COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – USA Hockey will host its 2022 Annual Congress from June 8-11 in Denver, Colorado. The four-day event provides USA Hockey’s various councils, committees and sections the opportunity to conduct the business of the national governing body and celebrate accomplishment.
USA Hockey will honor its service award recipients, players of the year, and other top award recipients during the President’s Awards Dinner on June 10.
Honorees include Adult Player of the Year Jen Tracy (Monument, Colo.), Bob Allen Women’s Player of the Year Hilary Knight (Sun Valley, Idaho), Dave Tyler Junior Player of the Year Connor Kurth (Elk River, Minn.), Dave Peterson Goaltender of the Year Alex Tracy (Chicago, Ill.), Jim Johannson College Player of the Year Dryden McKay (Downers Grove, Ill.) and Disabled Athlete of the Year Jen Lee (San Francisco, Calif.).
Other top award honorees who will be recognized include Excellence in Safety Award recipient Jason Hodges (New Baltimore, Mich.), Chet Stewart Award winner Roger Newall (Albuquerque, N.M.), Adult Member of the Year Pete Carlson (Blaine, Minn.), Walter Yaciuk Award recipient Pat Westrum (Apple Valley, Minn.), Distinguished Achievement Award recipient Maria Dennis (South Windsor, Conn.) and William Thayer Tutt Award winner, the late John M. Osidach (Washington D.C.). Brian Fishman Fellow Sidney Binger (Mason, Mich.) and Brendan Burke Intern Ashton Duplessie (Bethesda, Md.) will also be recognized.
Jennifer Tracy’s path to hockey began at 37, when she first began playing adult hockey in her home state of Colorado. She was drawn to hockey not only because of the excitement of the game, but also because of the many ways the hockey community gives back to others. Tracy’s involvement in the sport has only grown over the years, as she is an integral part of both her local and state women’s hockey associations as both a player and board member.
Tracy serves as the president of the Pike’s Peak Women’s Hockey Foundation, her local adult women’s hockey association, and has served on the Women’s Association of Colorado Hockey Board for the last five years. Through her leadership, Tracy has helped grow the game of women’s hockey in Colorado, sharing her love for the sport through hosting numerous try hockey events at her local rinks. Tracy also volunteers with the blind hockey and sled hockey communities, as well as organizing other community outreach programs.
In addition to her work at the adult level, Tracy also helps shepherd the next generation of girl’s hockey players, volunteering with the local 8U and girl’s associations in Monument, Colorado.
Hilary Knight etched her name further in the record books this past February at the 2022 Olympic Winter Games in Beijing, with her 22 Olympic games played the most ever by a U.S. women's player. The four-time Olympian and alternate captain led Team USA in both points (10) and goals (6) as the U.S. brought home the silver medal.
Her performance in Beijing was one of the most prolific by a U.S. player in history with her 10 points second all-time in a single Olympics by a Team USA player while ranking third in the 2022 Olympic tournament. She tallied pivotal goals during the Games, including two game-winners, and scored an important short-handed goal in the gold-medal game. A two-way player, Knight’s offensive prowess was equally as impressive as her defensive efforts, yielding a +6 rating through seven games in China.
With 27 career Olympic points (12G, 15A), Knight ranks second all-time in U.S. history in points, goals and assists and first among active players.
In the lead up to Beijing, Knight led Team USA with five points, including four goals, in six games on the My Why Tour, presented by Toyota.
Knight has been a mainstay on the U.S. Women’s National Team since 2006, highlighted by having medaled in four Olympic Winter Games, with gold in 2018 and silver in 2010, 2014 and 2022. She has also been a part of eight gold-medal teams at the IIHF Women’s World Championship (2008, 2009, 2011, 2013, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2019) and three silver-medal squads (2007, 2012, 2021).
Dubuque Fighting Saints forward Connor Kurth finished fifth in the USHL regular-season with 81 points in 62 games, while his 35 goals were tied for fifth in the league. The Elk River, Minn., native played in his second season with Dubuque after scoring 41 points in 52 games last season.
In the 62 regular-season games Kurth appeared in, the University of Minnesota commit recorded 25 multi-point games including his first career USHL hat trick against Chicago on March 26. Kurth helped the Fighting Saints to a 40-16-3-3 regular-season mark, good for second in the Eastern Conference.
Kurth was named to the 2022 BioSteel All-American Game and recorded an assist on the game’s opening goal. Kurth also played in the 2021 BioSteel All-American Game.
Prior to joining Dubuque in the 2020-21 season, Kurth played for the Gentry Academy in St. Paul, Minn.
Sioux City Musketeers goaltender Alex Tracy finished second among USHL goaltenders in the regular season in both wins (27) and goals against average (2.50), and was eighth in the league in save percentage.
