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Weselenchuk honoring USA heroes on World University Games mask

By John Tranchina - Special to, 12/09/13, 7:00AM MST


When goaltender Wyatt Waselenchuk takes the ice for Team USA at the Winter World University Games Dec. 10-21 in Trentino, Italy, he will be doing it in style, wearing a special mask designed specifically for the tournament.

The 24-year-old senior at Minot State (N.D.) University will be unmistakable in net with his flashy headgear that includes an homage to 1980 U.S. Olympic Team icon Jim Craig on one side and the mythical character Uncle Sam on the other. Renowned Montreal-based mask artist David Leroux painted Weselenchuk’s mask.

“On one side you have Uncle Sam, which looks pretty crazy, and on the other side is Jim Craig,” Waselenchuk explained. “And then, it has some eagles on it, the stars and stripes in the background, the USA Hockey logo is on the chin. It’s pretty crazy.

“I like the back-plate on it; I think it turned out pretty cool, with our Minot State logo in red, white and blue. [Leroux] just added lots of touches to it, so there’s lots of stuff on there.”

The U.S. Men’s National University Team, which is comprised of players from collegiate ice hockey teams affiliated with the American Collegiate Hockey Association, will be looking to improve on its sixth-place finish in 2011, the best in U.S. history.

It’s almost too bad that the mask was crafted solely for the upcoming international tournament, because the mask truly looks spectacular.

“It just kind of came into fruition out of nowhere. It wasn’t anything I was planning on,” said Waselenchuk, who is 6-3 this season with four shutouts, a 1.67 goals-against average and a .950 save percentage for Minot State. “To put that kind of effort into something that’s so short-term, it almost feels like a waste. But that being said, a lot of people said it’s going to be such a good memento to have, put it up on the mantle when we’re done and always look back at it and say, ‘What an experience.’ ”

Waselenchuk, who backstopped the Beavers to the ACHA national championship last spring, elaborated on the genesis of the mask’s creation.

“I didn’t even think about doing anything like that, but I had someone approach me and said they’d like to do something like that for me,” he said. “So I gave a call to my normal painter that I’d worked with on the mask that I’m using right now, and threw a couple of ideas back and forth with him, and the main idea I wanted to do was that Jim Craig side. That was pretty cool. I remember growing up seeing that poster hanging up. My dad always had it, so I thought, ‘What an opportunity, what a chance to display that on the mask.’ I can’t really take too much credit for it other than the idea; the painter did an amazing job.”

As patriotic as the mask looks, it’s almost surprising to discover that Waselenchuk actually grew up in Port Moody, B.C., and derived his admiration for Craig from the movie “Miracle” more than anything else. But Waselenchuk does possess dual citizenship and, as such, qualified to represent the United States internationally.

“Just watching that movie, it was a pretty cool inspiration in a way, so I just thought it would be pretty cool to honor him in a way,” Waselenchuk said of Craig. “It’s kind of very surreal, but I’m not technically from the States, I’m a dual citizen. The people that were putting this team together got a hold of me last year and said, ‘Hey, we heard that you have dual citizenship, would you be able to pursue it?’ And I figured, ‘Why not?’ My mom’s from California, my dad’s from Saskatchewan in Canada. They met and, through my mom, I have dual citizenship. I ended up getting my passport this summer.”

And just because he didn’t grow up within U.S. borders doesn’t mean that Waselenchuk, who previously played junior hockey for Langley in the British Columbia Hockey League, isn’t honored and humbled to be chosen to pull on the Team USA jersey.

“It’s indescribable what it means to me to be able to do something at this level, and I just can’t thank the organization and the coaching staff enough for selecting me,” said Waselenchuk. “It’s an amazing honor. It leaves me kind of speechless to do something like this on an international level.”

His mask will likely leave opponents speechless.

Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.

To view more of David Leroux’s handiwork, visit

Date Opponent Time (ET)/Result
12/10 Sweden W, 2-0
12/13 Latvia W, 3-2 OT
12/15 Italy L, 1-5
12/18 Italy (Quarterfinals) W, 5-0
12/20 Kazakhstan (Semifinals) L, 1-5
12/21 Russia (Bronze Medal Game) L, 2-6

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QUESTIONGoalie goes to the corner to play the puck, but turns the puck over to an attacking player. The goalie then body-checks the attacking player. Is this a penalty?”

ANSWERRule 640.f in the USA Hockey Playing Rules states:

A minor penalty shall be assessed to any goalkeeper who body checks an opponent.


QUESTIONAfter the whistle, Player A and Player B are jawing at each other. Player Red-A drops their gloves, looking to provoke a fight. Player B does not reciprocate, and Player A does not throw a punch. Referees step in the middle and separate the players. What penalty should be assessed to Player A, considering they seemed to be intending on fighting and attempted to provoke one, but did not actually throw a punch?

ANSWERRule 601.a in the USA Hockey Playing Rules states,

“A minor penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct shall be assessed to any player who commits the following actions:

-  Challenges or disputes the rulings of any official.
-  Taunts or incites an opponent.
-  Creates a disturbance during the game.
-  Shoots the puck after the whistle, if in the opinion of the Official such shot was avoidable.”


QUESTIONWhat can an official do if a game will exceed the scheduled ice time? Rink management has no time to finish the game and no local league rule address this. Can you apply Rule 636.e and suspend the game?

ANSWER: The USA Hockey Playing Rules are written with the expectation that all games will be scheduled with enough ice time for completion. That is why you will find no reference about “Running Clocks”, “Mercy Rules”, or other time management devices. However, sometimes games are delayed or not enough ice time is purchased. In this case, the Rink Management is under no obligation to allow the game to continue if they have committed the next slot of ice to another customer.

Therefore, the Game Officials will have to work with the Team Officials to decide how to manage the result. In some cases, the game will be just a Rec-League friendly match and the final score is meaningless. However, the case of League Games or games involving “Tournament Bound” teams will need a resolution. In this case, the teams should not be allowed to select the final result (due to potential conflict of interest). The Game Officials will have to suspend the game and submit a report to the governing league or entity so they can decide the final result which will affect league standings. From there, it’s in the hands of the league to decide.


QUESTIONA goalie has altered and cut a deep "V" notch into the top of the paddle of his goal stick, on the back-side, approx 1" down from where the shaft of the stick and flat part of the paddle meet. The goalie has taped this area up to cover sharp edges? All other stick measurements are within legal standards. Is this stick legal to play with?

ANSWER: Provided the alterations to the stick do not make the stick’s dimensions illegal under Rule 301 in the USA Hockey Playing Rules and all rough or sharp edges have been covered to prevent injury to players, there should be nothing to prevent this stick from being used in a game. The USAH Playing Rules do not mandate that a goalkeeper’s stick-paddle must be completely straight-edged.


QUESTIONPlayer A loses his stick on the ice and play continues. A short while later as Player A goes to retrieve his stick, Player B uses his skate to move the stick out of the way using a kicking motion. Normally, this is a straightforward Interference penalty. In this case, when Player A picks the stick up as the penalty is being reported, the stick is unplayable as it is broken. Does that change the scenario?

ANSWER: In your situation, the fact that the stick was broken does not affect the call.


The USA Hockey Playing Rules are now available as a mobile device app! Check your Apple, Android, or Windows app store to download this playing rule app free of charge.

Check out the USA Hockey mobile-friendly online rulebook application! Enter into your mobile device’s web browser to gain instant access to the USA Hockey Playing Rules (must have mobile or internet service).

The USA Hockey Playing Rules Casebook and other educational material can be found under the OFFICIALS tab at

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