As we get set to close the book on the year 2018, we invite you to enjoy some of the many memorable moments and highlights we experienced at USA Hockey over the last 12 months.
The 2018 U.S. Olympic Women’s Ice Hockey Team rallied in the third period against Canada to force overtime and then won in a shootout to capture its first Olympic gold since the inaugural year women’s ice hockey was part of the Games in 1998. Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson spectacular shootout goal was the game-winner and Maddie Rooney made the final save to set off the golden celebration.
Trailing by a goal in the final minute of regulation to Canada in the gold-medal game of the 2018 Paralympics, Florida native Declan Farmer tied the game and then scored again in overtime to lift the 2018 U.S. Paralympic Sled Hockey Team to its unprecedented third straight Paralympic gold medal.
With a firm belief in the values hockey brings to the fabric of American society, USA Hockey is focused on continuing to provide opportunities for more families to try the sport, especially our nation’s youth. Those efforts have been paying dividends as the 2017-18 season finished with more playing the sport than ever before, including a record 122,135 at the entry level, which is 8-and-under.
On a magical afternoon with snow falling throughout the game at New Era Field in Orchard Park, New York, the U.S. rallied for a 4-3 shootout victory over Canada in a preliminary round game of the 2018 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship before a WJC record crowd of 44,592. It was the first-ever outdoor game in the history of the World Juniors.
The culmination to the season each year is the series of USA Hockey national championships that are staged at various age groups all across the nation each year. The 2018 national championships included competitions in varying divisions for youth, high school, sled, junior, and adult hockey players.
USA Hockey’s commitment that hockey is for EveryBody is showcased annually at the organization’s Disabled Festival, and with its continued growth, for the first time ever, the event spanned two weekends. All total, a record 1,657 participants made up the largest disabled hockey event of its kind, which featured five disciplines part of USA Hockey’s disabled program.
It’s hard to imagine that the vision of the Labatt Blue/USA Hockey Pond Hockey National Championships that was hatched in 2006 and attracted some 40 teams has burgeoned to an event that annually sells out in mere minutes and attracts teams from across the nation and beyond. The 2018 event featured 300 teams playing in 19 divisions for men and women in ideal conditions outdoors on Dollar Lake in Eagle River, Wisconsin.
Lake Placid, New York, has a special place in the heart of hockey fans, notably as it is the site the U.S. pulled off the Miracle on Ice victory over the Soviet Union and went on to claim gold in men’s ice hockey in the 1980 Olympic Winter Games. This past August, more than 450 of America’s top coaches from across the country descended on the historic village in New York’s Adirondack Mountains to advance their knowledge and seek their Level 5 certification, the highest level offered by USA Hockey. It marked the first time ever USA Hockey brought the National Hockey Coaches Symposium (staged every other year) to Lake Placid, and it will most certainly not be the last.
Hockey lost one of its most beloved figures on Jan. 21, 2018, when Jim Johannson, assistant executive director of hockey operations at USA Hockey, unexpectedly passed away at the age of 53. Fast forward seven months and the American stars of the NHL turned out in full force at USA Hockey Arena in Plymouth, Michigan, to play in the Stars & Stripes Showdown, a benefit hockey game played in Johannson’s honor before a sellout crowd. The game, which was spearheaded by Dylan Larkin, featured more than 40 players and was perhaps the greatest gathering of American talent ever on one sheet of ice.
The U.S. Under-18 Women’s National Team earned an unprecedented fourth straight gold medal at the 2018 IIHF U18 Women’s World Championship thanks to a 9-3 win over Sweden in the gold-medal game. Team USA swept preliminary round play with wins over Sweden, Russia and Canada, before edging Canada in a semifinal shootout to get to its record 11th straight gold-medal game (every year of the tournament’s existence).
Five American hockey legends including Gordon "Red" Berenson, Natalie Darwitz, the late Leland "Hago" Harrington, David Poile and Paul Stewart were formally enshrined into the United States Hockey Hall of Fame during a sold-out induction ceremony in the emerging hockey city of Nashville, Tennessee. In addition to the Class of 2018, the late Jim Johannson was awarded the Lester Patrick Trophy for his service to hockey in the U.S.