3rd and 4th line youth B players like they are as important as the 1st line A players. You will see some of those B line players on the ice of the Excel someday.

Shorten the bench in summer U14 and High School (you may not need to if you handle your youth teams well).

OntheEdge
Posts: 666
Joined: Fri Feb 16, 2007 11:43 am

Re: Shortening the Bench

Post by OntheEdge » Thu Jan 07, 2010 10:45 am

Homer wrote:I thought I would post this topic, regarding shortening a teams bench to win a game. When or if it is a good idea. I would like to here from all levels and your opinions.

I watched my daughter's team lose in OT, in the first round of a tourney. She is at the 14A level. The coach had 2 third line forwards on the ice at the same time and the strongest D on the bench. (1 D was out because of too many penalties, 3). As soon as I saw the kids on the ice I knew it was over. They didn't prove me wrong.
I think at this level and w/ the talent available the bench should have been shortened to about the top six forwards or at least split up 3rd liners. (considerable drop in talent between 2nd and 3rd lines).
Am I too competetive? I think the kids want to win. I believe at this age it would be acceptable to go with the top players to win a tourney game.
This is always a good topic. Everyone has an opinion. After watching my kids play at all levels, this is my opinion.

At U10 coaches should NEVER shorten a bench. From personal experience, my kid's U10A coach, bless his wisdom, said that at this level he would never shorten the bench because this is the time when kids should be developed and they can't develop unless they are challenged. Lots of coaches lipsinc the same speech but in the very first tournament, in the championship game with a one goal lead, he rolled lines equally and put out the weakest D on a penalty kill late in the third period. His style did wonders for the confidence of those kids on the team and some of the weaker players are now top players on HS varsity. By the way, some of the can't miss players on that team ... missed. So I think its inappropriate to cater exclusively to so called stars at this level.

At U12 and U14, I wouldn't shorten a bench at anytime during the regular season. In the playoffs, only in very limited instances such as in the third period at the end of a close game. U12 and U14 are still mostly about development but there is a winning component too so I understand that in some very limited circumstances shorting the bench may be necessary.

At U19, this is hockey that is supposed to be fun. I don't think shorting the bench is appropriate.

At JV, this is a development level and I don't think it is ever appropriate to short the bench.

At HS varsity, its up to the coach. Even though development is always a consideration the primary purpose at this level is to win. I think this is the only level that it can be appropriate, however, I think some coaches do it too early and too often which results in 2nd and 3rd lines that are not confident and 1st line players burning out.

mnhcp
Posts: 302
Joined: Fri Dec 07, 2007 11:48 pm

Post by mnhcp » Thu Jan 07, 2010 12:09 pm

"At U10 coaches should NEVER shorten a bench. From personal experience, my kid's U10A coach, bless his wisdom, said that at this level he would never shorten the bench because this is the time when kids should be developed and they can't develop unless they are challenged. Lots of coaches lipsinc the same speech but in the very first tournament, in the championship game with a one goal lead, he rolled lines equally and put out the weakest D on a penalty kill late in the third period. His style did wonders for the confidence of those kids on the team and some of the weaker players are now top players on HS varsity. By the way, some of the can't miss players on that team ... missed. So I think its inappropriate to cater exclusively to so called stars at this level. "

No one should disagree with the Squirt/10U level (by the way it's 10U, not U10). I however did find an exception. Kids are 0 and 30. Every parent is bitching about this and that. 3rd game of a tournament and of course lost first 2 games. Score with 45 seconds left, 1-1 (toilet bowl of the tournament) and coach pulled goalie as the faceoff was in the offensive zone. Everyone was hoping, begging for the coach to put a power line out there to finish off the game with an open net. The coach did not. After the game, the parents (even of the lower end kids) all complained they didn't put out power line as at this point no one cared as everyone was so hungary for a victory. Right or wrong, the consensus in this situation - no one cared! It was near the end of the season of course and the kids ended the season 0 - 32. Unlike your example, it did nothing for anyones confidence. But generally speaking, I agree with your example but there came a time in this real life situation where no one gave a crap. They just wanted a win and this game was their best shot.

OntheEdge
Posts: 666
Joined: Fri Feb 16, 2007 11:43 am

Post by OntheEdge » Thu Jan 07, 2010 12:20 pm

mnhcp wrote:"At U10 coaches should NEVER shorten a bench. From personal experience, my kid's U10A coach, bless his wisdom, said that at this level he would never shorten the bench because this is the time when kids should be developed and they can't develop unless they are challenged. Lots of coaches lipsinc the same speech but in the very first tournament, in the championship game with a one goal lead, he rolled lines equally and put out the weakest D on a penalty kill late in the third period. His style did wonders for the confidence of those kids on the team and some of the weaker players are now top players on HS varsity. By the way, some of the can't miss players on that team ... missed. So I think its inappropriate to cater exclusively to so called stars at this level. "

