USA National Deaf Ice Hockey Announces Team for 2019 Winter Deaflympics; Roster Includes Illinois’ Balcerak, Finley, Krueger, Lindgren, Peinado & Struwing

EVANSTON, ILJuly 8, 2019 – The American Hearing Impaired Hockey Association (AHIHA) is pleased to release the 23-man roster that will represent the U.S. and compete in the 19th Winter Deaflympics. The roster includes Illinois’ Tyler Balcerak (Elgin), Max Finley (Peoria), Ryne Krueger (Barrington), Anders Lindgren (Saint Anne), Luke Peinado (Winnetka) and Derek Struwing (Bartlett). Hosted under the purview of the International Committee of Sports for the Deaf, the Deaflympics will take place December 12 – 21, 2019, in Valtellina Valchiavenna, Italy.

“We’re excited about our team and their pride in representing the United States at the Deaflympics,” said head coach Joe Gotfryd. “The team is prepared for the high level of competition that we will face in this tournament. We will be competing in Italy with one goal, winning a gold medal.”

Of the 23 players rostered, 16 are returnees from previous international competitions, including the U.S. teams that won a bronze medal at the 2015 Deaflympics held in Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia, and a gold medal at the 2017 World Championships in Amherst, New York. This year’s team ranges in age from 16 to 34 and hail from 14 states.

19th Winter Deaflympics – USA Ice Hockey Team

19th Winter Deaflympics – USA Ice Hockey Team Staff

The team operates under the guidelines of USA Hockey and the USA Deaf Sports Federation. To qualify, athletes must have a hearing loss of at least 55 dB in their “better ear.” Hearing aids, cochlear implants and the like are not allowed during competition to ensure all athletes play on the same level.

AHIHA funds the team through private donations as well as support from the USA Hockey Foundation. Donations to help team expenses can be made at or mailed to the organization at 9345 Harding Ave., Evanston, IL 60203-1320.

About the American Hearing Impaired Hockey Association (AHIHA):

AHIHA, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation, is one of the leading sports organizations in the U.S. serving deaf and hard of hearing athletes. Founded in 1973 by National Hockey League Hall of Fame member Stan Mikita and businessman Irv Tiahnybik, AHIHA supports deaf and hard of hearing athletes to develop confidence and self-esteem while building life skills through the game of hockey. To learn more about AHIHA, please visit

For information about the 2019 Winter Deaflympics:

For information on the USA Deaf Sports Federation:


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