The 2016 U.S. National Sled Hockey Team is in Bridgewater, Nova Scotia, for the 2016 World Sled Hockey Challenge. Tournament play begins Sunday (Jan. 17) and will conclude on Saturday, Jan. 23. A daily Team USA notebook can be found below.
SATURDAY, JANUARY 23
GAMEDAY: USA vs. CANADA, CHAMPIONSHIP
The United States faces Canada tonight in the championship game of the 2016 World Sled Hockey Challenge here at Lunenburg County Lifestyle Centre (capacity: 1,200) in Bridgewater, Nova Scotia. This is Team USA’s fifth consecutive trip to the tournament’s championship game. Additionally, it is the fifth time the two teams will face-off for the tournament title. For full gameday details, click here.
FRIDAY, JANUARY 22
The U.S. National Sled Hockey Team was given the day off by the coaching staff after facing Canada on Wednesday (Jan. 20; OTL, 2-1) and Russia yesterday (Jan. 21; W, 2-1). The players participated in a self-created shinny-tournament in the team room. Some players visited the hotel's pool where they took trips down the water-slide.
LAST GAME: USA 2, RUSSIA 1
Declan Farmer and Kevin McKee each recorded two points and Brody Roybal scored the game-winning goal in the third period as the U.S. National Sled Hockey Team defeated Russia, 2-1, in the semifinals of the 2016 World Sled Hockey Challenge. Tyler Carron was named the U.S. Player of the Game. For a complete game recap, click here.
Tomorrow (Jan. 23), the U.S. will face Canada in the championship game of the 2016 World Sled Hockey Challenge. Puck drop is slated for 4 p.m. ET. Team USA fell to Canada in a shootout, 2-1, on Wednesday (Jan. 20) to close preliminary round play. This is the fifth consecutive time Team USA has reached the championship game of the World Sled Hockey Challenge(First: 2012, 2015; Second: 2012, 2015).
DINNER WITH TEAM HOSTS
Thursday night (Jan. 21), Team USA players and staff enjoyed a steak and lobster dinner at the home of Cam Seamone, one of Team USA's hosts here in Bridgewater, Nova Scotia. The team also presented signed Team USA jerseys to the two hosts, Cam, and Jennifer Milbury, for their tireless efforts in assisting the team throughout the event.
U.S. RECORD BREAKERS
Several current U.S. players find themselves atop U.S. record lists in WSHC tournament play.
On Thursday (Jan. 21), Declan Farmer set a new U.S. record for most points in a single WSHC with 10 (6-4) and is one goal away from tying Nikko Landeros’ U.S. record for most goals (7) in a WSHC, which he set in April 2011. Kevin McKee’s seven assists in a single WSHC are also a new U.S. record, surpassing Farmer’s six-assist performance in last year’s tournament. Additionally, McKee’s nine points (2-7) overall tie Farmer’s point total from last year for second all-time. Steve Cash finished last year’s tournament with a 0.66 goals-against-average and .936 save percentage, both of which are Team USA bests in a single WSHC.
Among U.S. players, Kevin McKee holds the record for most career WSHC points with 31 (14-17). Josh Pauls leads all U.S. players with 17 career WSHC goals while Nikko Landeros is second with 15. Pauls (17-13--30) and Landeros (15-15--30) both sit one point behind McKee for most career WSHC points and Declan Farmer (13-15--28) trails McKee by two.
THURSDAY, JANUARY 21
The United States faces Russia today in semifinal action in the 2016 World Sled Hockey Challenge here at Lunenburg County Lifestyle Centre (capacity: 1,200) in Bridgewater, Nova Scotia. The game will be streamed live on FASTHockey.com. Visit the gameday page by clicking here.
Declan Farmer is one point away from tying his U.S. record for most points (9) in a WSHC and two goals away from tying Nikko Landeros’ U.S. record for most goals (7) in a WSHC. Additionally, Kevin McKee is one assist away from Farmer’s U.S. record for most assists (6) in a WSHC and two points away from Farmer’s record for most points in a WSHC. For Team USA history in the WSHC, click here.
WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 20
The U.S. National Sled Hockey Team outshot Canada, 28-13, but fell in a shootout, 3-2. Kevin McKee tallied a goal and an assist and Nikko Landeros was named the U.S. Player of the Game. For a complete game recap, click here.
Captain Josh Sweeney reflected on Team USA’s first loss since March 11, 2014 (2-1 vs. Russia in the preliminary round of the 2014 Paralympic Winter Games), “It is what it is. That’s part of the love of the game; nothing is certain. As much as you would love to you can’t expect to win every game. We just need to look at what we didn’t do and learn from the loss; otherwise, we won’t get better as a team.”
TUESDAY, JANUARY 19
The U.S. National Sled Hockey Team has practice today from 11:30am-12:30pm ET. Practice will include an emphasis on defense and special teams before concluding with a traditional shootout. The practice is Team USA's final tune-up for its tilt tomorrow (Jan. 20) against Canada. Puck drop is set for 6 p.m. ET and will be streamed live on FASTHockey.com.
TEAM USA IN 2016 WSHC
Through two games, Declan Farmer leads the tournament in goals (5) and points (7) while Josh Pauls and Kevin McKee share the tournament lead in assists with four. As a team, the United States ranks first in goals scored (14), goals-per-game (7), power-play percentage (50%) and penalty-kill percentage (100%).
During time away from the rink, players have taken to playing mini-sticks, Xbox, cards and even venturing outside for some sledding. This evening the team will be attending the local movie theatre where players and staff will have the choice of seeing Star Wars: The Force Awakens or The Revenant.
MONDAY, JANUARY 18
TODAY'S GAME: USA 6, RUSSIA 2
Declan Farmer (Tampa, Fla.) scored twice and Steve Cash (Overland, Mo.) made nine saves as the U.S. National Sled Hockey Team defeated Russia, 6-2. Dan McCoy (Cheswick, Pa.), Kevin McKee (Chicago, Ill.), Adam Page (Buffalo, N.Y.) and Brody Roybal (Northlake, Ill.) also scored in the win. McCoy was named the U.S. Player of the Game. A full recap can be found here.
Tomorrow Team USA will have practice from 11:30-12:30pm ET before Wednesday's game against Canada. Puck drop is set for 6p.m. ET and will be streamed live on FASTHockey.com.
HE SAID IT
Reflecting on teammate Declan Farmer's hat-trick versus Korea, Josh Pauls said, "He does pretty much everything. He scores a lot; he back checks hard. It's crazy to say he's 18 years old and already has another hat trick. It's kind of unheard of but he's such a solid player. We're really glad to have him, especially on our top line with Brody and Kevin they've been playing really well together."
SUNDAY, JANUARY 17
TODAY'S GAME: USA 8, KOREA 1
The U.S. National Sled Hockey Team opened the 2016 World Sled Hockey Challenge with an 8-1 victory over Korea. Declan Farmer (Tampa, Fla.) scored a hat trick, Josh Pauls (Green Brook, N.J.) recorded four points, and four other players had multi-point games in the win. Farmer was named the U.S. Player of the Game. A complete game recap can be found here.
Team USA returns to action tomorrow when it faces Russia in its second game of the 2016 World Sled Hockey Challenge. Puck drop is set for 11 a.m. ET and will be streamed live at FASTHockey.com. Last year, the two teams met in the championship game of the World Sled Hockey Challenge where the U.S. won, 2-1, in overtime.
SATURDAY, JANUARY 16
Team USA is back on the ice here in Bridgewater, Nova Scotia, for its last practice before opening WSHC play against Korea tomorrow at 11am ET. While yesterday's practice included 3-on-3 battles, today's practice focused on special teams and will conclude with the traditional shootout competition.
TEAM USA TAKES IN JUNIOR A HOCKEY
Several members of the U.S. National Sled Hockey Team stopped by the LCLC Clearwater Seafoods Arena last nigh to watch the South Shore Lumberjacks take on the Pictou County Weeks Crushers. In an entertaining matchup, the Crushers defeated the local Lumberjacks, 3-1.