No one should disagree with the Squirt/10U level (by the way it's 10U, not U10). I however did find an exception. Kids are 0 and 30. Every parent is bitching about this and that. 3rd game of a tournament and of course lost first 2 games. Score with 45 seconds left, 1-1 (toilet bowl of the tournament) and coach pulled goalie as the faceoff was in the offensive zone. Everyone was hoping, begging for the coach to put a power line out there to finish off the game with an open net. The coach did not. After the game, the parents (even of the lower end kids) all complained they didn't put out power line as at this point no one cared as everyone was so hungary for a victory. Right or wrong, the consensus in this situation - no one cared! It was near the end of the season of course and the kids ended the season 0 - 32. Unlike your example, it did nothing for anyones confidence. But generally speaking, I agree with your example but there came a time in this real life situation where no one gave a crap. They just wanted a win and this game was their best shot.
So you are saying that the coach should have compromised his principals to try to get to 1-31 instead of 0-32?

nickel slots
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Location: Northern Southern Minnesota

Post by nickel slots » Thu Jan 07, 2010 1:39 pm

OntheEdge wrote:
mnhcp wrote:"At U10 coaches should NEVER shorten a bench. From personal experience, my kid's U10A coach, bless his wisdom, said that at this level he would never shorten the bench because this is the time when kids should be developed and they can't develop unless they are challenged. Lots of coaches lipsinc the same speech but in the very first tournament, in the championship game with a one goal lead, he rolled lines equally and put out the weakest D on a penalty kill late in the third period. His style did wonders for the confidence of those kids on the team and some of the weaker players are now top players on HS varsity. By the way, some of the can't miss players on that team ... missed. So I think its inappropriate to cater exclusively to so called stars at this level. "

No one should disagree with the Squirt/10U level (by the way it's 10U, not U10). I however did find an exception. Kids are 0 and 30. Every parent is bitching about this and that. 3rd game of a tournament and of course lost first 2 games. Score with 45 seconds left, 1-1 (toilet bowl of the tournament) and coach pulled goalie as the faceoff was in the offensive zone. Everyone was hoping, begging for the coach to put a power line out there to finish off the game with an open net. The coach did not. After the game, the parents (even of the lower end kids) all complained they didn't put out power line as at this point no one cared as everyone was so hungary for a victory. Right or wrong, the consensus in this situation - no one cared! It was near the end of the season of course and the kids ended the season 0 - 32. Unlike your example, it did nothing for anyones confidence. But generally speaking, I agree with your example but there came a time in this real life situation where no one gave a crap. They just wanted a win and this game was their best shot.
So you are saying that the coach should have compromised his principals to try to get to 1-31 instead of 0-32?
And not only that, but if a team is 0-30, there probably isn't much of a power line available anyway. I give kudos to the coach for sticking to his guns.

And mnhcp... I think you're the only one out there that really cares if it's called U12 or 12U. Whether one way is more appropriate than the other is irrelevant... everybody knows what we're talking about no matter which way it's said. Leave it alone already.
Don't sweat the small stuff.
It's all small stuff.

Pens4
Posts: 217
Joined: Sat Dec 22, 2007 6:45 am

Post by Pens4 » Thu Jan 07, 2010 9:27 pm

Last night I had run a short bench with 4 girls out with the flu. I don't ev er want that again. Too much decision making. I want to watch the game not decide match-ups.

The coaching is in pratice....the games are for fun.

sinbin
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Joined: Thu Oct 29, 2009 11:12 pm

Post by sinbin » Fri Jan 08, 2010 1:53 pm

This makes me recall a game (not 10U) we had a few years ago, in districts, against the #1 team in the state (and eventual state champion). The coach had a policy of not shortening the bench, ever, during the entire season, so that the weaker girls would build skills and confidence, etc. During this playoff game, he went with 3 full F lines and 3 D's. Normally during the season, we went 8F and 4D. 2 D's moved up to F and one F moved from to D. Well, we played well and won 3-2. However, after the game, parents of the 2 D's who moved to F complained to the coach that their daughters only played every 3rd shift instead of every 2nd shift that they were accustomed to. Plus, it was unfair that the 3D's got to play every shift-and-a-half, so got twice as much ice time as their daughters. So, don't forget to include parents in the mix when it comes to shortening the bench. We did make it to regions and lost all 3 games there, with our normal "unshortened" lineup. That victory lost some of its luster when parents of D's who normally played 50% more than the F's, anyway, played the same amounts as F's usually play and bitterly complained about it. Just throwing this anecdote out there and you can draw your own conclusions and/or comment.

OntheEdge
Posts: 666
Joined: Fri Feb 16, 2007 11:43 am

Post by OntheEdge » Tue Jan 12, 2010 3:00 pm

sinbin wrote:This makes me recall a game (not 10U) we had a few years ago, in districts, against the #1 team in the state (and eventual state champion). The coach had a policy of not shortening the bench, ever, during the entire season, so that the weaker girls would build skills and confidence, etc. During this playoff game, he went with 3 full F lines and 3 D's. Normally during the season, we went 8F and 4D. 2 D's moved up to F and one F moved from to D. Well, we played well and won 3-2. However, after the game, parents of the 2 D's who moved to F complained to the coach that their daughters only played every 3rd shift instead of every 2nd shift that they were accustomed to. Plus, it was unfair that the 3D's got to play every shift-and-a-half, so got twice as much ice time as their daughters. So, don't forget to include parents in the mix when it comes to shortening the bench. We did make it to regions and lost all 3 games there, with our normal "unshortened" lineup. That victory lost some of its luster when parents of D's who normally played 50% more than the F's, anyway, played the same amounts as F's usually play and bitterly complained about it. Just throwing this anecdote out there and you can draw your own conclusions and/or comment.
I don't think this qualifies as shortening the bench. I think its really about "dumb" parents that don't get it.

girlshockeyrocks
Posts: 20
Joined: Sat Mar 29, 2008 10:27 pm

not that simple...

