The 2014-15 U.S. National Developmental Sled Hockey Team, which has been training at Braemer Arena’s new outdoor rink in Edina, Minnesota since Wednesday (Dec. 10), will conclude training camp tomorrow.
Called “The Backyard,” the $1.4 million rink opened December 5 and features an arched metal roof, heated players’ benches and a refrigerated sheet of ice. Designed to accommodate sled hockey, the players’ bench areas have windows about two feet above ice level, allowing sled hockey participants to see the playing surface from the bench.
Led by coach Mike MacMillan (Buffalo, Minn.), who also serves as USA Hockey’s national coach-in-chief, the camp received visits from guest coaches Cory Leyland and Tom Peart. Among those participating in the training camp is forward Kelsey DiClaudio (Pittsburg, Pa.), who was voted the Allianz International Paralympic Committee Athlete of the Month for November 2014 following her play in the first ever IPC Ice Sledge Hockey Women’s International Cup.
In addition, Willard Ikola, who coached Edina High School to eight state championships from 1958-1991, and 13-year NHL veteran Curt Giles, current coach of Edina High School’s boys’ hockey team, whose teams have won state tiles in 2010, 2013, and 2014, also were guest speakers at the camp.
Off the ice, the team watched an Andover High School hockey game and will visit the Mall of America before wrapping up camp with an on-ice practice on Saturday (Dec.13) that is open to the public from 8:00-9:00 a.m.
NOTES: Mike MacMillan (Buffalo, Minn.), USA Hockey’s national coach-in-chief, is the head coach of the U.S. National Developmental Sled Team. Former U.S. Paralympic Team members Kip St. Germaine (East Falmouth, Mass.) and Mike Blabac (Hamburg, N.Y.) are serving as associate head coach and assistant coach, respectively. Jeremy Kennedy (Colorado Springs, Colo.), USA Hockey manager of membership and disabled hockey, is the general manager. Rett Talbot (Delray Beach, Fla.) and Bill Sandberg (Parker, Colo.) are serving as physiotherapist and equipment manager for the U.S. National Developmental Team…. Willard Ikola was inducted in to the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame in 1990. His 616-149-38 coaching record ranks third in the nation while his wins are the second most of any coach in the state of Minnesota…. Curt Giles spent 13 seasons in the NHL with the Minnesota North Stars, New York Rangers, and St. Louis Blues. A member of Canada’s 1987 World Championship bronze medal team, Giles represented Canada at the 1992 Winter Olympic Games where they claimed silver