After appearing in 18 games last season with Sioux City, the Chicago, Ill., native appeared in 44 games for the Musketeers in 2021-22. His three shutouts recorded on the season were tied for second-best among USHL goaltenders.
Tracy lost back-to-back starts in regulation once all season (Dec. 31 and Jan. 2) and following that January start, he went on to win 18 of 22 contests with one shutout. He led the USHL with 44 regular-season games played, and finished third with 2,427 minutes played. Tracy won both shootouts that he played in on the year.
The Minnesota State University Mankato commit previously played for the Johnstown Tomahwaks (NAHL) during the 2019-20 season, where he won both NAHL East Goaltender of the Year and Rookie of the Year honors. Tracy played youth hockey for the Chicago Fury.
Minnesota State University goalie Dryden McKay closed out his senior season in dominant fashion, becoming the first Maverick in program history and the first goaltender since 2001 to win the Hobey Baker Memorial Award, given to the top player in NCAA Division I men’s ice hockey each season.
The Downers Grove, Illinois, native capped his collegiate career with a national championship game appearance and set a new single-season NCAA Division I men’s ice hockey record for wins with 38. McKay finished the year with a 38-5-0 record, ranking second in the nation in shutouts (10) and goals against average (1.31), while boasting the seventh-best save percentage (.931).
A 2021-22 ACHA First Team All-America selection, McKay was named the 2021-22 CCHA Player of the Year, CCHA Goaltender of the Year and also earned First Team All-CCHA honors. He was the HCA National Goaltender of the Month twice, CCHA Goaltender of the Month four times and CCHA Goaltender of the Week seven times throughout the season as well.
The netminder was also tabbed the MVP of the Albany Regional in the NCAA Tournament and was a finalist for the Mike Richter Award.
Following the season, McKay signed with the Toronto Maple Leafs and will join the organization in the fall.
Jen Lee backstopped Team USA to an unprecedented fourth-straight Paralympic gold medal at the 2022 Beijing Paralympic Winter Games and did not allow a single goal in Team USA’s four games in the tournament. Lee, who was 4-0 and the U.S. starter in all four contests, stopped all 33 shots he faced en route to gold in Beijing.
The San Francisco, Calif., native boasted a 16-save performance in Team USA’s 5-0 victory over Canada in the gold-medal game of the 2022 Paralympic Winter Games. Lee led the tournament with a flawless goals against average (0.00) and save percentage (1.000), the only goaltender of the tournament to do so. His perfect performance in net ties former starting goaltender Steve Cash, who accomplished the same feat at the 2010 Vancouver Paralympic Winter Games.
Lee’s historic performance in Beijing is just one of many impressive achievements on his Team USA resume. At the 2018 Paralympic Winter Games, Lee skated in two contests, registering a 0.60 goals against average to help the U.S. bring home the gold medal in PyeongChang, South Korea. In his Paralympic debut in 2014, Lee saw action in two contests en route to gold in Sochi, Russia. In addition to his three Paralympic gold medals, Lee has helped the U.S. bring home gold in three world championships (2012, 2019, 2021). During his Team USA tenure, Lee has seen action in 35 games and has recorded shutouts in 14 of them.
A former Sergeant in the United States Army, Lee has skated eight seasons (2011-14, 2017-22) with the U.S. National Sled Hockey Team and has represented Team USA in three Paralympic Winter Games, four World Championships and six Para Hockey Cups. Lee currently resides in San Antonio, Texas, where he is heavily involved in the crossfit community there.
Jason Hodges has been a champion of player safety over the course of his distinguished career, one that includes nearly a quarter century with USA Hockey.
Through these times of the global pandemic, Hodges has played a key role in the welfare of athletes and staff, including serving as a COVID safety officer for USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program and also for the 2022 U.S. Olympic Men’s Ice Hockey Team.
He is in his 24th season as an athletic trainer with the NTDP where he has been at the center of developing and providing industry leading health and safety protocol for our nation’s top athletes.
Hodges has also been a key member of the training staff for numerous U.S. teams on the international stage, including for the NTDP’s U.S. Under-18 Men’s National Team, the 2021 bronze medal-winning U.S. Men’s National Team and the gold medal-winning 2021 U.S. National Junior Team.
He has served on the staff of five gold-medal squads at the International Ice Hockey Federation Under-18 Men’s World Championship (2005, 2009, 2011, 2015, 2017) in addition to two silver-medal teams (2007, 2013) and one bronze-medal squad (2019).
The New Baltimore, Michigan, native has worked with seven World Under-17 Challenge squads, with championships in 2001, 2010, and 2014 (Jan.), and performed athletic training duties for five other U.S. National Junior Teams (2002, 2009, 2011, 2013, 2017), collecting gold in 2013 and 2017, and bronze in 2011.
Hodges is a 1998 graduate of the University of Michigan with a degree in movement science from the division of kinesiology. He earned his master’s degree in athletic training from Indiana State University in 1999.
