Team USA inline team seeking success this summer in Slovakia
Team USA will put its reputation on the line once again as one of the world’s top inline hockey powers at the 2017 International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) Inline Hockey World Championships June 25-July 1 in Bratislava, Slovakia.
The U.S. has medaled in all but five of the 19 IIHF inline world championships previously staged, including six gold medals (1996, 1997, 2004, 2006, 2010, 2013), four silver medals (1998, 2001, 2009, 2011) and four bronze medals (2000, 2003, 2005, 2014). There were no tournaments held in 1999 and 2016.
The American squad will be looking to rebound from a fifth-place finish at the 2015 tournament in Finland.
Five of the 14 players on the 2017 Team USA roster are from California.
Goaltender Troy Redmann (Brea) anchors the Americans’ Golden State contingent that also includes defensemen Nielsson Archibal (Vista) and Derrick Burnett (Corona) and forwards Travis Noe (Thousand Oaks, pictured above) and Matt White (Whittier).
Noe, White and Archibal won gold medals in 2013 while Noe, White and Burnett won bronze medals in 2014.
Noe and White are the team’s longest-serving veterans with experience on the 2013, 2014 and 2015 U.S. inline teams.
Archibal was a member of the 2013 and 2015 U.S. inline teams, Burnett was a member of the 2014 and 2015 U.S. inline teams and Redmann was a member of the 2015 U.S. inline team.
Mission Viejo’s Joe Cook returns as Team USA head coach. This marks the seventh time the former Roller Hockey International standout with the Anaheim Bullfrogs has served as head coach of a U.S. national inline team. He guided Team USA to the gold medal at the 2013 tournament in Dresden, Germany.
State Wars United States Roller Hockey Championship national director Tim McManus (Rockville Center, N.Y.) will serve as an assistant coach.
Cook’s selection received glowing remarks from Dan Brennan, who serves as general manager of the 2017 U.S. national inline team.
“We are very happy to have Joe Cook back as our head coach this year as his passion for the game is unmatched,” Brennan said. “Adding Tim McManus to the coaching staff this year is also a huge plus as both coaches know the players and the sport of inline hockey as well as anyone.”
Eight teams will compete in this year’s tournament. Team USA (fifth seed) is placed in Group A alongside Canada (first seed), Slovakia (fourth seeded) and Croatia (eighth seed).
Group B features Finland (second seed), Sweden (third seed), Czech Republic (sixth seed) and Germany (seventh seed).
The U.S. team faces off the tournament June 25 against Slovakia, meets Canada on June 26 and Croatia on June 27.
The quarterfinal playoffs are scheduled June 29, followed by semifinals on June 30 and the bronze and gold medal games on July 1.
Games will be live-streamed from the tournament site.
The Americans have medaled in five of the last seven tournaments. Medal hopes are very optimistic this year.
The 2017 U.S. squad features eight veterans, including five from the 2013 gold medal-winning team: goaltender Jerry Kuhn (Southgate, Mich.) and defenseman Cody Kettler (St. Louis, Mo.) along with Archibal, Noe and White.
Noe had five points in Team USA’s 12-5 win over Sweden to capture the bronze medal at the 2014 tournament held in the Czech Republic. Burnett had three assists in the game.
Noe led the American team in scoring with five goals and five assists at the 2015 tournament.
“We have a great mix of solid offensive players who should provide us with the ability to be very successful in Bratislava this year,” Brennan noted. “We also have a group of new players this year who are very excited to get started as we go overseas seeking a gold medal.”
The 14-man roster includes six forwards, six defensemen and two goaltenders.
Among the newcomers are defensemen P.J. DiMartino (Bohemia, N.Y.) and Jalen Krogman (St. Charles, Mo.), both standouts at April’s National Collegiate Roller Hockey Championships in Ft. Myers, Fla.
DiMartino won a Division I title with Farmingdale State while Krogman captured a runner-up finish in the division with Lindenwood University.
DiMartino earned Division I MVP honors at the tournament while Krogman received the Division I playmaker award. He also helped lead the New Jersey Alliance to May’s American Inline Hockey League (AIHL) Elite Division Champions Cup title.
Both rookie Team USA members will be gunning for international recognition next.
It’s quickly shaping up to be a busy summer championship season once again for inline teams both in and outside the Golden State.
The NARCh West Coast and East Coast Finals will provide full coverage of the North American continent this summer. More than 1,000 games will be played over the course of five weeks at two tournament sites: the West Coast Finals in San Jose and the East Coast Finals in Toronto.
