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USA Hockey Announces Inaugural Blind Hockey Classic

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Event set for Oct. 22-24 in St. Louis, Missouri; Registration opens May 1
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – USA Hockey announced that the inaugural USA Hockey Blind Hockey Classic will take place Oct, 22-24, 2021, at the Centenne Community Ice Center in St. Louis, Missouri. One of the fastest growing segments of disabled hockey, blind hockey features an adapted puck that makes noise and is both bigger and slower than a traditional puck.

Players’ levels of vision range from legally blind – approximately 10 percent vision or less – to totally blind. Custom three foot high nets are used rather than the traditional four foot nets to keep the puck low to the ice so it can make noise and be tracked aurally.

Teams must complete one pass in the attacking zone prior to being able to score. This provides both the low vision defense and the goalie an extra opportunity to track the puck.

An on-ice official uses a different whistle to indicate that a pass has been completed and the attacking team is eligible to score.

NOTES: Registration for the inaugural USA Hockey Blind Hockey Classic will open May 1, 2021 … Blind Hockey was first played in the U.S. on October 18, 2014, with the first ever Blind Hockey Summit in Newburgh, New York … At the 2015 USA Hockey Disabled Hockey Festival, in Buffalo, New York, blind hockey was introduced to the rest of the disabled hockey community … For more information on disabled hockey, click here, and for more information on the blind hockey discipline, click here.
(NHL.com photo)

NTDP 2021 Evaluation Camp Dates Announced

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Evaluation Camp will take place May 9-13 at USA Hockey Arena 
PLYMOUTH, Mich. – USA Hockey announced it will stage its 2021 National Team Development Program Evaluation Camp May 9-13 at USA Hockey Arena in Plymouth, Mich. The camp will feature top American born players born in 2005 and include on-ice games, practices and off-ice training.

A full camp roster and schedule will be announced at a later date. The NTDP Evaluation Camp returns to Michigan after the 2020 camp was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.     

ABOUT THE NTDP: USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program is playing in its 24th season of competition and is based at USA Hockey Arena in Plymouth, Michigan. The goal of the full-time development program is to prepare student-athletes under the age of 18 for participation on U.S. National Teams and success in their future hockey careers. Its efforts focus not only on high-caliber participation on the ice but creating well-rounded individuals off the ice.
(USA Hockey photo)

2021 Chipotle-USA Hockey National Championships Begin Thursday

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High School and Adult Men’s Tournaments Open Slate of Championships 
 
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — The 2021 Chipotle-USA Hockey National Championships begin Thursday (April 15) in suburban Omaha, Neb., with the High School tournaments taking center stage.Featuring three divisions, including Division I (for single-school teams), Division II (for teams comprised of players from multiple high schools) and, for the third consecutive year, a Girls Division, the High School tournaments will be held at Ralston Arena and Moylan Iceplex in Omaha, along with select games being played at John Breslow Ice Hockey Center in Lincoln, Neb. As part of USA Hockey Nationals, some 4,000 players will compete for American hockey top honors in the youth, girls, high school and adult levels at various host sites across the United States between now and early May.

USA Hockey, in conjunction with HockeyTV, will stream all the action online. Games are available live and on-demand by visiting USAHockey.HockeyTV.com

Adult Men’s Nationals kick off action this week as well, in Wesley Chapel, Florida. The tournament will host the Adult Women’s Nationals the following week.  

USA Hockey will provide news stories, scoring, stats, standings and photos from all of the action on Nationals.USAHockey.comand USAHockey.com/adultnationals. Fans can follow all of the action from each tournament on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram using the #USAHNationals hashtag. 