A longtime official and volunteer with USA Hockey, Roger Newall has been a mainstay in the Rocky Mountain District hockey scene since the mid-1980s, when he began working as a USA Hockey official in New Mexico.
Having risen to a Level 4 certified official during his career, Newall has officiated at virtually all levels of the sport throughout the years, including from youth, junior and adult, to his time working minor league hockey in the now defunct Western Professional Hockey League.
He helped re-start the Land of Enchantment Amateur Hockey Association back in 1986 and has been involved with the New Mexico Hockey Referee Confederation, including both as treasurer since 1996 and in scheduling since 2009.
Newall, who has played goaltender throughout his 50-plus-year playing career, spent two years (2003-05) as the Rocky Mountain District Referee-In-Chief and for the last 10 years has served as the database coordinator for the District.
Additionally, Newall earned his Level 5 coaching certification from USA Hockey in 1995 and for 30 years (1988-2017) served on the player development camp staff for the Rocky Mountain District.
Outside the rink, Newall is a U.S. Air Force veteran, having served in Vietnam as Special Operations Flight Crewmember, receiving a Distinguished Flying Cross and Purple Heart among other distinguished awards during his service. He worked as the Veterans Affairs Liaison in the Mayor’s Office of the City of Albuquerque for six years until his retirement in 2017.
Pete Carlson is a lifelong member and volunteer within the USA Hockey community, having played hockey at the youth, college and adult levels.
Carlson currently serves as the senior director of ice arena operations and programs for the National Sports Center Super Rink in Blaine, Minnesota. The Super Rink boasts eight rinks and is one of the largest ice arena complexes in the world. His career includes more than 30 years of managing ice facilities around the country.
Carlson and the NSC Super Rink have been members of the U.S. Ice Rink Association since its conception in 2000. He is currently a board member and also serves on the executive committee.
For the past 15 years, Carlson has served as a member of the USA Hockey Adult Council. He is an active volunteer in the hockey community, helping to onboard new leagues, run adult tournaments and adult skills clinics, and assist at many other events, including the Labatt Blue/USA Hockey Pond Hockey National Championships each season.
An adult hockey player since 1990, Carlson is a member of the Minnesota Wild Adult Hockey League that plays out of the NSC Super Rink in Blaine. He uses his hockey experience, combined with his professional contacts, to grow the game at all levels.
Pat Westrum grew up in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and after taking up hockey as a child, has been a key contributor to the sport throughout his life.
Westrum, who earned all-state honors in both football and ice hockey as a prep, has coached at every level of amateur hockey in the state of Minnesota over his 30-plus-year career, including as a member of the coaching staff for the Apple Valley High School boys hockey team that won the Minnesota State High School Tournament in 1996.
Currently the district coach-in-chief for Minnesota District 6, Westrum has served the USA Hockey Coaching Education Program since 1995. Additionally, he has been involved as a coach and evaluator with Minnesota Hockey and USA Hockey player development camps for over 25 years and has been instrumental in the development of programs, athletes and coaches, not only in the Twin Cities, but throughout the state.
Westrum’s eye for talent and player development landed him a role as an amateur scout in the NHL, where he spent four seasons with the Phoenix Coyotes followed by 10 years with the Montreal Canadiens in a similar capacity.
As a player, Westrum attended the University of Minnesota on a football and hockey scholarship and served as the captain of the Gophers’ 1970 Western Collegiate Hockey Association championship team. After that, Westrum went on to play 237 regular-season games in the World Hockey Association for the Minnesota Fighting Saints, Calgary Cowboys and Birmingham Bulls between 1974 and 1978. Westrum was also a member of the U.S. Men’s National Team for the 1978 IIHF Men’s World Championship in Prague, Czech Republic.
Both of Westrum’s sons, Ryan and Erik, played hockey at the University of Minnesota while his daughter, Heidi, played soccer at St. Cloud State University. Erik’s playing career brought him all the way to the NHL.
Westrum resides in Apple Valley with his wife, Sandra. Together, they love spending time with their 10 grandkids.
Maria Dennis has been involved in hockey her entire life and today serves as the Director of Player Health and Safety & Associate Counsel for the National Hockey League Players’ Association.
She started playing hockey at the age of six in her hometown of South Windsor, Connecticut, and went on to an impressive collegiate career at Yale University, accumulating numerous scoring awards including one totaling 96 goals, the most of any player – male or female – in Yale hockey history.
While attending Georgetown Law, Dennis was selected to the U.S. Women’s National Team and helped Team USA earn the silver medal in the inaugural International Ice Hockey Federation Women’s World Championship in 1990.
Following her national team playing career, Dennis volunteered with USA Hockey as a member of the Board of Directors for nearly a decade and simultaneously served as a member of the Board of Directors of the United States Olympic Committee. In addition, she was voted to serve as an athlete representative to the Salt Lake Olympic Management Committee for the 2002 Olympic Winter Games.