NFL PLAYOFFS ON THE MIND TONIGHT
With the tournament set to start tomorrow, Team USA looks to keep things light tonight by taking in the NFL playoff games, particularly the matchup between the Green Bay Packers and Arizona Cardinals. Led by head coach Jeff Sauer and team doctor Mike Uihlein, both of whom are from Wisconsin, the Packers will have more than a few fans here in Bridgewater.
FRIDAY, JANUARY 15
The U.S. National Sled Hockey Team arrived safely in Bridgewater, Nova Scotia, for the World Sled Hockey Challenge that is set to begin Sunday (Jan. 17). The tournament is Team USA's first of the 2016 campaign and will see them defend their title from 2015 against Canada, Korea and Russia.
LUNENBURG COUNTY LIFESTYLE CENTRE
The 2016 World Sled Hockey Challenge is being staged at the Lunenburg County Lifestyle Centre. Within the facility is the LCLC Clearwater Seafoods Arena, which boasts a full NHL-size ice surface and the capacity to seat up to 1,200 spectators.
VISIT FROM THE ROYAL CANADIAN AIR FORCE
At the conclusion of practice yesterday, Honorary Colonel Dan Hennessey and several other members of the Royal Canadian Air Force visited the Team USA locker room where they shared their passion for hockey and expressed their gratitude at the players' dedication to the sport.
SIX PURPLE HEARTS
Of the 17 members on the 2016 U.S. National Sled Hockey Team, six are purple heart recipients. Four players -- Luke McDermott, Josh Misiewicz, Paul Schaus and Josh Sweeney -- helped Team USA to an undefeated season and the 2015 IPC Sled Hockey World Championship last year while Rico Roman is back with the national team after helping Team USA claim gold at the 2014 Paralympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia. Additionally, Bo Reichenbach, who served as an alternate captain for the U.S. Developmental Sled Hockey Team last year, is in his first season with the U.S. National Sled Hockey Team.
SPUDS THE DEVIL
Prior to the team's trip to Canada, Team USA alternate captain and New Jersey native Josh Pauls was fortunate to meet several members of the New Jersey Devils during the team's visit to St. Louis. The meeting, arranged by Devils broadcaster, Sherry Ross, included tickets to the game, being a second intermission interview guest and the opportunity to meet several Devils players after the game. Among the players Pauls met was Kyle Palmieri, who helped the U.S. National Junior Team to a pair of medals at the World Junior Championship, including gold in 2010 and bronze in 2011, and Cory Schneider, who helped Team USA to a silver medal at the 2004 IIHF Under-18 Men's World Championship and was later named the David Peterson Goalie of the Year by USA Hockey.
NOTES: Team USA has reached the tournament's championship game five times and finished first on three occasions (2009, 2012, 2015). For more information on Team USA in the World Sled Hockey Challenge, click here ... The United States roster is highlighted by captain Josh Sweeney (Portland, Ore.); alternate captains Nikko Landeros (Johnstown, Colo.) and Josh Pauls (Green Brook, N.J.); and goaltender Steve Cash (Overland, Mo.). For the complete U.S. roster, click here ... The 2016 World Sled Hockey Challenge will be streamed live at FASTHockey.com. For more tournament information, click here ... Follow all U.S. games during the World Sled Hockey Challenge via Twitter by using @USAHockey and @USAHockeyScores, and join the conversation by using the hashtag #WSHC ... Team USA has won four of the last five major international events, including the 2015 IPC Sled Hockey World Championship in Buffalo, New York; the 2014 Paralympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia; the 2012 IPC Sled Hockey World Championship in Hamar, Norway; and the 2010 Paralympic Winter Games in Vancouver, British Columbia ... Dan Brennan (Colorado Springs, Colo.), director of sled and inline national teams for USA Hockey, is serving as the general manager of the 2016 U.S. National Sled Hockey Team ... Jeff Sauer (Madison, Wis.), former men's ice hockey head coach at the University of Wisconsin, is in his fifth season as head coach of the U.S. National Sled Hockey Team. Additional staff members include team physician Mike Uihlein (Grafton, Wis.), athletic trainer Mike Cortese (Boynton Beach, Fla.) and equipment manager Joel Isaacson (Houghton, Mich).