2021 USA Hockey National Championship Locations and Dates
 High School Omaha, Nebraska April 15-19, 2021

Youth Tier I 14U, 15 Only Dallas, Texas April 28-May 3, 2021  

Youth Tier I 16U, 18U Maryland Heights, Missouri April 28-May 3, 2021

Youth Tier II 14U Dallas, Texas April 29-May 3, 2021

Youth Tier II 16U Grand Rapids, Michigan April 29-May 3, 2021

Youth Tier II 18U Green Bay, Wisconsin April 29-May 3, 2021

Girls Tier I 14U, 16U, 19U West Chester, Pennsylvania April 29-May 3, 2021

Girls Tier II 14U, 16U, 19U Denver, Colorado  April 29-May 3, 2021

Adult Men’s Wesley Chapel, Florida April 15-18, 2021

Adult Women’s Wesley Chapel, Florida April 22-25,2021

NOTES:  A list of previous USA Hockey national championships dating back to 1938 can be found here … For more information about the 2021 USA Hockey National Championships, click here

Sabres Name Karmanos Associate GM

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Three-time Stanley Cup-winner will serve as general manager of the Rochester Americans

(Rochester, NY) – The Buffalo Sabres announced that the team has named Jason Karmanos associate general manager.

In his role, Karmanos will serve as the general manager of the AHL’s Rochester Americans and will oversee the Sabres’ scouting, player development and analytics departments. 

A native of Orchard Lake, Michigan, Karmanos spent the past six seasons with the Pittsburgh Penguins, where he served as the assistant general manager for three seasons. He was the club’s vice president of hockey operations prior to that. 

In his roles with Pittsburgh, Karmanos spearheaded the revamping of the Penguins’ use of hockey analytics to assist management in their decision-making process.

He was also a member of the Carolina Hurricanes’ front office from 1998-2013 and served as an assistant general manager for 13 of those seasons. 

Karmanos, 46, has been part of three Stanley Cup championships. He won with Carolina in 2006 and with Pittsburgh in 2016 and 2017.

Sabres general manager Kevyn Adams was an alternate captain on the 2005-06 Hurricanes. Adams and Karmanos were also teammates on the United States’ 1994 World Junior Championship team. 

Before becoming a hockey executive, Karmanos played four seasons at Harvard, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree with honors. He played one season for the Raleigh Ice Caps of the ECHL in 1996-97, but an eye injury ended his playing career.

OJHL Ends Season

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ONTARIO JUNIOR HOCKEY LEAGUE FORMALLY ANNOUNCES THE CANCELLATION OF THE 2020-2021 SEASON
‘2020-2021 season comes to an unfortunate closure due to Covid-19’
Mississauga, ON – The Ontario Junior Hockey League (OJHL) announced that the league’s Board of Governors have voted in favour to cancel the 2020-2021 season.  With the Province of Ontario currently under a 28-day Stay at Home order, and the official 2020-2021 Hockey Canada season ending on May 31, 2021, the league has declared an end to its OJHL season.
In August 2020, the OJHL developed a comprehensive “Return to the Rink” procedural plan with strict protocols which were presented and approved by the OHF for Junior hockey to be used in each of the leagues under the OHA. These protocols have been followed for all of the exhibition play within the association that have taken place this season with tremendous success and safety of all those who were able to participate. 
Although a significant amount of diligent planning, preparation and consultation with relevant medical professionals has taken place to date, the current Stay at Home order, due to the ongoing Covid-19 situation, has resulted in additional operational challenges for the league to undertake a successful season for all of its teams. That includes some municipalities moving to remove ice in their facilities with the announcement of the recent Provincial Covid 19 restrictions.
“Week after week, the OJHL has adjusted the league plan with the goal of getting any type of possible season in for our players,” said OJHL Commissioner, Marty Savoy. “With Ontario currently in a 28-day Stay at Home order and the end of the Hockey Canada season fast approaching, the league’s Board of Governors have made the very difficult decision to officially conclude the 2020-2021 OJHL season and turn our attention and planning for the upcoming 2021-2022 season.  While this past year has been difficult for everyone, our immediate focus is to lean in to our 2021-2022 planning with a continued focus on health & safety, along with exciting operational enhancements we have been working towards for our league, which we will have details on soon.”
To date, only 6 OJHL member clubs have been able to conduct a total of 58 exhibition games this season due to regional Public Health Unit regulations and restrictions. The OJHL is proud of the results of gameplay and operations in those regions where no spread of Covid was detected in and among the rinks and teams playing each other. 
While the season is being concluded, the league also announced that once the current “Stay at Home” orders are lifted, teams which are permitted to play and able to do so within their respective Regional Health Unit, will be allowed to conduct exhibition play together with the continued approval process the league has implemented along with its strict Covid-19 operating protocols.
“The OJHL has studied every possible scenario to get our players back on the ice and, unfortunately, with the current state of the pandemic and provincial guidelines, we are unable to conduct the 2020-2021 season,”stated OJHL Chairman Marc Mercier.  “As a Governor of a team within the league, I realize the disappointment and impact this decision has on our players.  The league will continue to look at other possible programming for our teams and players, however the official 2020-2021 season has been concluded and all of our attention has been set upon a safe and exciting upcoming season. On behalf of our Governors, our board of Directors and our players, we’d like to thank the tireless efforts of our frontline workers, our sponsors, volunteers and most importantly, our fans. We’re all looking forward to our Province healing and coming together very soon to play the game we love”

