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U.S. National Sled Hockey Team Finishes Season Undefeated

By USAHockey.com, 05/08/15, 4:30PM MDT

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World Champions Break 12 Team USA Records

The U.S. National Sled Hockey Team finished its record-breaking 2014-15 season with a gold medal at the 2015 International Paralympic Committee Ice Sledge Hockey World Championships. This is the fifth time in the last seven seasons in which the United States has won a gold medal in an IPC event.* In 13 games this season, the U.S. scored 59 goals, allowed just six goals against, and broke 12 team records while going undefeated for the first time with a 12-1-0-0 (W-OTW-OTL-L) record. 

“Going undefeated this season was incredible,” said Josh Sweeney (Phoenix, Ariz.), captain of the U.S. National Sled Hockey Team. “It really says a lot about the individuals we have on this team because it took every one of us giving our best to make it happen.”

Expectations were high entering the season as eleven members of this year’s U.S. squad helped Team USA claim gold at the 2014 Paralympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia. The six newcomers – led by Josh Misiewicz’s (La Grange, Ill.) 11 points (5-6) – contributed 21 points to help continue the team’s winning ways. 

2015 World Sled Hockey Challenge
The season began in Leduc, Alberta, with the 2015 World Sled Hockey Challenge that included Canada, Korea, and Russia. The six-day tournament (Feb. 1-7) began and ended with the United States facing Russia. After defeating Russia, 3-2, in a thrilling rematch of the gold-medal game of the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games, the two teams met again in the championship game, where the U.S. scored just 19 seconds into overtime to claim the tournament title.

The U.S., who won all five games for the first time, led the tournament in goals (23), fewest goals against (4), goals-per-game (4.6), goals-against-per-game (0.8), and power-play percentage (40%). Forward Declan Farmer (Tampa, Fla.) had nine points (3-6) in five games to pace all players, marking the first time an American led the event in points. He also set Team USA records for assists (6) and points (9) in a World Sled Hockey Challenge. Nikko Landeros (Johnstown, Colo.) led all defensemen in points (4-4—8) and goaltender Steve Cash (Overland, Mo.) finished with a tournament-best 0.66 goals-against-average that ranks third all-time in tournament history. 

Three-Game Series vs. Canada
Team USA returned to action in March in Indian Trail, North Carolina, where they hosted Canada in a three-game series. The U.S. won the opener, 2-0, before earning a 3-1 victory in game two. Canada’s goal in the second game was its first against the U.S. in four games, ending Cash’s shutout streak against the Canadians at 138 minutes. The U.S. closed the series with a 2-0 shutout to complete the series sweep for the first time.

Brody Roybal (Northlake, Ill.) led the series in points (2-3—5) and shared the series lead in goals (2) with Kevin McKee (Chicago, Ill.). Cash finished the series with one goal allowed over 135 minutes of play for a 0.33 GAA, .964 SV%, and two shutouts.

2015 IPC Ice Sledge Hockey World Championships
The season culminated with the United States hosting the 2015 IPC Ice Sledge Hockey World Championships in Buffalo, New York. Team USA defeated Russia (6-1), Germany (7-0), and Italy (7-0), to finish first in their group for the second consecutive world championship. The semifinals saw the U.S. shut out Norway, 6-0, to earn its fourth consecutive trip to the world championship gold-medal game. In a rematch of the 2013 gold-medal game, the United States blanked Canada, 3-0, to earn its third gold medal in the last four world championships. 

Playing in his hometown, forward Adam Page (Lancaster, N.Y.) led the team with 11 points (5-6), setting a new Team USA record for most points in a world championship. His 19 career world championship points are also a U.S. best. Farmer led the team with six goals, which tied former Team USA member Taylor Lipsett (Mesquite, Texas), for most goals in a single world championship by a U.S. player. Roybal’s seven assists led the team and rank second all-time for a U.S. player in a world championship. In five games, Cash stopped 32-of-33 shots to finish with a 0.27 GAA, .970 SV%, and four shutouts, all of which are U.S. records. 

Top 5 U.S. Scorers

Player GP G A PTS
Declan Farmer 13 10 11 21
Brody Roybal 13 7 13 20
Adam Page 13 9 8 17
Nikko Landeros 13 3 10 13
Josh Pauls 13 8 5 13

NOTES: The 2002 U.S. Paralympic Sled Hockey Team, which was governed by the United States Olympic Committee, won all five games in the 2002 Paralympic Winter Games, including three exhibition games, to finish with a 7-1-0-0 record ... In six gold-medal games (World Championship: 2009, 2012, 2013, 2015; Paralympics: 2010, 2014), Steve Cash holds a 5-1 record and has allowed just two goals on 53 shots for a 0.33 GAA, 0.962 SV%, and four shutouts … The U.S. National Sled Hockey Team has reach the championship game in the last eight major international events, claiming the top prize five times, including the 2012 World Sled Hockey Challenge in Calgary, Alberta; the 2012 IPC Ice Sledge Hockey World Championships in Hamar, Norway; the 2014 Paralympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia; the 2015 World Sled Hockey Challenge in Leduc, Alberta; and the 2015 IPC Ice Sledge Hockey World Championships in Buffalo, New York … Dan Brennan, director of inline and sled national teams for USA Hockey, served as general manager. For the fourth season, Jeff Sauer, served as head coach of the U.S. National Sled Hockey Team and was assisted by Guy Gosselin. Additional staff members included team physician Mike Uihlein, athletic trainer Mike Cortese, and equipment manager Joel Isaacson … Tryouts for the 2015-16 U.S. National Sled Hockey Team will take place July 12-13, 2015, in Buffalo, New York.

