USA Hockey Magazine

January 2014

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STOPs & STARTS USA HOCKEY NEWS & UPDATES BY RYAN SATKOWIAK Backes Gives Generous Gift To U.S. Sled Team D avid Backes has a long memory, especially when it comes to remembering those who display kindness toward the St. Louis Blues power forward. It was almost four years ago when Backes paid a visit to the White House for a ceremony honoring the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Teams. Noticing that the Minneapolis native was the only member of the silvermedal winning men's hockey team to make the trip, members of the 2010 U.S. Paralympic Sled Hockey Team invited Backes to spend the evening with them as they celebrated in the Nation's Capital. "I was kind of a lone wolf out there in D.C.," Backes recalled. "They're really great guys. They made me feel like I was a part of their team." The kindness and friendship he was shown was never forgotten, and ultimately Backes repaid the team for their hospitality when they spent a week in St. Louis last November training for an upcoming tournament. Backes invited the team and staff to his house for dinner, and surprised the sled players with a gift of new equipment. "They're high-level athletes, and 04 JANUARY. 2014 when I found out they have to pay for their own gear, that's just not right," Backes said. "I wanted to do something nice for them." Backes hatched the plan several months ago when he was in Buffalo serving as a team ambassador for the U.S. Olympic Committee. It was there that he stopped by a sled hockey practice and participated with the team in several on-ice drills. Backes' St. Louis teammates and fellow U.S. Olympic hopefuls T.J. Oshie and Kevin Shattenkirk stopped by for dinner and helped to load boxes of gear into the team's vans. "They took great care of us," said Dan Brennan, who is the general manager of the U.S. Sled Team. "They're good people first and NHLers second. They made the [sled] guys feel like teammates." David Backes, along with his St. Louis Blues teammates TJ Oshie and Kevin Shattenkirk, welcomed the U.S. Sled Hockey Team to town. USAHOCKEYMAGAZINE.COM A FITTING TRIBUTE Members of the Air Force Academy hockey team honored John Matchefts before their Nov. 16 game against Robert Morris University. In addition to the tribute, Air Force and Colorado College announced the creation of the The Pikes Peak Trophy, which was dedicated in memory of Matchefts, who coached CC from 1966-71 and the Falcons from 1974-85. "He is an American-born hockey legend," Falcons coach Frank Serratore said of Matchefts, who passed away on Nov. 10 at the age of 82. "It's only natural that his name is on the trophy. It needed to be." FUTURE OLYMPIANS Poised To Try Hockey For Free The ice chips will still be settling on Olympic ice when USA Hockey hosts its annual celebration of our great game with the seventh Hockey Weekend Across America. Looking to capitalize on the excitement and exposure that comes with the Olympic Winter Games, USA Hockey's Membership Development department will host another Try Hockey for Free Day on March 1. In the wake of the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver, in which both the U.S. Men's and Women's Teams skated home with silver medals, USA Hockey enjoyed a 15 percent increase in new 8 & Under players, the largest increase in new players in the past 15 years. The three-day event will also feature Wear Your Favorite Hockey Jersey on Feb. 28 and Celebrate Local Hockey Heroes on March 2. Participating host locations will receive jerseys, promotional items, marketing tools, USA Hockey sanctioning and online registration to maximize participation. Youth hockey associations can learn how they can get involved by registering at HockeyWeekendAcrossAmerica.com and clicking on the Try Hockey link. PHOTOS COURTESY OF Dan Brennan; Getty Images; U.S. Air Force Academy

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