Amerks Sign Three To Pro Tryouts

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(Rochester, NY) – The Rochester Americans announced that the team has signed forwards Brent Gates and Brendan Warren and goaltender Stefanos Lekkas to Professional Tryouts (PTO).

Gates, 23, joins the Amerks after splitting the 2020-21 season with the Indy Fuel and Tulsa Oilers (ECHL), recording 21 points on eight goals and 13 assists in 35 games. The 6-foot-2, 196-pound forward has also notched an assist in two games with the San Diego Gulls (AHL) this season.

During the 2019-20 campaign between the Gulls and Oilers, Gates combined for 14 goals and 11 assists for 25 points in 45 contests. Gates ranked second among all Tulsa rookies in goals (10) while finishing second in both assists (10) and points (20) in 25 games before the season was cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The second-year pro has appeared in 28 career AHL games with the Gulls, totaling eight points (5+3) while also adding 41 points (18+23) over 60 contests with Tulsa.

Prior to turning pro, the Grand Rapids, Mich., native completed a four-year collegiate career at the University of Minnesota (Big-10), where he registered 85 points (42+43) in 148 games with the Gophers from 2015-2019. As team captain during his senior season, Gates finished third on the team with 18 assists and 31 points, both career-highs. In addition to being a three-time member of the All Big-10 Academic team, he helped Minnesota win two-straight Big-Ten regular-season champions in 2016 and 2017.

Gates was originally drafted in third-round (80th overall) by the Anaheim Ducks in the 2015 NHL Draft.

Warren, 23, comes to Rochester after starting the 2020-21 campaign with the Jacksonville Icemen (ECHL), recording 21 points (8+13) in 39 games. The 6-foot-1, 191-pound forward ranks fourth among all Icemen skaters with 13 assists and 21 points while being fifth on the club in goals (8).

As a rookie with Jacksonville last season, Warren represented the Icemen at the 2020 ECHL All-Star Classic. He finished tied for team-lead in goals (14) among all first-year skaters and second in points (28) and fourth in assists (14) in 47 games.

Prior to turning pro, the Carleton, Mich., native completed a four-year collegiate career at the University of Michigan (NCAA), where he registered 45 points (18+27) in 149 games with the Wolverines from 2015-2019. As a Freshman, Warren helped the maize and blue claim the Big-10 Conference Championship while skating in all 38 games and registering 17 points (5+12).

Warren was originally drafted in third-round (81st overall) by the Arizona Coyotes in the 2015 NHL Draft.

Lekkas, 25, returns for his second stint with the Amerks after making 25 saves in his AHL debut against Syracuse on March 26. He began the 2020-21 season with the Fort Wayne Komets (ECHL), posting a 7-2-2 record with a 2.15 goals-against average and a .914 save percentage in 11 games. The 6-foot, 200-pound netminder currently leads all ECHL rookie goaltenders in goals-against average while ranking third in wins and fourth in save percentage.

Prior to turning pro, the Elburn, Illinois, native completed a four-year collegiate career at the University of Vermont (H-East), where he finished with a 45-69-20 career record and made 3,913 saves, the most in Hockey East history and fifth-most in NCAA history. As a junior, he appeared in all 34 games while posting a 2.27 goals-against average and a .930 save percentage en route to earning Hockey East Second All-Star Team honors.