*There was no World Championship or Paralympic Winter Games in 2011

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COVID-19 and the 2020-21 Season

By Matt Leaf 04/02/2020, 11:30am MDT

Even with almost 50 years of involvement in hockey, you can’t plan for the current state of the world and the impact coronavirus has had on our game. I think it is safe to say that nothing prepares you for the changes that have taken place in our daily lives and the uncertainty of when things might return to normal. Or in this case, what will become the new “normal.”

Our expertise is hockey, so what we’ll address in this piece: the impact of the global pandemic on our game and how likely it will affect our game in the immediate future. 

USA Hockey continues to post information on COVID-19 on the main website. These updates keep our membership informed of specific programs and the changing safety recommendations that will be in place when hockey returns. Be sure to check back regularly for updates and other hockey information.

On the officiating front, much of what we are able to do from a program standpoint is connected to player events like national tournaments and player development camps. As you know, the national tournaments (along with the March, April and May IIHF World Championship events) were cancelled. The Officiating Program then canceled our two instructor training programs that were planned for late April and early May in Lake Placid, N.Y., and Colorado Springs, Colo. 

At this time, details for any potential summer development camps are still being determined. On the player side, several camps we are connected to were cancelled, and the few camps that are still in planning have been dramatically downsized. The Officiating Program continues to monitor the decisions made for players and will take advantage of any opportunity we have to salvage our summer camp program and maximize participation.

The good news is, we are confident we will have a 2020-21 season. All indications show no reason to delay registration. It will open as scheduled on or around May 26, followed by the open book exams and online seminar curriculum on June 1. 

SafeSport Training (required for anyone born in the year 2003 or earlier) and background screening (learn about the new national level screening program in the Q & A section) will also be available to complete at that time. If COVID-19 still has things slowed down in early June, it would be an ideal time to get these requirements completed.

The biggest unknown will be the timing in which we will be able to conduct seminars. The vast majority of rinks are currently closed, and many of them took this opportunity to remove ice to save operating costs and do maintenance. There is now doubt they will be prepared to quickly ramp up once they are allowed to do so, but as with most everything right now, the timing is uncertain. As a result, some of the earlier seminars may be pushed back a few weeks. The District Referees-in-Chief will secure ice times and facilities so we can provide seminar dates and locations as quickly as possible. We are also encouraging our instructors to think outside the box by providing some weeknight seminar options, and to look at other ways to best meet the needs of our members.

The Advanced Officiating Symposium, scheduled for Providence, R.I. in late July, is still going to plan. We will continue to monitor the situation, including local restrictions and travel advisories in the coming weeks, and we will announce any changes in advance to allow for alterations to travel arrangements. Click here for up-to-date information or to reserve your seat at the 2020 Advanced Officiating Symposium.

These are difficult times for everyone, and although our hockey family is important to us, it is a small fraction of the big picture that is impacting our daily lives. To quote Andy Dufresne in his letter for Red that he left under the big oak tree in The Shawshank Redemption: “Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.”

We hope you and your loved ones are safe and healthy. We hope the coronavirus is conquered with minimal loss of lives and a return to a prosperous normal as soon as possible. We hope your passion for the game of hockey will only grow as a result of its absence. We hope we are back on the ice in the coming months and that the 2020-21 season will be our best yet.

Thank you for your continued support of USA Hockey and don’t hesitate to contact us if there is anything we can do to make your hockey experience a better one. In the meantime, stay safe, stay healthy and be prepared to be back on the ice soon.

USA Hockey Announces National Background Screening Program

By USA Hockey 04/02/2020, 12:00pm MDT

In order to comply with new requirements from the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee (USOPC), USA Hockey will be implementing a national level background screening program. This program will replace all USAH Affiliate coordinated background screen programs.

Why must officials be screened?
Per USA Hockey and USOPC policy, all coaches, officials, board members, employees, volunteers, billets and anyone else who will have regular contact with, or authority over, minor athletes are required to submit a background screen before any contact with minor athletes.

Who is required to be screened?
Officials who are 18 years-old (or older) prior to June 1 of the current year.

Any official, 18 years-old (or older) without a completed valid background screen (national or USAH Affiliate coordinated) after April 1, 2019.

All national background screens are valid for two seasons, and starting on June 1, 2020 a national background screen must be completed and in good standing before receiving an officiating card and crest.

What are the timelines for launching the national background screen program?
Beginning on April 1, 2020, background screening will be conducted by our national background screen vendor, National Center for Safety Initiatives (NCSI), and information on background screening will be included following your registration.

As of March 22, 2020, applicants will no longer be able to submit new USA Hockey background screens through USAH Affiliate vendors, and will not be able to submit new screens through NCSI until April 1, 2020.

If you were screened after April 1, 2019 for the 2019-20 season, your screen is valid for the 2020-21 season, and you will not need to be screened under the new system until prior to the 2021-22 season. If your most recent screen is from prior to April 1, 2019, you will need to be screened under the new system, after April 1, 2020, in order to participate in the upcoming season.

All new screens submitted through the new NCSI national screening program after April 1, 2020 will be valid for two seasons.  For example, a screen submitted and approved on April 15, 2020 will be valid through the end of the 2021-22 season, which is August 31, 2022.

How can members complete their required background screen?
A link to submit for screening will be included in your membership registration confirmation email and posted in the drop-down menu under the OFFICIALS tab at USAHockey.com.

Background screens through NCSI under the national program will cost $30 for all domestic screens. For international screens (members who have lived outside of the U.S. for six consecutive months in any one county during the past 7 years) the flat rate fee is $150. If that country is solely Canada, the flat rate fee is $75.

Where can members go with questions about the national background screen program?
Please refer to the USA Hockey Background Screen webpage at USAHockey.com.

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