COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- USA Hockey today named 18 players to the 2009-10 U.S. National Sled Hockey Team. The squad will convene for four training camps during the upcoming season, as well as two international tournaments and a pair of exhibition series against Canada in the lead-up to the 2010 Paralympic Winter Games in Vancouver, B.C.
The roster includes two goaltenders, six defensemen and 10 forwards, and will be narrowed to 15 players who will make up the 2010 U.S. Paralympic Sled Hockey Team in early January 2010.
Highlighting the U.S. roster are 13 players who have competed in previous Paralympics, including four gold-medal winners from 2002. The most veteran members of the team are three-time Paralympians Kip St. Germaine (East Falmouth, Mass.) and Joe Howard (Kingston, Mass.), who is returning to the team for the first time since the 2006 Paralympic Games in Torino, Italy. In addition, Lonnie Hannah (Boerne, Texas) and Chris Manns (Buffalo, N.Y.) are each looking to make their third Paralympic squad, after having competed for Team USA in 2002 and 2006.
"On paper, this is the most talented group we've ever had," said Dan Brennan, USA Hockey's manager of ice and inline coaching, as well as the director of player personnel for the 2010 U.S. Paralympic Sled Hockey Team. "We're excited about the offensive skill we have, as well as the mix of experience and youth, and look forward to becoming a well-rounded team during the 2009-10 season."
Team USA experienced unprecedented success on the world stage this past season, as the U.S. National Sled Hockey Team captured its first-ever gold medal at the 2009 International Paralympic Committee Ice Sledge Hockey World Championship, staged in Ostrava, Czech Republic, from May 9-16. It marked the third consecutive U.S. medal at the world championship, as the team garnered the silver in 2004 and bronze in 2008.
On the Paralympic stage, the United States began competing with a sixth-place finish in 1998, which was the second time the sport was included in the Games. At the following Paralympics in Salt Lake City, Utah, in 2002, the underdog Americans earned the gold medal with a 4-3 shootout win over defending champion Norway. Finally, at the last Games in Torino, the U.S. captured the bronze medal.
The 2009-10 U.S. National Sled Hockey Team's international schedule kicks off with a a three-game series against Canada in Ontario from Sept. 10-13. The teams will then meet again for another three-game series in Rochester, N.Y., from Oct. 21-25. The squad's first tournament action will come at the 2009 World Sledge Hockey Challenge in Camrose, Alta., from Nov. 14-22, and will conclude with the 2010 Japan Four Nations Tournament in Nagano, Japan, from Jan. 16-25. In addition, Team USA will gather for training camps in Rochester, N.Y., or Charlotte, N.C., from Aug. 19-23; Rochester, N.Y., from Dec. 2-6; Rochester, N.Y., from Feb. 13-21; and Colorado Springs, Colo., from March 3-4.
As previously announced, Ray Maluta (Rochester, N.Y.), will lead Team USA through the 2010 Paralympic Winter Games. He will be joined throughout the 2009-10 season by returning assistant coach Bill Corbo, Jr. (Merrimack, N.H.), who enters his third season with the team. Corbo currently serves as the New England District's Coach-in-Chief for USA Hockey's Coaching Education Program. He works extensively with goaltenders and player development at all levels within the organization.
2009-10 U.S. National Sled Hockey Team
Mike Blabac (Buffalo, N.Y.)
Steve Cash (Overland, Mo.)
Taylor Chace (Hampton Falls, N.H.)
Jimmy Connelly (Galloway, N.J.)
Mike Hallman (Hatboro, Pa.)
Lonnie Hannah (Boerne, Texas)
Chris Manns (Buffalo, N.Y.)
Kip St. Germaine (East Falmouth, Mass.)
Brad Emmerson (Amherst, N.Y.)
Joe Howard (Kingston, Mass.)
Tim Jones (Mt. Ephraim, N.J.)
Nikko Landeros (Berthoud, Colo.)
Taylor Lipsett (Mesquite, Texas)
Adam Page (Lancaster, N.Y.)
Alexi Salamone (Grand Island, N.Y.)
Greg Shaw (Park City, Utah)
Bubba Torres (Riverside, N.J.)
Andy Yohe (Bettendorf, Iowa)
General Manager: J.J. O'Connor, Mt. Prospect, Ill.
Team Leader & Director of Player Personnel: Dan Brennan, Colorado Springs, Colo.
Head Coach: Ray Maluta, Rochester, N.Y.
Assistant Coach: Bill Corbo, Jr., Merrimack, N.H.
Athletic Trainer: Brian Brewster, Houghton, Mich.
Equipment Manager: Bill Sandberg, Parker, Colo.
Media Relations: Alex Clark, Colorado Springs, Colo.
USA Hockey, Inc.
President: Ron DeGregorio, Salem, N.H.
Executive Director: Dave Ogrean, Colorado Springs, Colo.
Chairman of the Board: Walter L. Bush, Jr., Edina, Minn.
Director, Media & Public Relations: Dave Fischer, Colorado Springs, Colo.
NOTES: The 2009-10 U.S. National Sled Hockey Team was chosen from a pool of 37 athletes who participated in a tryout camp in Rochester, N.Y., from June 1-2 ... Seventeen of the 18 members of the team have competed in a World Championship or the Paralympic Winter Games. Nikko Landeros (Berthoud, Colo.) is the only newcomer to the team ... The 18 players span four generations, ranging in age from 17 years, four months (Adam Page) to 45 years, five months (Lonnie Hannah). The average age of the team is 26 ... Ten states are represented among Team USA's 18 athletes.