He left Vermont after 134 games with the Catamounts, the second-most in program history by a goaltender, ranking first in save percentage (.918), third in goals-against average (2.61) and fourth in wins (45) and shutouts (7).

Prior to joining Vermont, Lekkas played three seasons with the Sioux Falls Stampede of the United States Hockey League, backstopping the team its second Clark Cup championship in 2015 after leading league with nine postseason wins.

Rangers Sign Zac Jones

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The New York Rangers announced today that the team has agreed to terms with defenseman Zac Jones on an entry-level contract.

Jones, 20, skated in 29 collegiate games with UMass this season, registering nine goals and 15 assists for 24 points, along with a plus-17 rating and eight penalty minutes. He helped UMass win the National Championship in 2020-21. Jones was named to the NCAA (East) Second All-American Team this season, as well as the Hockey East Second All-Star Team and the Frozen Four All-Tournament Team, and he also helped UMass win the Hockey East Championship during the season. He ranked second among NCAA defensemen in goals, ranked third among NCAA defensemen in points, tied for third among NCAA defensemen in shots on goal (84), and tied for eighth among NCAA defensemen in assists this season. Among NCAA defensemen who were either a freshman or sophomore in 2020-21, Jones ranked first in points and shots on goal, ranked second in goals, and tied for third in assists. He ranked second on UMass in shots on goal, ranked third in assists, tied for third in points, and tied for fourth in goals in 2020-21.

The 5-11, 185-pounder skated in 61 career collegiate games over two seasons with UMass (2019-20 and 2020-21), registering 12 goals and 35 assists for 47 points, along with a plus-29 rating and 32 penalty minutes. Over his two seasons in the NCAA, Jones ranked third among defensemen in points, ranked fourth among defensemen in assists, and tied for seventh among defensemen in goals. In addition, among NCAA defensemen who were in their U21 season or younger over the last two seasons, he ranked first in points and assists, and tied for third in goals. Jones was named to the Hockey East All-Rookie Team as a freshman in 2019-20, as he led NCAA freshman in assists (20) and shots on goal (89), ranked second among NCAA freshmen in points per game (0.72), and ranked third among NCAA freshmen in points (23) during the season.

Prior to beginning his collegiate career, Jones played one season with the Tri-City Storm in the United States Hockey League (USHL); he was named the USHL Rookie of the Year in 2018-19, and he led all defensemen in the league in assists during the season. Internationally, the Richmond, Virginia native represented the United States at the 2020 IIHF World Junior Championship and recorded two points (one goal, one assist) in five games in the tournament. Jones also helped the United States win a gold medal at the 2018 World Junior A Challenge.

Jones was selected by the Rangers in the third round, 68th overall, of the 2019 NHL Entry Draft.

(Photo by Warren Kozireski)

New York State Natives Earn National College Honors

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BY WARREN KOZIRESKI —

New York State natives Aerin Frankel, Kiara Zanon, Shane Pinto, David Farrance and Bobby Trivigno were all named The CCM Hockey All-Americans as announced by the NCAA.

Frankel of Briarcliff, NY was selected as the first recipient of the Women’s College Hockey Goalie of the Year Award and was a First Team All-American after setting the standard for goaltenders across the country all year. The only goaltender among the ten finalists for this year’s Patty Kazmaier Award, Frankel led the NCAA in save percentage (.969), GAA (0.71) wins (19) and shutouts (9).

Zanon of Fairport, NY was named the Women’s College Hockey Rookie of the Year and a Second Team All-American after she led all NCAA first-year players with 10 goals and 20 assists for 30 points. In the process, she led Penn State in points and assists and was instrumental in the Nittany Lions 16-3-2 season. She was previously recognized as the College Hockey America Conference Rookie of the Year and Player of the Year.

Pinto of Franklin Square was a Hobey Hat Trick finalist and a First Team West All-American as a sophomore at North Dakota. He led his team with 15 goals over 28 games and was third in points with 32 along with winning over 61% of his faceoffs. He just signed a professional contract with Ottawa, who selected him in the second round in 2019.

