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Today with Team USA: WSHC Notebook

By, 01/23/16, 10:15AM MST


Tournament taking place in Bridgewater, Nova Scotia

The 2016 U.S. National Sled Hockey Team is in Bridgewater, Nova Scotia, for the 2016 World Sled Hockey Challenge. Tournament play begins Sunday (Jan. 17) and will conclude on Saturday, Jan. 23. A daily Team USA notebook can be found below.


The United States faces Canada tonight in the championship game of the 2016 World Sled Hockey Challenge here at Lunenburg County Lifestyle Centre (capacity: 1,200) in Bridgewater, Nova Scotia. This is Team USA’s fifth consecutive trip to the tournament’s championship game. Additionally, it is the fifth time the two teams will face-off for the tournament title. For full gameday details, click here.

Day 8

The U.S. National Sled Hockey Team was given the day off by the coaching staff after facing Canada on Wednesday (Jan. 20; OTL, 2-1) and Russia yesterday (Jan. 21; W, 2-1). The players participated in a self-created shinny-tournament in the team room. Some players visited the hotel's pool where they took trips down the water-slide. 

Declan Farmer and Kevin McKee each recorded two points and Brody Roybal scored the game-winning goal in the third period as the U.S. National Sled Hockey Team defeated Russia, 2-1, in the semifinals of the 2016 World Sled Hockey Challenge. Tyler Carron was named the U.S. Player of the Game. For a complete game recap, click here.

Tomorrow (Jan. 23), the U.S. will face Canada in the championship game of the 2016 World Sled Hockey Challenge. Puck drop is slated for 4 p.m. ET. Team USA fell to Canada in a shootout, 2-1, on Wednesday (Jan. 20) to close preliminary round play. This is the fifth consecutive time Team USA has reached the championship game of the World Sled Hockey Challenge(First: 2012, 2015; Second: 2012, 2015).

Thursday night (Jan. 21), Team USA players and staff enjoyed a steak and lobster dinner at the home of Cam Seamone, one of Team USA's hosts here in Bridgewater, Nova Scotia.  The team also presented signed Team USA jerseys to the two hosts, Cam, and Jennifer Milbury, for their tireless efforts in assisting the team throughout the event.

Several current U.S. players find themselves atop U.S. record lists in WSHC tournament play.

On Thursday (Jan. 21), Declan Farmer set a new U.S. record for most points in a single WSHC with 10 (6-4) and is one goal away from tying Nikko Landeros’ U.S. record for most goals (7) in a WSHC, which he set in April 2011. Kevin McKee’s seven assists in a single WSHC are also a new U.S. record, surpassing Farmer’s six-assist performance in last year’s tournament. Additionally, McKee’s nine points (2-7) overall tie Farmer’s point total from last year for second all-time. Steve Cash finished last year’s tournament with a 0.66 goals-against-average and .936 save percentage, both of which are Team USA bests in a single WSHC.

Among U.S. players, Kevin McKee holds the record for most career WSHC points with 31 (14-17). Josh Pauls leads all U.S. players with 17 career WSHC goals while Nikko Landeros is second with 15. Pauls (17-13--30) and Landeros (15-15--30) both sit one point behind McKee for most career WSHC points and Declan Farmer (13-15--28) trails McKee by two.

Day 7

The United States faces Russia today in semifinal action in the 2016 World Sled Hockey Challenge here at Lunenburg County Lifestyle Centre (capacity: 1,200) in Bridgewater, Nova Scotia. The game will be streamed live on Visit the gameday page by clicking here.

Declan Farmer 
is one point away from tying his U.S. record for most points (9) in a WSHC and two goals away from tying Nikko Landeros’ U.S. record for most goals (7) in a WSHC. Additionally, Kevin McKee is one assist away from Farmer’s U.S. record for most assists (6) in a WSHC and two points away from Farmer’s record for most points in a WSHC. For Team USA history in the WSHC, click here.

Day 6

The U.S. National Sled Hockey Team outshot Canada, 28-13, but fell in a shootout, 3-2. Kevin McKee tallied a goal and an assist and Nikko Landeros was named the U.S. Player of the Game. For a complete game recap, click here.

Captain Josh Sweeney reflected on Team USA’s first loss since March 11, 2014 (2-1 vs. Russia in the preliminary round of the 2014 Paralympic Winter Games), “It is what it is. That’s part of the love of the game; nothing is certain. As much as you would love to you can’t expect to win every game. We just need to look at what we didn’t do and learn from the loss; otherwise, we won’t get better as a team.” 

Day 5

The U.S. National Sled Hockey Team has practice today from 11:30am-12:30pm ET. Practice will include an emphasis on defense and special teams before concluding with a traditional shootout. The practice is Team USA's final tune-up for its tilt tomorrow (Jan. 20) against Canada. Puck drop is set for 6 p.m. ET and will be streamed live on

Through two games, Declan Farmer leads the tournament in goals (5) and points (7) while Josh Pauls and Kevin McKee share the tournament lead in assists with four. As a team, the United States ranks first in goals scored (14), goals-per-game (7), power-play percentage (50%) and penalty-kill percentage (100%).

During time away from the rink, players have taken to playing mini-sticks, Xbox, cards and even venturing outside for some sledding. This evening the team will be attending the local movie theatre where players and staff will have the choice of seeing Star Wars: The Force Awakens or The Revenant.

Day 4

Declan Farmer 
(Tampa, Fla.) scored twice and Steve Cash (Overland, Mo.) made nine saves as the U.S. National Sled Hockey Team defeated Russia, 6-2. Dan McCoy (Cheswick, Pa.), Kevin McKee (Chicago, Ill.), Adam Page (Buffalo, N.Y.) and Brody Roybal (Northlake, Ill.) also scored in the win. McCoy was named the U.S. Player of the Game. A full recap can be found here.

