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Pennsylvania Claims "Paint America" Gold

01/08/2014, 4:00pm MST

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Pennsylvania is the gold-medal state it was announced today by The USA Hockey Foundation in wrapping up its “Paint America Red, White and Blue” fundraising campaign that spanned the month of December.
The Keystone State's 32 donations led the nation, thus giving it the gold-medal designation. Michigan was not far behind with 27 donors and Massachusetts finished third with 24 donations. Contributions also came from newer hockey markets, including Louisiana, Alabama and South Carolina. In total, some 300 people took part with more than $40,000 raised to benefit the continued advancement of hockey in the United States.
“We couldn’t be more thankful to those that participated in this very first Paint America Red, White and Blue campaign,” said Dave Ogrean, executive director of USA Hockey and The USA Hockey Foundation. “The contributions received will help further opportunities in the sport at all levels and we are so appreciative of every single gift.”
The USA Hockey Foundation supports USA Hockey efforts that provide opportunities to disabled and disadvantaged youth; help increase participation through a variety of initiatives; enhance the safety of the game; help the U.S. be the best internationally; provide education programs for athletes, coaches, officials and parents; and celebrate the game through commemoration.

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1972 Olympics: Silver Medals and Friends of Gold

09/09/2013, 4:00pm MDT
By Jessi Pierce

The 1972 U.S. Olympic men’s hockey team is still maintaining friendships from 40 years ago

Their skates may move a little slower than they did nearly 42 years ago in Sapporo, Japan, and there’s probably more silver and white in their hair, but talk to any member of the 1972 U.S. Olympic men’s hockey team, and they instantly go back to that time like it happened just yesterday.

“I can still hear the crunch of the snow from our early morning runs around the Olympic Village and playing in those games,” said former defenseman Tom Mellor, a Rhode Island native. “What an experience it all was – just a bunch of amateur hockey players going out to take on the world one game at a time.”

An improbable run to the silver medal started with an upset of Czechoslovakia that some compared to the U.S.’s wins over the Soviet Union in the 1960 and 1980 Olympic Games. Team member and Minnesota native Craig Sarner credits the intense team bond to helping lift Team USA to its success that year.

U.S. Head Coach Murray Williamson demanded that the team stick together right away, beginning with practices and tryouts that began months prior to the Olympic Games. Sarner and Mellor both note that, “everyone had one another’s backs” and “it became one of our biggest and most important families.”

And it’s a family that hasn’t drifted, even though states and careers now separate them. The team chemistry still carries on today with the majority of the players that donned the Red, White and Blue all those years ago.

“The medal was important,” said Sarner. “But the friendships we developed and the lifelong bond we have is the biggest part of it all. We just enjoy the heck out of being together, and it was that chemistry that helped us prove that will does beat skill sometimes.”

After the Olympic Games, most of the team, which included the likes of a then 16-year-old Mark Howe, Henry Boucha and Mike “Lefty” Curran, went on to some sort of professional hockey career, still staying in touch every year via email and phone calls and trips all across the U.S. Sarner, Mellor and the rest of the squad get together frequently. Their last trip was to Fort Lauderdale, Florida in the summer of 2012. Mellor said the team already has plans to meet up again this year, a reunion that everyone looks forward to.

The conversation is not always focused solely on hockey. Sarner is still involved as a scout for the United States Hockey League and North American Hockey League. Mellor hung up the skates and moved on to “life after hockey.”

They also update the hockey family on each player’s personal family.

“I’m a new grandpa with a granddaughter, Eve, so I am boring the guys with photos and information about her constantly,” said Sarner, whose silver-plated medal hangs in Eve’s room. “So I know they’re tiring of it, but we all update on family life and just everything that’s going on with one another. Never a lack of stories, some true, some fabricated, when this group gets together.”

Stories will be shared by the 1972 alums and their extended USA Hockey family for years to come.

“I couldn’t have asked for a better group of guys to play with and meet than that team,” said Mellor. “Them and really everyone involved in the USA Hockey organization, from the 1980 team, and beyond, it’s neat to be a part of something like that – to be a part of that family.”