Victor’s Farrance was a First Team East All-American pick and a Hobey Baker Award Top Ten finalist. He tied for the team lead at Boston University with 16 points over just 11 games in his senior season before signing with Nashville, who took him in the third round in 2017. The defenseman tallied 59 points over his final 46 collegiate games.

And UMass junior forward Trivigno of Setauket was also a First Team East All-American pick. The UMass junior forward led the Minutemen in scoring with 33 points in 28 games.

GIRLS Complete NYS Championships

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By Janet Schultz; Photo from Darcie Duerr Seider

NYS Champions Named

The Girls’s New York State Championships for travel hockey are complete. The 16U Adirondack Northstars, 19U Buffalo Bisons and 14U Rome Grizzlies have taken home the hardware and will be off to the Nationals later this month.

At the 14U Tier II level the Rome Grizzlies beat Mamaroneck Tigers 5-1 in the finals with Gretchen Grimms getting the GWG at 8:18 of the third period.

It was Jillian Willis with the game-winner in the 5-2 Adirondack Northstars win over the CNY Bobcats. Willis to the goal at 10:33 of the second period.

Finally at 19U it was the Buffalo Bisons with a 2-1 victory but a close call as MacKenzie Day scored the game-winner at 3:59 of the third period.

Looking over the weekends stats there were some interesting notes that are fun to share.

In the Tier II 16U semi-finals CNY Bobcats were up 6-1 after the first period. However, they didn’t have a goal in the second or third giving Amherst a chance, which they took. The two Sydney’s, Radecki and Spear each scored a goal, Radecki managed one in the first, Spear a goal in the second and then they both scored in the third and took the game to a 6-4 win for CNY.

In the Tier II 16U semi-final with Adirondack vs Malone Bayley Duffy had a hat trick scoring 3 of the 4 goals to beat Malone 4-3 in overtime. Malone opened the scoring with 2 goals in the first period and none for ADK., ADK came back in the second with each team having a single goal and then ADK tied it up i the third taking it into overtime.  Duffy scored the OT goal at 48 seconds.

Perhaps the most exciting game of the weekend was the Buffalo Bisons taking on the Canton Pee Wees in the semi-finals. It must have been a nail-biting experience for the fans. Canton opened the scoring with a 2-0 lead in the first period. Canton added a second in the second, but the Bisons also scored 2 and its 3-2 going into the third. The Bison’s Becky Holmes scores at 10:08 of the third and the game ends tied. It’s a 0-0 overtime and then they went to the shoot-out. Kendall Kalinowski and Olivia Wade both score for the Bisons and Elizabeth Timby makes all 4 saves on Canton and the Bisons win to move to the finals.

Taking a look at the score sheets we had some interesting notes>

Adirondack’s Jillian Willis had 7 goals in the 13-2 win over Rome.

Amherst’s Sydney Radecki had a hat trick in the 8-2 win over Mamaroneck and a hat trick plus one in the win over Rome.

Mamaroneck’s Parker Caldara had 5 of 7 goals in a 7-4 victory over the Tompkins Shooting Stars.

Adirondack’s Brigid Duffy had a hatrick in an 8-0 victory over Mamaroneck.

Anabella Fanale of the Rochester Junior Americans had 7 of the 8 goals in a 8-0 win over Valley Eagles.

Gretchen Grimm of Rome had a hat trick in a 9-0 victory over the Hamburg Hawks.

In an 8-2 Canton Pee Wee victory over Adirondack, Ella Mousaw had a hat trick and Lillian Willis scored to goals for the win.

Kiersten Smith of the Buffalo Bisons scored all three goals in a 3-0 victory over the Rochester Junior Americans.

Kelsey Fuller had 4 of 9 goals in a Canton win over Rome.

MacKenzie Day had a hat trick in the 8-0 Bisons victory over Troy-Albany and  Adirondack’s Lillian Willis had a hat trick in a 5-3 win over the Hamburg Hawks.

