COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – The 2015 U.S. National Sled Hockey Team was named the Paralympic Team of the Year by the United States Olympic Committee at the 2015 Team USA Awards this evening in Philadelphia.
The Team USA Awards recognize the oustanding achievements of Team USA athletes year-round. Athletes and teams considered for the six Best of the Year awards were finalists for Best of the Month honors, dating back to the fall of the previous year and coinciding with the sport calendar.
“This award recognizes a special group of players,” said Dan Brennan, general manager of the 2015 U.S. National Sled Hockey Team. “To finish the season undefeated was an incredible accomplishment and says a lot about the players, staff and volunteers involved in helping our sport grow.”
Team USA went undefeated (12-1-0-0/W-OTW-OTL-L) and ended the season as world champions on home ice. After defeating Russia, 2-1, in overtime to win the 2015 World Sled Hockey Challenge in Leduc, Alberta, the U.S. outscored its opponents 29-1 while going a perfect 5-0 to claim the gold medal at the 2015 IPC Sled Hockey World Championship. The U.S. finished both tournaments as leaders in goals per game, goals against per game, power play percentage and shutouts. In 13 games, Team USA scored 59 goals, allowed just six goals and set 12 team records to finish the season undefeated for the second time in team history.
The six awards were presented during a live taping of the Team USA Awards presented by Dow, Best of the Year ceremony, held tonight at the University of Pennslyvania's Houston Hall in Philadelphia. The awards show — which featured NBC's Natalie Morales as host and retro pop/soul artist Andra Day as the musical guest — will be televised Dec. 27 on NBC Sports Network (NBCSN) from 3-4 p.m. ET.
The year-end celebration also recognized Pennslyvania native Jerri Johnson as the recipient of the Building Dreams Award, presented by USG, which honors an individual, group or community that has gone above and beyond in its support of Team USA.
The six athlete and team award winners were determined by online fan voting at TeamUSA.org/Awards, where nearly 200,000 fan votes determined 50 percent of the final tally. Members of the Olympic and Paralympic family — including an esteemed panel of Olympic and Paralympic journalists — accounted for the other 50 percent.
NOTES: Declan Farmer (Tampa, Fla.) was a finalist for Paralympic Male Athlete of the Year and Auston Matthews (Scottsdale, Ariz.) was a finalist for the Olympic Male Athlete of the Year ... USA Hockey led all National Governing Bodies with three finalists ... The 2016 U.S. National Sled Hockey Team, which includes 15 players from last year's team, is currently in St. Louis, Missouri. The camp will be the final tune-up for the 2016 World Sled Hockey Challenge in Bridgewater, Nova Scotia, from Jan. 15-24, 2016. For a camp schedule, click here.