USA Hockey is proud to introduce the seven – yes, SEVEN – officials representing the United States at the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea, beginning Feb. 11 (women’s hockey) and Feb. 14 (men’s hockey).
This year USA Hockey had more officials selected than any other country.
So, without further ado, meet our 2018 Olympic officials:
Hometown: North Tonawanda, New York
Length of officiating career: 11 seasons
Where did you get your start? As I take the time to reflect, the journey began when I started playing hockey at the age of 4. Learning the basic skills of the game grew into a greater love for the game, which led to ultimately pursuing college hockey. After I graduated university and returned to my hometown, it was at the rink I grew up skating, Hockey Outlet, where I first wore the stripes, officiating an 8U cross-ice game. All of my years playing and studying the game gave me the foundation to find success in officiating.
When did you find out you were assigned to the Games? What was your reaction in that moment? I found out via a phone call from Matt Leaf on Tuesday, Nov. 28. I was extremely excited and truly grateful for the opportunity. I immediately called my husband to share the moment with him, as he has been very supportive during this journey (he’s also a hockey official who understands the significance).
Did you ever imagine your officiating career taking you to places like this? No, I never imagined officiating could take me to the Olympics. I actually started officiating for extra money in law school. I quickly found, however, that it filled a void I knew I was going to have after college hockey was over. It afforded me the opportunity to stay involved with hockey at a high level.
Favorite Olympic moment? The 1998 Olympic Winter Games will always be one of my favorites because it was the first year women’s hockey was an Olympic sport.
USA Hockey is sending the most officials to the Games this year; what does the officiating program do so right that more and more Americans are being selected for these big-time events? The USA Hockey officiating program provides many opportunities to develop its officials on a national level, including seminars, camps and high-level competition with high-quality evaluators/instructors. The program also has a long history of going above and beyond to promote and develop its female officials.
Any advice? Focus on the elements you can control, including rule knowledge, skating, fitness and communication. Work hard and dream big!
Hometown: Westfield, Massachusetts
Length of officiating career: 10 seasons
Where did you get your start? I played in a women's league following college and started my officiating career in that women's league.
When did you find out you were assigned to the Games? What was your reaction in that moment? On Nov 28. We were told it would be around Dec. 1, so I was anxiously awaiting the email, and was ecstatic when it came a few days earlier than expected. I first received a voicemail from Matt Leaf and couldn't dial his number fast enough to hear the "good news" he had to share. This has been a dream since my first IIHF tournament back in 2011, so I was euphoric.
Did you ever imagine your officiating career taking you to places like this? Officiating has taken me to numerous states and countries, and I certainly never imagined I would have the opportunity to travel around the globe and meet so many incredible people through the game I love. When I learned about the possibilities for officials, I was eager to become IIHF-certified and participate in a tournament overseas. Following my first IIHF World Championship in Caen, France, I was eager for another IIHF opportunity and set my ultimate goal on the Olympics.
How is officiating on the Olympic stage different from other international competitions (or is it?) I can't wait to see! I've been to a handful of IIHF World Championships and am excited to experience the highest level of hockey on the world's biggest stage.
Favorite Olympic moment? Watching the U.S. women win gold in '98. At that time, I was playing hockey on a boys team, so it was amazing to see women playing hockey on TV.
USA Hockey is sending the most officials to the Games this year; what does the officiating program do so right that more and more Americans are being selected for these big-time events? USA Hockey has a solid development program for females and is providing the resources to allow us a variety of opportunities to learn and grow.
Any advice? Make the most out of every game and each opportunity. It can be a long ride, but along the way you’ll meet incredible people, have amazing experiences. There will be some disappointments, but control what you can control, put in the hard work outside of the rink, and have fun.
Hometown: Augusta, Maine (lives in Saco, Maine)
Officiating career length: 19 seasons
Where did you get your start? I started officiating in Augusta, doing youth games with my dad.