Top scorers overall were Jillian Willis (Adirondack Northstars) with 11 goals and 7 assists for 18 points. Having 13 points each were Sydney Radecki (Amherst 10/3); Bayley Duffy (Adirondack 8/5); Kelsey Fuller (Rome 7/6) and Meghan Crawley (Rome 5/8).

Casey Clausen had three shut-outs in her 240 minutes of play for Rome. Melissa MacLeod of Amherst Knights had two shut-outs in her 135 minutes of play and Avery Marcil from the Canton Pee Weeks also had two shut-outs in her 134 minutes of play.

(Editor’s Note: Due to some Covid Protocol we were unable to attend the games in person; we were there in spirit and also keeping an eye on the scoreboard posted by NYSAHA and through your wonderful photos and update on Facebook.)

St. Mary’s High School Announces Formation of Girls Hockey Program

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Lancaster, NY – St. Mary’s High School in Lancaster, NY, through their athletic department, will be adding a girls hockey team to their interscholastic sports offerings.

St. Mary’s High School is thrilled to welcome a girls team to the St. Mary’s hockey family. St. Mary’s currently has three boys teams participating at the WNY Federation and Club levels. The boys program has been to the state finals two of the last three years and is led by Director of Hockey, Mark Dantonio.  Dantonio will be instrumental in the development of this girls hockey program. 

Local girls hockey participation numbers continue to grow, and there are several current female students at St. Mary’s who also play hockey for outside club and travel teams. These factors formed the perfect landscape for St. Mary’s to build their own women’s team, which will be immediately competitive within WNY girls hockey. St. Mary’s will participate in the WNY Girls Varsity Ice Hockey Federation.

“As a premier co-ed private school, it is important for us to be a leader when it comes to gender equality in all facets of our school community,” said Kevin Kelleher, St. Mary’s Head of School. “When there is a legitimate interest from our girls in a sport that isn’t currently offered and the numbers are there, we have a responsibility to provide these types of opportunities for our students.  The right decision, here, is to form our own girls hockey program.  As with all of our students and student athletes at St. Mary’s, there will be a tremendous amount of responsibility on these pioneering young ladies, as they will be expected to be leaders in the classroom, in the community, and in this case, at the rinks around WNY,” Kelleher concluded.

2021 Toyota-USA Hockey Virtual Disabled Hockey Festival Begins Monday

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Week-long event to celebrate the disabled hockey community
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – The Toyota-USA Hockey Virtual Disabled Hockey Festival begins Monday (April 12), and runs through April 17. The week-long celebration will highlight one of USA Hockey’s six disabled hockey disciplines each day.

The event will feature a roundtable discussion, USA Hockey and the Greater Paralympic Movement, at 7 p.m. ET on Thursday, April 15. The panel will be hosted by NHL Network’s E.J. Hradek and include J.J. O’Connor, chair of the disabled section for USA Hockey, Taylor Lipsett, two-time Paralympic gold medalist, Glenn Merry, executive director at Move United, and Russ Koble, senior manager for Olympic and Paralympic Marketing at Toyota.

“Toyota is excited to once again partner with USA Hockey on the Virtual Disabled Hockey Festival,” said Dedra DeLilli, group manager, sponsorship, integration, & auto shows, Toyota Motor North America. “The past year has been nothing short of challenging but we’re grateful that event organizers have been able to adapt to the ever-changing competition landscape and still find a way to support the disabled hockey community.

“We look forward to an engaging virtual experience for fans as we all celebrate the amazing talent that these athletes bring to the ice.”

In addition, USA Hockey’s Coaching Education Program will be conducting a two-day Disabled Hockey Coaching Clinic from April 12-13 as part of the virtual festival.  

Schedule of Events: Mon., April 12 – Blind Hockey; Disabled Hockey Coaching Clinic – Day 1
Tues., April 13 – Deaf/Hard of Hearing Hockey; Disabled Hockey Coaching Clinic – Day 2
Wed., April. 14 – Sled Hockey
Thur., April 15 – Special Hockey; Roundtable: USA Hockey and the Greater Paralympic Movement 
Fri., April 16 – Standing Amputee Hockey
Sat., April 17 – Warrior Hockey 

For more information on the Toyota-USA Hockey Virtual Disabled Hockey Festival click here.The largest event of its kind, the Toyota-USA Hockey Disabled Hockey Festival takes place in a different parts of the country each year and brings together all six Disabled Hockey disciplines, spanning over two weekends.

