By J.J. O’Connor, USA Hockey Disabled Section Chairman
USA Hockey recently announced the 9th Annual USA Sled Hockey Select Camp to be conducted July 14 through July 19, 2014 in Buffalo, New York. Attendance at this Camp is by invitation only.
For the past 36 summers USA Hockey has conducted various Player Development Camps for young athletes from throughout the country. The goal is to attract the best players in their specific age group to our national development program. One of the primary purposes of the Camps is to identify, train and educate our best athletes. The competition gives each player the opportunity to measure themselves against others their age, gain knowledge about their development and to be exposed to outstanding coaches.
The format of each program creates a very competitive atmosphere. This is to provide a setting with which athletes will compete at their highest level. It is not a tournament but rather a grueling week of training meant to showcase our players as well.
Through participation in this Sled Camp process, players will be exposed to some of the best coaches in the country. USA Sled Hockey Paralympians who won the Gold Medal in Salt Lake City in 2002, the Bronze Medal in Turin, Italy in 2006, the Gold Medal in Vancouver in 2010 and the Gold Medal in Sochi, Russia in 2014 will serve as assistant coaches and speakers. Daily curriculum will include intense on-ice and off-ice instruction as well as game competitions.
All players and staff stay in the dorms at the University of Buffalo at Amherst with all hockey activities taking place at the Northtown Center Ice Complex in Amherst, New York. Adult supervision consisting of coaches and team leaders will be provided 24 hours a day throughout the duration of the Sled Select Camp.
This years’ Camp eligibility will be targeted to:
- USA Hockey registered male and female players 14-20 years of age (born in 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999 and 2000).
- Players over the age of 20 years of age who have been playing sled hockey for three years or less.
Tryouts for the USA National Sled Team will take place immediately preceding the USA Sled Hockey Select Camp beginning on Saturday morning July 12, 2014 with a meeting in the lobby of the rink at 8:30 a.m. and will continue through Sunday evening, July 13, 2014 with the last tryout concluding from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. at the Northtown Center in Amherst, New York.
Players 20 years of age or younger that have not been rostered on the National Sled team must attend the USA Sled Select Camp in order to be considered for the USA Hockey Development Team.
Players greater than 20 years of age with three years of experience or less that have not been rostered on the National Sled team must attend the USA Sled Select Camp in order to be considered for the USA Hockey Development Team.
Players do not have to attend the National Sled Team tryouts that precede USA Hockey Sled Select Camp in order to be considered for the USA Hockey Development Team (as they will be evaluated during the Select Sled Camp) but they are strongly encouraged to attend. The USA Hockey Select Sled Camp will also be part of the evaluation process for selections to the USA Hockey Sled National Team and the USA Hockey Sled Development Team. Players that have been rostered on the National Sled Team for a full year or players that were not invited to Select Sled Camp, can make the USA Hockey Development Team by attending the National Sled Team tryouts July 11-12, 2014.
All Players must attend either the Select Sled Camp July 14-19, 2014 or the National Team tryouts July 11-12, 2014 to be considered for the National Team or the Development Team, and only an extenuating circumstance, cleared prior to the Sled Select Camp and tryouts by the National Team Head Coach and the Development Team Head Coach, will allow any player to be rostered without attending.
By combining the USA Sled Hockey Select Camp and the USA National Sled Team tryouts immediately preceding this National Select Sled Camp, the overall cost to several players has been dramatically reduced.
This USA Hockey Sled Select Camp is very important to an advancing sled player who wishes to not only improve their individual skills but also further their sled hockey careers. If you get a chance and are in the Buffalo area this summer, we strongly encourage you to stop by the rink and view these very talented young athletes in action.