USA Hockey & discovering foundations

Chicago, IL –For those of us that were around in 1980 to witness the gigantic underdog  Team USA take on at that time a world hockey super power in the Soviet National team and defeat them only to go onto gold was a miracle to be sure. The overwhelming pride you took as an American in our boys’ efforts and their team play to upset the Soviets who had won every medal since 1960 was a testament to a good coaching philosophy and hard work and player execution.

USA Hockey was put on the map not just internationally but at home as well. With Team USA winning the gold medal in the IIHF U20 WJC in Ufa, Russia again defeating a hockey super power in Canada and the defending champion Swedish team again you felt that pride for our boys. Not only because they did what some thought was the unthinkable because like their 1980 processors they played their hearts out.

Team USA  can be viewed as well disciplined, balanced and most importantly an unselfish team. No one member is more important than the other. Each player plays for each other and to the best of their abilities. Hard work and gritty is the badges they proudly wear.

Who is team USA?.


Name Ht Wt Birthdate S/C Hometown 2012-13 Team (League) NHL Rights
John Gibson* 6-3 222 7/14/1993 L Pittsburgh, Pa. Kitchener Rangers (OHL) ANA (’11, 2nd rd., 39th overall)
Jon Gillies 6-5 230 1/22/1994 L Concord, N.H. Providence College (HEA) CGY (’12, 3rd rd., 75th overall)
Garret Sparks 6-2 211 6/28/1993 L Elmhurst, Ill. Guelph Storm (OHL) TOR (’11, 7th rd., 190th overall)


Name Ht Wt Birthdate S/C Hometown 2012-13 Team (League) NHL Rights
Shayne Gostisbehere 5-11 167 4/20/1993 L Margate, Fla. Union College (ECACH) PHI (’12, 3rd rd., 78th overall)
Seth Jones 6-4 205 10/3/1994 R Plano, Texas Portland Winterhawks (WHL) 2013 Draft Eligible
Jake McCabe 6-1 207 10/12/1993 L Eau Claire, Wis. Univ. of Wisconsin (WCHA) BUF (’12, 2nd rd., 44th overall)
Connor Murphy 6-4 205 3/26/1993 R Dublin, Ohio Sarnia Sting (OHL) PHX (’11, 1st rd., 20th overall)
Mike Reilly 6-1 167 7/13/1993 L Chanhassen, Minn. Univ. of Minnesota (WCHA) CBJ (’11, 4th rd., 98th overall)
Patrick Sieloff 6-1 199 5/15/1994 L Ann Arbor, Mich. Windsor Spitfires (OHL) CGY (’12, 2nd rd., 42nd overall)
Jacob Trouba* 6-2 198 2/26/1994 R Rochester, Mich. Univ. of Michigan (CCHA) WPG (’12, 1st rd., 9th overall)


Name Ht Wt Birthdate S/C Hometown 2012-13 Team (League) NHL Rights
Cole Bardreau 5-10 181 7/22/1993 R Fairport, N.Y. Cornell Univ. (ECACH) Free Agent
Riley Barber 5-11 194 2/7/1994 R Livonia, Mich. Miami Univ. (CCHA) WSH (’12, 6th rd., 167th overall)
Tyler Biggs 6-2 223 4/30/1993 R Binghamton, N.Y. Oshawa Generals (OHL) TOR (’11, 1st rd., 22nd overall)
Alex Galchenyuk 6-1 197 2/12/1994 L Milwaukee, Wis. Sarnia Sting (OHL) MTL (’12, 1st rd., 3rd overall)
John Gaudreau 5-9 150 8/13/1993 L Carneys Point, N.J. Boston College (HEA) CGY (’11, 4th rd., 104th overall)
Rocco Grimaldi 5-6 165 2/8/1993 R Rossmoor, Calif. Univ. of North Dakota (WCHA) FLA (’12, 2nd rd., 33rd overall)
Ryan Hartman 6-0 187 9/20/1994 R West Dundee, Ill. Plymouth Whalers (OHL) 2013 Draft Eligible
Sean Kuraly 6-2 199 1/20/1993 L Dublin, Ohio Miami Univ. (CCHA) SJS (’11, 5th rd., 133rd overall)
Mario Lucia 6-2 193 8/25/1993 L Plymouth, Minn. Univ. of Notre Dame (CCHA) MIN (‚11, 2nd rd., 60th overall)
J.T. Miller* 6-2 212 3/14/1993 L East Palestine, Ohio Connecticut Whale (AHL) NYR (’11, 1st rd., 15th overall)
Blake Pietila 6-0 195 2/20/1993 L Brighton, Mich. Michigan Tech Univ. (WCHA) NJD (’11, 5th rd., 129th overall)
Vince Trocheck 5-10 186 7/11/1993 R Pittsburgh, Pa. Saginaw Spirit (OHL) FLA (’11, 3rd rd., 64th overall)
Jim Vesey 6-2 200 5/26/1993 L North Reading, Mass. Harvard Univ. (ECACH) NSH (’12, 3rd rd., 66th overall)