When did you find out you were assigned to the Games? What was your reaction in that moment? I got a call from Matt Leaf on Nov. 28. Absolute shock. It's hard to put into words the exact feelings of finding out.
Did you ever imagine your officiating career taking you to places like this? No. I've always wanted to officiate the highest level I could do. Each year has given me the chance to get closer to the going to the Olympics, but even now it seems surreal.
How is officiating on the Olympic stage different from other international competitions (or is it?) I'm not certain it's different except that everyone is familiar with the Olympics and this is the absolute top of the mountain when it comes to women's hockey. When it comes to international competitions, only those people associated with hockey understand what it is. The Olympics on the other hand represent the best in the world to everyone.
Favorite Olympic moment? The 1980 Miracle On Ice. I wasn't alive then, but having watched the movies and skated in Lake Placid many times, it sticks out as my favorite. It really epitomizes the emotions, dedication and excitement associated with the Olympics and why we play sports. The winner is never pre-determined and you just never know who will come out on top.
USA Hockey is sending the most officials to the Games this year; what does the officiating program do so right that more and more Americans are being selected for these big-time events? The USA Hockey Officiating Program has an incredible development program that gives officials, both men and women, opportunities to learn and develop. Women receive consistent opportunities to skate national and international tournaments and attend camps. As a whole, the officiating program is giving opportunities to a greater number of officials, and therefore, no one gets complacent. Everyone is continuously striving to get better so that they can continue to get opportunities at these big-time events.
Any advice? Own Your Future. I would give this advice to any official who is striving to continue moving up the officiating ladder, not just those looking to work the Olympics. In 2016, I was fortunate to attend USA Hockey’s ODP full-time camp in Plymouth, Mich., and this was the motto of the program for the year. It has really resonated with me. There are so many things you can't control in officiating, but at the same time, there are certainly things you can - your work ethic, your attitude, your willingness to learn, your dedication to fitness, just to name a few.
Hometown: Okemos, Michigan (lives in Grand Rapids, Mich.)
Length of officiating career: 19 years
Where did you get your start? I started officiating in Lansing, Mich., during high school, for money and extra ice time.
When did you find out you were assigned to the Games? What was your reaction in that moment? I found out about the Olympics when I received a phone call from Matt Leaf the last week of November. I felt just incredible feeling of accomplishment and so blessed with the opportunity to work the Olympics. It’s a dream come true
Did you ever imagine your officiating career taking you to places like this? I never thought officiating would take me all over the world. I’m very lucky USA Hockey and the IIHF have afforded me amazing experiences and journeys.
How is officiating on the Olympic stage going to be different from other international competitions? The Olympics are definitely a larger stage, but it’s still the same job I have to do, and that’s work hard and give it my best.
Favorite Olympic moment? Watching the USA vs. Canada men’s gold-medal hockey games in 2002 and 2010. They were great, exciting, action-packed games that lived up to the billing.
Any advice? Stay involved with USA Hockey and take advantage of every opportunity you can along the way.
Hometown: Buffalo, New York
Length of officiating career: I started officiating when I was 12 years old.
Where did you get your start? I was cut from a local travel hockey team and was pretty disappointed at the time. My parents asked if I wanted to ref hockey to make some extra money. I was hooked and loved being on the ice.
When did you find out you were assigned to the Games? What was your reaction? I had taken a personal day off from work to catch up on some errands and spend time with my family. I was on my way back from a doctor’s appointment when I received a call form Matt Leaf advising that I was selected to work and that the IIHF would be sending out their press release the next day. My initial reaction was disbelief; I couldn’t believe I was actually selected. It didn’t sink in until I saw my name on the list in the press release on who was assigned.
Did you ever imagine your officiating career taking you to places like this? In all honesty, no. When I started reffing, it was a side job to make some extra money. Then it turned into wanting to officiate the best games around Buffalo. It then went to a career taking me around the U.S. working junior hockey and minor pro. While I was working junior hockey, I never thought it would be a possibility to officiate in other countries and make it to this point.