Post by girlshockeyrocks » Tue Jan 12, 2010 5:46 pm

It might sound good on paper to 'roll them' no matter what but it's more complex than that. I've rolled them for years at the 12A level and the teams I've coached have lost more than one championship because our best players were on the bench while our weaker players were on the ice against the other teams best the last few minutes or on PK, etc.

But guess what - I really don't care. Its not about what I want or 'me' winning.

But after you do this a while, you realize who does care - The hardest working (and often best) players that are outworking the lazier (and usually weaker/less dedicated) players day in and day out and never miss a practice. You know who they are because they are the ones that come out of the lockerroom with tears in their eyes after a loss.

You know who doesn't care? ...the same players that coast thru practices and give 10% effort if you turn your back on them and are staring blankly at the rafters if your chalk talk goes over 25 seconds. The same ones that seem to think that practices are optional if it inconveinences them in someway.

So...this year, for the first time, we are running power play, pk and if it's a one goal game with a minute or two left, our best players will be on the ice. Don't get me wrong...our third line is not on the bench for the entire third period or anything...

Not fair you say? So did I until this year (and maybe it's this particular team that put me over the line...however, I wish I had used PP/PK/end of game ice time to reward the most dedicated and hardest working players all along...) These girls are 12 and 13 yrs old now and they understand - or should understand - commitment when it comes to a tryout team. What's not fair is 'rewarding' players with equal ice time who cut corners, skip practice, and fall behind because because they lack effort or unwillingness to pay attention long enough to learn what they need to learn.

I'll also note that we didn't do any PP/PK, etc for first few months and each girl got ample opportunity to show their true colors and committment. I know now which girls stop doing their pushups when they don't think a coach is watching and who cuts corners whenever it suits them even though our top players are giving max effort all the time.

Of course all teams aren't perfectly split with hardwork = best players and lazy = worst...but in my experience, it definitly has trended that way. And because of the lack of depth in girls hockey in most programs, you often have a vast difference in the commitment level when looking at the most committed vs least committed on your team. It's just reality.

Furthermore - I happily short shift the better players against weaker teams and therefore, at season end, total time on ice is virtually even - tilting slightly toward the stronger players if we had a lot of close games and tilting toward the weaker players if we ran away with a bunch of games...

In this age of 9th place ribbons, it might not be PC, but to me, once you get to 12U...as long as everyone is playing fairly equal over the course of the season, PP, PK, and end of game situations are a pretty small way to reward your hardest working players and create a carrot for the other players to work hard on their games so that they can someday be on the PP or 'pulled goalie' lineup. And if a girl ends up saying to mom or dad after the season - "I'm going to work really hard so that next year, I'm on the PP line"...you've probably taught her a pretty valuable life lesson.

Anyway...I'm just sayin...

fun&games
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Post by fun&games » Tue Jan 12, 2010 7:46 pm

Great post. Hadn't thought of it that way before.

Pens4
Posts: 217
Joined: Sat Dec 22, 2007 6:45 am

Post by Pens4 » Tue Jan 12, 2010 10:01 pm

Its hard if there is a lack of committment on your squad. It sounds like you are aware of the impact on the players when drawing that line between your best players and your have-not players. It also sounds likes your a coach that has been through enough complaining parents during the season that you are frustrated. You have probably gotten to the point where you are telling the girls about everything they did wrong during the shift rather than complimenting them on what they did right. You might have gotten to the point where you are going to coach up your best players and make sure they have everything needed to help the team win and decided that raising the less skilled players up is a loss-cause.

Regroup if possible and remember they are 11 & 12 year olds and you may be the one that ends the careers of some really young talents before they have a chance to become ???

knights58
Posts: 82
Joined: Tue Nov 10, 2009 9:02 am

bench

Post by knights58 » Wed Jan 13, 2010 12:16 am

Girlshockeyrocks....great great post. I agree with everything you are saying. We have the same exact challenges on our 12UA team and approach them the same way you are. Most of these girls are 12 and 13 and had to try out for these teams...so if they can't be held to a high work ethic and effort, then when is it okay to expect it of them? No need to worry about the PC crowd...most have grown tired of that finally as they have realized it was doing more damage to the kids than good. I will put in the extra time with any player that works hard and wants to get better...regardless of how good they are. When it comes to extra time, those are the players that should be rewarded...and they usually are your higher end/driven players. Usually...not always. As most of us know, there are no absolutes in hockey. Keep up the good work....many of us are right there with you.

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