* 2012 U.S. National Junior Team Member 1

A group of hard working guys who come from all over the USA. Different states and parts of the country are represented by these boys. Places outside your traditional hockey markets like, CA, FL, TX and the rustbelt states of OH and PA.

One has to smile that we had an American from Russian decent from the heartland of America Alex Galchenyuk and an African American from Plano, TX Seth Jones and Johnny “hockey” Gaudreau a Jersey boy from Boston College and an American of Italian decent Rocco Grimaldi from California representing team USA. Isn’t that exactly what America is and should be?

You have to think that in some small way the NHL’s expansion into these markets has had some influence on local hockey youth programs. We may not want to credit commissioner Bettman with much but for how expansion into these markets may have hurt the NHL in the grander scheme of things it may just have helped hockey overall especially in the United States. It will be interesting to see it’s impact on the NHL in the coming years.

This will be the third time since 2004 the US hockey team has captured gold at this level which speaks volumes for the development program at USA Hockey. There is also a nice balance between players coming from the college programs and a tip to Canada the CHL (Canadian Hockey League).

The US program still has a ways to go but we are competing and significantly on the world stage which could signal in a new emergence of hockey in the US.  US Hockey in partnership with the NHL has a ADM program whose mission is to provide a cross country program for developing American hockey players. It focuses the kids on performance and improving not on results. It also seeks children to play all sports not simply focus on one. A well rounded athlete is a better athlete.2

There was no question our goaltending and defense were the best of the tournament on any team. The forwards scored when needed and the work ethic and determination were the best of any team. To borrow something from Herb Brooks who coached the 1980 US Gold Medal USA hockey team, this team definitely played like ” the name on the front of the jersey was more important that the names on the back. ” Team USA thank you for providing a nation with thrills and pride.

Team USA was coached by Phil Housley a former NHL defenseman which explains this team’s attention to defensive details. His in game adjustments and lineup changes sparked a lagging offense and got players back on track. He kept Team USA focused and disciplined while exuding confidence and a belief that this team would always be in it. Team USA was a complete team due to the fundamentals that USA hockey is instilling in their players. This applies to the women hockey as well. Team USA came back with the Silver in the IIHF WW U18 which was held in Finland. Team Canada got the gold.3

Now that the NHL is back one has to be a little grateful that they were gone for a bit because the focus turned elsewhere for hockey. Whether people turned to peewee  hockey, AHL/ECHL, College or CHL hockey people got back to the true grass roots of this sport.

It’s ironic that the NHL’s masterpiece of getting back to the foundation of hockey the Winter Classic was cancelled, maybe though a more profound level of hockey was reached. Hockey in the fall of 2012 was being played for something more than paychecks, profits, merchandise sales and revenue shares. It was played for skills development, for your team mates, for your coach and like team USA for one’s country.  It was played the way the game always was intended to be played with passion and just plain old for the love of the game.

1 taken from

2 taken from

3 taken from

to find a hockey program for your children go to the site or check with your local NHL team site for information.


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