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Sixth Sled Classic, Presented by the NHL, Begins Thursday

By USAHockey.com, 11/17/15, 9:00AM MST

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Record 20 NHL-Affiliated Teams and Over 250 Athletes to Participate in Coral Springs, Florida

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – The sixth annual USA Hockey Sled Classic, presented by the NHL and hosted by the Florida Panthers, will take place Thursday through Sunday (Nov. 19-22) in Coral Springs, Florida, at Florida Panthers IceDen, the official practice facility of the Florida Panthers.

Tournament play will include six games on Thursday, 20 contests on Friday, 14 games on Saturday and seven games – including the four championship games – on Sunday. Fans can attend all games free of charge. In addition, FASTHockey will stream all games live at USAHockey.FASTHockey.com.

A record 20-team field will feature 250-plus athletes, including 20 current or former members of the U.S. National Sled Hockey Team. Of those skaters, 13 helped Team USA claim gold at the 2015 International Paralympic Committee Sled Hockey World Championship in Buffalo, New York.

Each of the 20 competing teams are affiliated with NHL clubs, including the Anaheim Ducks, Arizona Coyotes, Boston Bruins, Buffalo Sabres, Carolina Hurricanes, Chicago Blackhawks, Colorado Avalanche, Columbus Blue Jackets, Florida Panthers, Minnesota Wild, Nashville Predators, Ottawa Senators, Philadelphia Flyers, Pittsburgh Penguins and St. Louis Blues. Each team will represent their affiliated NHL club by wearing official NHL licensed jerseys with local club marks and logos.

For full tournament results, statistics and game recaps, click here.

NOTES: The event is part of the fifth annual Come Play Hockey Month, a joint effort between USA Hockey and the NHL ... Five NHL clubs – the Buffalo Sabres, Chicago Blackhawks, Colorado Avalanche, Nashville Predators and Pittsburgh Penguins – will represent two separate teams in this year's USA Hockey Sled Classic ... The Colorado Avalanche hosted the inaugural USA Hockey Sled Classic in 2010 in Denver, where the Colorado Avalanche Sled Hockey Team won the four-team tournament … In 2011, the Philadelphia Flyers held the event in Voorhees, New Jersey, where the Buffalo Sabres Sled Hockey Team took first place among nine teams … In 2012, the Buffalo Sabres put on the tournament in Williamsville, New York, with the Dallas Stars winning the ‘A’ Division and the Washington Capitals capturing the ‘B’ Division … In 2013, the Pittsburgh Penguins hosted the tournament in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and the Dallas Stars and Washington Capitals repeated as the ‘A’ and B’ Division champions, while the Nashville Predators won the inaugural ‘C’ Division … A year ago, the Washington Capitals hosted the tournament in Arlington, Virginia, where the Chicago Blackhawks captured the Tier I Division, the Philadelphia Flyers claimed the Tier II Division, and the Minnesota Wild won the Tier III division ... For more information on the sport of sled hockey, click here.

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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. 

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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.

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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.”

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

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Why must officials be screened?
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Who is required to be screened?
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Any official, 18 years-old (or older) without a completed valid background screen (national or USAH Affiliate coordinated) after April 1, 2019.

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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.

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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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