Tomorrow Team USA will have practice from 11:30-12:30pm ET before Wednesday's game against Canada. Puck drop is set for 6p.m. ET and will be streamed live on

Reflecting on teammate Declan Farmer's hat-trick versus Korea, Josh Pauls said, "He does pretty much everything. He scores a lot; he back checks hard. It's crazy to say he's 18 years old and already has another hat trick. It's kind of unheard of but he's such a solid player. We're really glad to have him, especially on our top line with Brody and Kevin they've been playing really well together."

Day 3

The U.S. National Sled Hockey Team opened the 2016 World Sled Hockey Challenge with an 8-1 victory over Korea. Declan Farmer (Tampa, Fla.) scored a hat trick, Josh Pauls (Green Brook, N.J.) recorded four points, and four other players had multi-point games in the win. Farmer was named the U.S. Player of the Game. A complete game recap can be found here.

Team USA returns to action tomorrow when it faces Russia in its second game of the 2016 World Sled Hockey Challenge. Puck drop is set for 11 a.m. ET and will be streamed live at Last year, the two teams met in the championship game of the World Sled Hockey Challenge where the U.S. won, 2-1, in overtime. 

Day 2

Team USA is back on the ice here in Bridgewater, Nova Scotia, for its last practice before opening WSHC play against Korea tomorrow at 11am ET. While yesterday's practice included 3-on-3 battles, today's practice focused on special teams and will conclude with the traditional shootout competition.

Several members of the U.S. National Sled Hockey Team stopped by the LCLC Clearwater Seafoods Arena last nigh to watch the South Shore Lumberjacks take on the Pictou County Weeks Crushers. In an entertaining matchup, the Crushers defeated the local Lumberjacks, 3-1.

With the tournament set to start tomorrow, Team USA looks to keep things light tonight by taking in the NFL playoff games, particularly the matchup between the Green Bay Packers and Arizona Cardinals. Led by head coach Jeff Sauer and team doctor Mike Uihlein, both of whom are from Wisconsin, the Packers will have more than a few fans here in Bridgewater.

Day 1

The U.S. National Sled Hockey Team arrived safely in Bridgewater, Nova Scotia, for the World Sled Hockey Challenge that is set to begin Sunday (Jan. 17). The tournament is Team USA's first of the 2016 campaign and will see them defend their title from 2015 against Canada, Korea and Russia.

The 2016 World Sled Hockey Challenge is being staged at the Lunenburg County Lifestyle Centre. Within the facility is the LCLC Clearwater Seafoods Arena, which boasts a full NHL-size ice surface and the capacity to seat up to 1,200 spectators. 

At the conclusion of practice yesterday, Honorary Colonel Dan Hennessey and several other members of the Royal Canadian Air Force visited the Team USA locker room where they shared their passion for hockey and expressed their gratitude at the players' dedication to the sport.

Of the 17 members on the 2016 U.S. National Sled Hockey Team, six are purple heart recipients. Four players -- Luke McDermott, Josh Misiewicz, Paul Schaus and Josh Sweeney -- helped Team USA to an undefeated season and the 2015 IPC Sled Hockey World Championship last year while Rico Roman is back with the national team after helping Team USA claim gold at the 2014 Paralympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia. Additionally, Bo Reichenbach, who served as an alternate captain for the U.S. Developmental Sled Hockey Team last year, is in his first season with the U.S. National Sled Hockey Team.

Prior to the team's trip to Canada, Team USA alternate captain and New Jersey native Josh Pauls was fortunate to meet several members of the New Jersey Devils during the team's visit to St. Louis. The meeting, arranged by Devils broadcaster, Sherry Ross, included tickets to the game, being a second intermission interview guest and the opportunity to meet several Devils players after the game. Among the players Pauls met was Kyle Palmieri, who helped the U.S. National Junior Team to a pair of medals at the World Junior Championship, including gold in 2010 and bronze in 2011, and Cory Schneider, who helped Team USA to a silver medal at the 2004 IIHF Under-18 Men's World Championship and was later named the David Peterson Goalie of the Year by USA Hockey.

NOTES: Team USA  has reached the tournament's championship game five times and finished first on three occasions (2009, 2012, 2015). For more information on Team USA in the World Sled Hockey Challenge, click here ... The United States roster is highlighted by captain Josh Sweeney (Portland, Ore.); alternate captains Nikko Landeros (Johnstown, Colo.) and Josh Pauls (Green Brook, N.J.); and goaltender Steve Cash (Overland, Mo.). For the complete U.S. roster, click here ... The 2016 World Sled Hockey Challenge will be streamed live at For more tournament information, click here ... Follow all U.S. games during the World Sled Hockey Challenge via Twitter by using @USAHockey and @USAHockeyScores, and join the conversation by using the hashtag #WSHC ... ‚ÄčTeam USA has won four of the last five major international events, including the 2015 IPC Sled Hockey World Championship in Buffalo, New York; the 2014 Paralympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia; the 2012 IPC Sled Hockey World Championship in Hamar, Norway; and the 2010 Paralympic Winter Games in Vancouver, British Columbia ... Dan Brennan (Colorado Springs, Colo.), director of sled and inline national teams for USA Hockey, is serving as the general manager of the 2016 U.S. National Sled Hockey Team ... Jeff Sauer (Madison, Wis.), former men's ice hockey head coach at the University of Wisconsin, is in his fifth season as head coach of the U.S. National Sled Hockey Team. Additional staff members include team physician Mike Uihlein (Grafton, Wis.), athletic trainer Mike Cortese (Boynton Beach, Fla.) and equipment manager Joel Isaacson (Houghton, Mich).

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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.

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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?
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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.

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

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