Dennis joined the NHLPA in 2011 where she advocates on behalf of the Players’ interests with respect to a wide array of health and safety matters, including the Players’ right to quality medical care, second medical opinions, a fair and equitable drug testing program, substance abuse and mental health assistance, and concussion management. Using her hockey background, she also represents the Players’ interests in the areas of supplementary discipline, data analytics, and wearable technology.
Today Dennis also chairs the NHL/NHLPA Female Hockey Advisory Committee, a joint initiative that began in 2018 to accelerate the growth of girls’ and women’s hockey in North America and ensure that girls and women experience all the opportunities and benefits that the sport provides.
John Osidach was born in France to parents who fled the former Soviet Union, and eventually moved to Canada in 1951. Osidach fell in love with hockey and played for more than a decade in the Metro Toronto League prior to attending and playing hockey for St. Mary’s University. Osidach moved to Washington D.C. in 1973 and his four-decade long journey in helping hockey advance in the Capital Beltway began shortly thereafter.
Osidach first started volunteering with USA Hockey in 1976 by coaching the Chevy Chase Club. In 1979, he alongside Robert Siblo, founded the Washington Metros which still exists today as the Washington Little Caps. Also competing under the name Washington Americans, Osidach helped the program grow to include all age levels, volunteering with the organization for more than three decades.
Osidach, who became an American citizen in 1982, spent his early years on the ice coaching, but also volunteered as an administrator, including many years as the club president. In 1994, Osidach led his youth team to a Tier I National Tournament appearance, coaching them to the semifinals.
In the late 1990s, Osidach helped Kush Sidhu form the first Tier I girls hockey program in the D.C. area which is now known as The Washington Pride. Osidach spent his time volunteering as a coach throughout his battle with cancer, fighting for more than three years. He was on the ice coaching the day prior to his passing in 2016.
At his funeral, former Little Caps forward Jeff Halpern, who competed for Team USA internationally and played 976 NHL games prior to becoming an NHL assistant coach, noted all of the team photos lined up. In each photo was a different year’s squad, smiling ear to ear, with their selfless patriarch “Coach” proudly standing next to his teams. He never had kids of his own play for the program, but for some players he stood as their oak tree. When parents tragically passed away, or someone needed help, Halpern recalled that coach would always, always be there for them.
As the Brian Fishman Fellow, Sidney Binger played an essential role in the communications department of USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program over the past year.
Established in 1999 by USA Hockey, the Fellowship is awarded annually to an outstanding college graduate pursuing a career in athletic communications. The Fellowship is named in honor of the late Brian Fishman, who served as the manager of communications and marketing for USA Hockey’s National team Development Program during the 1998-99 season.
Binger served as the main U.S. team contact for the 2021 Under-17 Five Nations and Four Nations tournaments. In addition, she served as the digital content coordinator for the U.S. Under-18 Men’s National Team at the 2021 IIHF Under-18 Men’s World Championship. She also aided with the Boys 15O Tier I National Championships held in March at USA Hockey Arena.
Binger, who graduated from Michigan State University in May 2020 with a bachelor of science in advertising management and public relations/sports business management, previously worked in the MSU athletic communications office and also had internships with the Detroit Red Wings and Lansing United Soccer Club.
Additionally, she served as a volunteer for the Big Ten Conference, the Detroit Pistons, and the Grand Rapids Griffins, assisting in a variety of media and public relation roles.
Ashton Duplessie was a key member of USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program staff in 2021-22, serving as the 11th recipient of the Brendan Burke Internship.
Established in April 2010 by USA Hockey, the internship is awarded annually to a recent college graduate who is pursuing a career in hockey operations. The internship was founded in memory of the late Brendan Burke, who served as a student assistant for the Miami University men’s ice hockey team and son of Brian Burke, longtime supporter of USA Hockey and former president of hockey operations for the Calgary Flames.
Duplessie was involved in all aspects of hockey operations at the NTDP in Plymouth, Michigan, including serving as team leader at the 2021 Under-17 Four Nations tournament and the 2022 IIHF Under-18 Men’s World Championship. He also helped run the NTDP evaluation camp that took place in March.
The Maryland native’s responsibilities in Plymouth included interfacing with the National Team Development Program, national teams, international events and player development camps. He also gained exposure to USA Hockey’s acclaimed American Development Model and Coaching Education Program.
Duplessie graduated in 2019 from the University of Wisconsin, with a degree in sports management. He spent time previously as the assistant coach and hockey operations coordinator with the Milwaukee Power, as well as interned with USA Hockey’s disabled hockey program, the Washington Capitals, the USHL’s Madison Capitols and served as video coordinator for the University of Wisconsin’s women’s ice hockey team.