USA Hockey announced tonight that the St. Louis Blues will host the tenth annual USA Hockey Sled Classic, presented by the NHL. The four-day event will take place Nov. 21 - 24, 2019, at St. Louis Community Ice Center.
“Blues sled hockey has been a long-time supporter of sled hockey, USA Hockey and in particular this event and we're proud to bring it to the St. Louis market and this new facility,” said JJ O'Connor, Disabled Chair of USA Hockey.
First staged in 2010, the USA Hockey Sled Classic is an annual round-robin format tournament between sled hockey teams associated with certain NHL clubs. Participating teams in the tournament must have an official affiliation with an NHL member club and must represent their affiliated NHL club by wearing official NHL licensed jerseys with local club marks and logos.
“Over eight years in the making, DASA is very excited to help host the tenth annual USA Hockey Sled Classic here in St Louis," said Mike Dowling, Director of DASA Blues Sled Hockey. “This event will be the first of many major hockey events that the St. Louis Community Ice Center will host and gives the local community the opportunity to see first-hand the skill of sled hockey players from across the county.”
This past weekend, the ninth annual event was hosted by the NHL's Chicago Blackhawks and saw a record 30 teams associated with a record-tying 20 NHL clubs. In total, an event-best 362 skaters took part, which included 37 current members of the U.S. National Sled Hockey Team, U.S. Men's Development Sled Hockey Team and U.S. Women's Development Sled Hockey Team. The Chicago Blackhawks claimed its second consecutive O'Connor Courage Trophy as the Tier I division champions while the Nashville Predators captured the Tier II title, the Philadelphia Flyers were crowned Tier III champions and the Tampa Bay Lightning earned both the Tier IV and Tier V titles.
Full details surrounding next season's tournament will be released at a later date.
The St. Louis Community Ice Center is expected to open in September 2018 and will feature four NHL ice surfaces, one of which will be outdoors. In addition to serving as the official practice facility of the St. Louis Blues, the 277,000 square-foot facility will be home to Blues Alumni, Lindenwood University hockey, the St. Louis Blues AAA program and the St. Louis Lady Cyclones. The St. Louis Community Ice Center is the premier development initiative included in the Blues' 'Hockey STL 2020' campaign, which launched in 2015 and aimed to grow the game of hockey by 70 percent in the St. Louis region before 2020.
NOTES: The Colorado Avalanche hosted the inaugural USA Hockey Sled Classic in 2010 in Denver, Colorado, where the Colorado Avalanche won the four-team event … Previous NHL hosts include the Philadelphia Flyers (2011); Buffalo Sabres (2012); Pittsburgh Penguins (2013); Washington Capitals (2014); Florida Panthers (2015); Nashville Predators (2016), Minnesota Wild (2017) and Chicago Blackhawks (2018-19) ... For more details on the tournament, click here ... Since 2012-13, the number of players and coaches part of USA Hockey's disabled program has grown by 70%, including a 114% increase in sled hockey ... For more information on the sport of sled hockey and to view a list of sled hockey teams in the U.S., click here.