Photo: Courtesy of USA Deaf Sports Federation
By Kevin Scott
EVANSTON, IL., December 9, 2019 — The American Hearing Impaired Hockey Association (AHIHA) announced back on July 8, 2019 their 23-man roster that will represent the United States at the 19th Winter Deaflympics taking place December 12-21, 2019, in Valtellina Valchiavenna, Italy and hosted under the purview of the International Committee of Sports for the Deaf.
Henry Fusco, a forward for the Great Falls Americans North American 3 Hockey League (NA3HL) squad, was one of 13 forwards selected to play for Team USA. The White Bear Lake, Minnesota native is one of two active NA3HL players on the team. Wausau RiverWolves defenseman Tyler Balcerak is also on the team.
Click here to view the entire team roster and staff.
“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.”
“We are happy that Henry gets this opportunity to play in Italy,” said Great Falls Americans Head Coach and General Manager, Greg Sears. “Henry is a hard worker and a great kid. Representing our country (USA) is a very big deal and we wish him luck!”
There are 16 of the 23 players on this year’s roster from previous international competitions returning to play including the United States teams that won a bronze medal at the 2015 Deaflympics that took place in Khanty-Mansiyak, Russia, and a gold medal at the 2017 World Championships in Amherst, New York. The 23-man roster ranges in age from 16 to 34 years of age with 14 states represented including California, Illinois, North Carolina, New York, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Ohio, Iowa, Indiana, Vermont, Virginia, Massachusetts and Missouri.
The Deaflympics ice hockey schedule can be found by clicking here.
The squad operates under the guidelines of USA Hockey and the USA Deaf Sports Federation. To qualify for the Deaflympics, athletes must have a hearing loss of 55 db in their “better ear.” During competition, hearing aids, cochlear implants and the like are not allowed to ensure all athletes play at the same level.
Private donations help fund the team as well as support from the USA Hockey Foundation. Donations can be made by logging on to the AHIHA website to help with team expenses or by mailing to the organization at the following address:
American Hearing Impaired Hockey Association
9345 Harding Avenue
Evanston, Illinois 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 www.ahiha.org.
For information about the 2019 Winter Deaflympics:
For information on the USA Deaf Sports Federation:
What: 19th Winter Deaflympics
When: Thursday, December 12 through Saturday, December 21, 2019
Where: Sports Centre Valchiavenna, Valtellina Valchiavenna, Italy
Story Courtesy: American Hearing Impaired Hockey Association (AHIHA): USA National Deaf Ice Hockey Announces Team for 2019 Winter Deaflympics (July 8, 2019)