How is officiating on the Olympic stage different from other international competitions (or is it?) The Olympic stage is different and not different, at the same time. It’s the same in the fact that your routine, preparing to skate a game and being mentally and physically prepared, cannot change. You have to be ready to go. It differs because the Olympics are the biggest stage for ice hockey and the entire world is watching. The Olympics only come around every four years and the players are going to give it all they have.
Favorite Olympic moment? My favorite moment would be most recently watching the USA vs. Canada gold-medal men’s game in the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver.
USA hockey is sending the most to the Games this year; what does the officiating program do so right that more and more Americans are being selected for these big-time events? It all starts at the bottom. USA Hockey has a great system for its officials beginning at the grassroots level. They have developed a way that officials at any level are able to learn. Yearly modules and classroom seminars, district seminars, Futures Camp, High Performance Camp and Program of Merit are avenues officials can take to further their education and learning. Through this, USA Hockey has established a constant flow of officials who have taken advantage of these opportunities which has equipped them for potential assignments such as this.
Any advice? The road to advance your career can be long, challenging, and difficult, but keep your head down and keep controlling what you can control. As an official, we can control our appearance, physical fitness, rule knowledge and attitude. These things will assist in helping your career at any level.
Hometown: Belvidere, New Jersey
Length of officiating career: 17 years
Where did you get your start? USA Hockey Level 1 seminar in Bethlehem, Pa., back in 2000. I started my international career sometime around 2011, when I got my international license.
When did you find out you were assigned to the Games? What was your reaction in that moment? I was at work when Matt Leaf called. When I saw it was him calling, I was hoping it wasn't to give me bad news. When he started with “Congratulations,” there was a moment of pure joy, followed by ‘Wow, I can't believe it's actually happening.’
Did you ever imagine your officiating career taking you to places like this? Officiating has taken me beyond anywhere I ever could have imagined. It truly is incredible to have the opportunity to see the world thanks to hockey.
How is officiating on the Olympic stage different from other international competitions? Pretty sure the magnifier is going to be a bit larger for this one. It always amazes me to see the passion people have for their home countries.
Favorite Olympic moment? My most memorable Olympic moment was from 1996 when Muhammad Ali lit the Olympic torch in Atlanta. I was 13 at the time and had been part of the Olympic torch relay when it came through my home state of New Jersey. Hockey-related memory would be watching overtime of the 2010 men's ice hockey gold-medal game.
USA Hockey is sending the most officials to the Games this year; what does the officiating program do so right that more and more Americans are being selected for these big-time events? USA Hockey does a fantastic job of giving its officials a solid foundation in which to grow their officiating careers. What you are seeing is not overnight success but many, many years of dedication to learning the craft of officiating and earning the stripes.
Any advice? Put in the hard work and time it takes to climb the officiating ladder. Enjoy every moment and opportunity officiating provides you because, even without the Olympics, hockey has taken me to places I never could have imagined.
Hometown: Port Huron, Michigan (lives in St. Clair Shores, Mich.)
Length of officiating career: 13 years
Where did you get your start? My husband (boyfriend at the time) had his USA Hockey seminar to go to and invited me along. He thought since I knew how to skate it might be something fun to do together.
When did you find out you were assigned to the Games? What was your reaction in that moment? I found out Nov. 28. I was at work, alone with my puppy, and started crying. I was so relieved and excited.
Did you ever imagine your officiating career taking you to places like this? The second game I ever officiated was with a great official and friend of mine, Krissy Langley. She told me what was possible and has been an inspiration and role model to me ever since.
Favorite Olympic moment? Watching Michelle Kwan at the 1998 Nagano Olympics.
USA Hockey is sending the most officials to the Games this year; what does the officiating program do so right that more and more Americans are being selected for these big-time events? USA Hockey is very supportive of its officials. They have developed wonderful programs to help us thrive. There is no limit to what we can achieve with the support we are given. As long as you take advantage of the opportunities and work hard, the sky's the limit.
Any advice? Use the resources around you. Never be afraid to ask for help and always work hard. Own your future, set goals and work toward them everyday.
Tag(s): Sled Hockey