NOTES: The 2022 Toyota-USA Hockey Disabled Hockey Festival will be staged April 7-10 and April 21-24 in Pittsburgh, while the 2023 event will be hosted in St. Louis, Missouri … For the most up-to-date news on USA Hockey’s disabled hockey program, including information about all six disciplines of the sport, click here.

NY Rangers Prospect Zac Jones Leads UMass To Frozen Four Championship

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By Warren Kozireski —

University of Massachusetts sophomore defenseman Zac Jones was a third-round choice (68th overall) by the New York Rangers in the 2019 National Hockey League Entry Draft and, after helping his team to the Hockey East title, is just one step away from bringing the school its first Division I men’s hockey national championship.

The team swept through the NCAA East Regional with wins over Lake Superior State and Bemidji State before taking down two-time defending champion Minnesota-Duluth in overtime at the Frozen Four semi-finals.

“Our forwards are doing a terrific job down low getting the pucks in deep and working their D,” Jones said in a Friday press conference. “We were in the zone two, three minutes at a time and that wears on a team.

“It’s fun to play in the o-zone and when you have the puck on your stick all the time, it’s great. We took the momentum from the third (period) and really dominated them in the overtime.”

The 5’10”, 172 lb. left-shot Jones tied for first nationally in goals by defensemen (9) and goals per-game (0.32) with teammate Matthew Kessel, was third in points by defensemen (24) and seventh in points-per game (0.86) by defensemen and was a Second Team Hockey East All-Conference selection this season.

Last year he became the first UMass blueliner during the program’s Division I era to post 20 assists in his rookie season on his way to Hockey East All-Rookie team.

Prior to college, Jones spent three seasons with the Selects Academy at South Kent Prep School and one campaign with Tri-City in the USHL where he tallied 56 points in 52 games before being chosen by the Rangers. He was also part of Team USA at the IIHF Under-20 World Junior team in 2019.

Now his Minutemen take on St. Cloud State Saturday night, a team also trying to win their first national championship.

“The guys…here before me really set the standard of UMass hockey…came in and turned this program around. Being a current player, I’m trying to build that legacy and keep that going and make history.”

Nate Leaman Named Head Coach of 2022 U.S. National Junior Team

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Providence head coach returns to U.S. bench after winning gold medal in 2021
 
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Nate Leaman (East Greenwich, Rhode Island/Providence College), who led the U.S. to the gold medal at the 2021 International Ice Hockey Federation World Junior Championship in Edmonton, Alberta, has been named head coach of the 2022 U.S. National Junior Team, it was announced by USA Hockey.The U.S. National Junior Team will take part in the 2022 IIHF World Junior Championship Dec. 26, 2021 – Jan. 5, 2022, in Edmonton and Red Deer, Alberta.

Team USA is seeking its sixth medal in seven years, and first-ever back-to-back gold medals at the event.

“We’re very excited to have Nate back leading our National Junior Team,” said John Vanbiesbrouck, assistant executive director of hockey operations for USA Hockey and also the general manager of the 2022 U.S. National Junior Team. “The championship pedigree Nate brings to the bench, and the consistency some of our returning players will have from last year’s event, will be an advantage for our team heading into this year’s tournament.”

Leaman has been a part of three previous U.S. National Junior Team coaching staffs, including his first stint as head coach in 2021, winning Team USA’s fifth gold medal in tournament history. He also served as an assistant coach for the bronze medal-winning 2007 squad that competed in Leksand and Mora, Sweden.

Additionally, he served as an assistant coach for the 2009 team that played in Ottawa, Ontario. Leaman made his USA Hockey coaching debut as an assistant coach in 2005 at the IIHF Under-18 Men’s World Championship, where the U.S. won gold in Ceske Budejorke and Plzen, Czech Republic.

