Buffalo Boys Represent Team USA!

A great tournament for Team USA.  Photo from isbhf.com

A great tournament for Team USA. Photo from isbhf.com

The days surrounding the NHL Draft were some of the most exciting in recent history for Buffalo sports fans. The impending pick of Jack Eichel notwithstanding, GM Tim Murray was hard at work to secure top-level players to fill out our roster and insure success sooner rather than later. While Buffalo was deeply enraptured by our new acquisitions, several local athletes and coaches were overseas, dominating the sport-court competition. Team USA, along with 17 other international men’s teams and 6 women’s teams met near Zurich, Switzerland to take part in the ISBHF’s World Championship of Street Hockey.

USA's women's team took 4th overall.   Photo from zug2015.com

USA’s women’s team took 4th overall. Photo from zug2015.com

One would be hard pressed to find a Buffalonian who hasn’t whacked a ball around a driveway or tennis court, but these elite athletes take your backyard game to the next level; currently, the ISBHF is seeking to become an Olympic sport by the 2024 games. The selection process to represent Team USA in this tournament was long and arduous. The team held three separate try-out camps before locking down a roster, and three additional camps followed in order to solidify the team.

Buffalo was heavily represented throughout the organization. The 24-man roster included local residents, Andrew Pruitt, Denny Schlegel, Matt Esposito, and Jesse Hacket. Team USA President Chris Banks, Assistant Coach Eric Sholtz, and Equipment Manager Rober Chassin also made the trip to Switzerland, and also proudly call Buffalo home.

Mark one for Team USA!   Photo from zug2015.com

Mark one for Team USA! Photo from zug2015.com

Pool play began on June 19th, with Team USA seeing their first action the following day. In a surprising upset, the team took down defending champs Slovakia in a close game that will not soon be forgotten. Schlegel, who led the tournament in scoring and was named Best Forward, had a hand in each of the goals, scoring two and assisting on two. Team USA swept their group, defeating Pakistan, Portugal, and Finland. The team emerged from the semi-finals after a 6-1 drubbing of Greece, in which Schlegel nabbed another goal and assist, and headed to the tournament championship to face down Slovakia once again. The final match, held on June 28th was a tense affair; while Slovakia scored a quick goal to start the game, Team USA retorted with a goal two seconds later, and ended the first period up 3-1. Unfortunately, Slovakia crept back and scored in each of the next two frames. Slovakia would cap off the scoring with an overtime goal, securing Gold for their second-straight championship.

Overall, it was a strong showing for Team USA. The women’s team was favorited going into their bronze medal match

It was a hard-fought tournament, and we're proud of Team USA.   Photo from zug2015.com

It was a hard-fought tournament, and we’re proud of Team USA. Photo from zug2015.com

against Slovakia, but couldn’t hold on to medal and finished fourth overall. The men’s team held a slight edge against Slovakia, having already defeated them in the tournament, but let the gold slip from their grasp. As Buffalo hockey develops into the steamrolling, cup-wielding monster Tim Murray has been envisioning, all eyes will certainly be on the First Niagara Center. As if this wasn’t enough to quench the hockey thirst of Western New York, 2015 is the inaugural season for the Buffalo Beauts women’s professional hockey team. The perfectly perched cherry atop this delicious sundae are the seven men who proudly represented our city and our country in a brave climb to the top of the street hockey world. The 2017 World Championships will be held in the Czech Republic, but surely, the ball will roll through Buffalo once again. We offer our congratulations to Team USA and to the men who brought home silver. We’ll see you on the court!

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3 Comments on “Buffalo Boys Represent Team USA!”

  1. erikwollschlager July 7, 2015 at 10:01 am #

    Reblogged this on ewollschlager and commented:

    Buffalonian leads Team USA to a silver medal!

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. 20 Q’s with Grapes; Oilers blueline backlog; NHL 16 now with mascots (Puck Headlines) - July 7, 2015

    […] • Recapping Team USA’s showing at the Street Hockey World Championship. [What’s Going On In Buffalo] […]

  2. 20 Q’s with Grapes; Oilers blueline backlog; NHL 16 now with mascots (Puck … | Hockey Insider | NHL News, Drafts, Picks, Schedules & NHL Betting Online - July 7, 2015

    […] • Recapping Team USA’s showing at the Street Hockey World Championship. [What's Going On In Buffalo] […]

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