Developing the Next CEOs

06/16/2014, 10:30am MDT
By Aaron Paitich

Circle of Champions member, United States Olympian and retired CEO Mark Fusco shares the secrets to his success, on and off the ice

Does hockey train our youth to become future CEOs? Mark Fusco thinks so. As a retired CEO and United States Olympian, he would know.

“Running a business can be very difficult, depending on how big it is and how complicated it is,” says Fusco, who retired from his most recent CEO post at Aspen Technology last September. “You have all sorts of different constituent groups that you’re dealing with, but hockey is the same. You’re part of a team. You’re building a future for the championship or to try and win your games.”

Fusco, a 1984 U.S. Olympian, still holds multiple Harvard scoring records for defensemen. After suiting up for 80 NHL games with the Hartford Whalers, Fusco retired one professional career in pursuit of another. The proud Crimson alum returned to his alma mater, this time enrolling in the prestigious Harvard Business School. He then earned his first CEO position.

He has found success on the ice and in the office. Whether you’re putting on a jersey or a suit and tie, Fusco says, the cultures of successful businesses and hockey teams are very much the same.

“It’s a competitive environment, at least in my experience,” says Fusco who, in 1983, became the first defenseman to win the Hobey Baker Award. “You try to build a team and try to mold them. You’re playing every day to win, not only in the short-term, but in the long-term. The perseverance that it takes to be a good hockey player – I think it’s the same as trying to do something in the business world that is difficult and complicated. It’s not the same skill set, but it’s certainly the same perseverance and wanting to win.”

It’s those life lessons and development that have kept Fusco connected to USA Hockey. He not only follows the organization, but also continues to contribute financially to the USA Hockey Foundation’s charitable efforts.

Donors to The USA Hockey Foundation who have contributed $1,000 or more during the fiscal year (starting Sept. 1) are recognized for their gifts with membership to the Circle of Champions. These donations provide more and more kids the opportunity to play, learn and love the game of hockey.

“Mark recognizes the importance that USA Hockey has played in his career and his life,” says USA Hockey Executive Director Dave Ogrean. “He has not only dedicated time to growing and strengthening hockey, but he has also dedicated money by becoming a member of The USA Hockey Foundation’s Circle of Champions giving club. We hope to double the number of members in this club by encompassing more USA Hockey alumni.”

Fusco now has two other specific reasons to invest in USA Hockey: he’s coaching his sons’ peewee and bantam teams in Massachusetts. But his main focus is to help kids who may not be able to afford it.

“Anybody who gets to play hockey is changed forever – for the better,” says Fusco, who also owns a local club team and a rink with his brother, Scott Fusco, who was also a 1984 U.S. Olympian. “I’d like to see more kids get an opportunity to play. That’s why I’m interested in what USA Hockey’s doing. That’s why I’m interested in The USA Hockey Foundation. I’m interested in giving kids the opportunity to play when maybe they couldn’t have because of their personal financial situation. I think hockey is a great game to get people involved in. The more, the better.”

Outside of his Circle of Champions giving, Mark helped spearhead another initiative to get more kids on the ice. The Aspen Tech Grant was established in 2007 to help cover registration fees for kids in the northwestern Boston suburbs. This year, 16 kids received the Aspen Tech Grant.

“There’s nothing like a little kid on the rink with a smile on his face,” adds Fusco, who was inducted into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame in 2002. “It’s intoxicating. Kids that get exposed to hockey – they all want to play. It’s the most fun game of any.”

And the lessons provided by the game are invaluable. That’s why Fusco is giving his time and money to provide these experiences to more kids.

“There are a lot of parallels between hockey and being successful in life,” says Fusco. “You’re playing through your good days and your bad days. Everybody has them. Hockey is a great learning ground for life – and I want to share that.”


For Youngsters at Try Hockey For Free, “It Starts with a Stick”

02/24/2015, 8:45am MST
By G. Allen Johnson - Special to

Try Hockey for Free Day Presented by Kraft Events Around the Country Provided Participants with a Free Stick

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