“It’s always an honor to be asked to coach for my country and I’m grateful to be back behind the bench,” said Leaman. “I’m excited to see some familiar faces, and coach some of America’s best young talent, as we look to build another championship roster.”

The 2020-21 campaign is Leaman’s tenth as head coach at Providence, where he has led the Friars to NCAA tournament berths in six of the past eight campaigns, including the school’s first-ever NCAA title in 2015. During his tenure, Leaman has coached 27 NHL draft picks in addition to six undrafted players currently under NHL contracts.

He has also coached four players selected to play for the U.S. National Junior Team, including Jon Gillies (2013, 2014), Erik Foley (2017), Parker Ford (2020) and Brett Berard (2021). Gillies, Foley and Berard were all part of gold medal-winning teams.Prior to Providence, Leaman spent eight seasons (2003-11) at the helm of the Union College men’s ice hockey team where he led the school to its first ECAC regular-season championship and NCAA Division I tournament appearance in 2010-11, a year that marked the program’s fourth consecutive winning campaign and a then school-best 26 wins.

Leaman departed Union with 138 wins, which at the time marked the most in Dutchmen history.Leaman was awarded the Spencer Penrose Award as the top coach in NCAA Division I men’s ice hockey in 2011, and has also been a finalist for the honor four other times (2019, 2016, 2015, 2010). Leaman was honored as the Hockey East Coach of the Year in 2016, and was named ECAC Coach of the Year in both 2011 and 2010.

Born and raised in Centerville, Ohio, Leaman captained the SUNY Cortland men’s ice hockey team his junior and senior years, finishing as one of the top-20 scorers in school history. He was inducted into the Red Dragons Hall of Fame in 2014.

NOTES: Leaman will be the first head coach since Bob Motzko (2017-18) to guide the U.S. in back-to-back IIHF World Junior Championships … The United States enters the 2022 IIHF World Junior Championship seeking its sixth medal in seven years after earning its fifth gold medal in 2021 … To date, the U.S. has claimed 13 medals in the IIHF World Junior Championship, including five gold (2021, 2017, 2013, 2010, 2004), two silvers (2019, 1997) and six bronze (2018, 2016, 2011, 2007, 1992, 1986) … For more information on the U.S. National Junior Team, click here.

USA Hockey To Use Clear2Play For IIHF U18 Men’s World Championship

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Event Set for April 26-May 6 in Texas 
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – USA Hockey announced today it will utilize Clear2Play as an important part of its safety efforts associated with hosting the International Ice Hockey Federation U18 Men’s World Championship, set for April 26-May 6 in Frisco and Plano, Texas.The Clear2Play app will be utilized to manage and confirm health and safety protocols are followed by athletes, team staff and personnel associated with the tournament.

The event, being staged in the United States for just the third time, features the best men’s players under the age of 18 from 10 nations across the world, including the U.S., Canada, Sweden, Finland, Russia, Switzerland, Czech Republic, Latvia, Germany and Belarus.

“We’re fortunate to have the secure technology provided through Clear2Play to help us manage the health, safety and well-being of those involved with the tournament,” said Tony Driscoll, assistant executive director of marketing, communications and events for USA Hockey. “We’re looking forward to a great championship where fans can watch the next generation of players we’ll soon see in the NHL.

”Fans have the opportunity to attend games at Comerica Center in Frisco where preliminary round games in Group B — featuring the U.S., Russia, Finland, Czech Republic and Germany — will be contested. Comerica Center will also host two quarterfinal games, two semifinal contests and the bronze and gold-medal games. Ticket information is available here.

Due to tournament protocols, fans will not be permitted for games at Children’s Health StarCenter in Plano.

NOTES: The United States has medaled in the IIHF Under-18 Men’s World Championship an unprecedented 16 straight times, including a record 10 gold-medal performances. The U.S. will be looking to win gold for the first time since 2017 … The IIHF Under-18 Men’s World Championship has been held in the United States on two previous occasions – 2009 in Fargo, North Dakota, and Moorhead, Minnesota; and 2016 in Grand Forks, North Dakota.