The West Coast Finals, which faced off June 15 and are ongoing through June 25, feature 186 teams from seven U.S. states and three other countries competing in 13 different age categories for 33 division championships.
The East Coast Finals, scheduled July 13-23, will feature more than 180 teams in 14 age categories also competing for 33 division titles.
Combined, the two tournament sites will host more than 360 teams participating over a 21-day span. Representation will come from 15 U.S. states, four Canadian provinces and teams from four continents.
The first championship medals were handed out June 19 at the Silver Creek Sportsplex.
Among the winners were the Bulldogs (Bantam Gold, pictured above), North Shore Zulu (Bantam Platinum), Konixx Outcasts (Midget Gold), Tour Roadrunners (Midget Platinum), Konixx Outcasts (Division 1), Pama Labeda Golden Knights (Men’s Platinum), Revision Vanquish (Women’s Gold) and Republic (Women’s Platinum).
Runner-up teams included the Konixx Outcasts 00 Bantam Platinum), Avalanche Hokey Club (Bantam Gold), NCR Konixx Elite (Midget Gold), Mission Sting (Midget Platinum), Tour Roadrunners (Division 1), Konixx Outcasts (Men’s Platinum), Revision Revolution Red (Women’s Gold) and Pama Labeda Golden Knights (Women’s Platinum).
AAU Junior Olympics
The Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) Junior Olympic Games are scheduled July 6-16 at The Rinks-Corona Inline. Competition will take place in 14 age divisions from 8U through adult with AAA, AA, A and Tier 1 and Tier 2 sub-divisions.
The AAU West Coast Nationals (club championships took place May 26-29 at Corona Inline and served as a qualifier for the upcoming Junior Olympic event.
State Wars 13 is scheduled July 26 to Aug. 6 in Taylor, Mich. The championship tournament series released the 12 teams that will compete for $25,000 in the Pama Pro Invitational (July 28-30).
Competing teams include the Alkali Halton Coyotes, Alkali RPD, Excitement, Konixx Pure, Mission Bauer Bordercats, Mission Black Ice, Mission Labeda Snipers, Pama Labeda Cyclones, Rink Rat, Sweden, Tour Mudcats and Tour Roadrunners.
Mission Black Ice is the defending Pama Pro Invitational champion.
The tournament will offer $2,500 to its Women’s Division champion this year
The national championship tournament is unique in that it groups youth teams by state or province and players by birth year.
The International World Games Association’s 2017 edition of the World Games is scheduled July 26-30 in Wroclaw, Poland.
Three Californians are on the roster of the U.S. team that will compete in the inline hockey tournament: Tristan Gonzalez (Costa Mesa), Matt Sarvak (Newport Beach) and Jackson Faught (Santa Margarita).
Californian residents Tyler Svoboda and Jeff Prime will serve as the team’s coaches.
The American squad is the only national team to win the gold medal since the inline hockey tournament’s inception at the 2005 World Games.
To close the summer’s international globetrotting, the FIRS world inline hockey championships will take place in conjunction with the World Roller Games Aug. 27 to Sept. 10 in Nanjing, China.
Californians on the U.S. senior men’s team include Brian Ganz (Sunnyvale), Cody Page (Dana Point), Kyle Sharke (San Clemente) and Blake Ducker (Orange). Sy Patel, co-coach of the former Oakland Goodlife team in the American Inline Hockey League (AIHL), will serve on the U.S. team’s coaching staff.
Campbell’s Dave Inouye will once again coach the U.S. men’s junior team. Californians on the roster include Noah Auerlich (Yorba Linda), Daniel Cascarano (San Jose), Brayden Kohler (Corona) and Roman De La Torre (San Jose). Las Vegas native Cody Printzen will represent Nevada on the team.
The U.S. senior women’s team features eight players from California and Arizona — more than half the team’s roster.
California natives include Kayla Demint (Chino Hills), Casidhe Kunichika (Fullerton), Elisa Pogu (Corona), Laura Veharanta (Irvine), Jenna Weeks (Sonora) and Ariane Yojoyama (Van Nuys).
Arizonans include Allison Era (Youngstown) and Brooke Blaylock (Anthem). Dave Marmorstein (Peoria, Ariz.) will serve as head coach.
The Western Inline Hockey Association held its 2017 championship tournament over the first two weekends in June. Finals in 6U, 10U, 14U and 18U age divisions took place June 2-4 at Irvine Inline while finals in 8U, 12U, 16U and Junior took place June 9-11 at the same site.
Noe photo/Pasi Mennander; Bulldogs photo/NARCh
— Phillip Brents