USHL makes charity stop in Duluth for Clyde Iron Cup
The United States Hockey League promotes itself as "The smartest, fastest, toughest, most competitive hockey you've ever seen, played by the best young athletes you'll ever know."...
The United States Hockey League promotes itself as "The smartest, fastest, toughest, most competitive hockey you've ever seen, played by the best young athletes you'll ever know."
There's no disputing that many of the best NCAA players honed their game in the league. Of those playing in the USHL in 2011-12, more than 250 have received Division I scholarships, according to the league website.
Fans in the Northland will get a chance to sample the league up close as four teams, including 2012 regular-season and playoff champion Green Bay, meet in four games at the Duluth Heritage Sports Center.
Scheduled today in the Clyde Iron Cup: Tri-City of Kearney, Neb., against Lincoln (Neb.) at 3 p.m. and Sioux City (Iowa) versus Green Bay at 8 p.m.
On Saturday, the third-place game is
11 a.m. and championship game at 2 p.m. Proceeds go to the Northern Lights Foundation. Last year, Sioux City and Green Bay were the only Clyde Iron entrants.
"You can tell people that the USHL has great hockey, but you really won't be convinced until you have a chance to go to a game," said Duluth native Brett Larson, a former Minnesota Duluth assistant beginning his second season as Sioux City's head coach. "Just look at UMD's freshman recruiting class, seven of the eight are from the USHL."
Local connections in the Clyde Iron Cup include:
Larson's assistant, Mark Abalan, is also from Duluth, and Sioux City players Jared Kolquist and Jared Thomas are both from Hermantown (Thomas is a 2013-14 UMD recruit). Rookie defenseman Blake Heinrich, a 2014-15 UMD recruit, is also with the Musketeers.
Duluth East graduate Trevor Olson plays for Green Bay.
Among UMD's freshmen for 2012-13, those from the USHL are forwards Tony Cameranesi (Waterloo), Cal Decowski (Des Moines), Austin Farley (Fargo) and Austyn Young (Sioux Falls; defensemen Willie Corrin (Fargo) and Andy Welinski (Green Bay); and goalie Matt McNeely (Cedar Rapids), who previously played with the U.S. National Team Development Program.
Welinski, from Duluth, was named the 2012 USHL defenseman of the year. Green Bay and coach Derek Lalonde, a former Denver assistant, went 47-9-4 last season for a league regular-season record 98 points and then claimed a third straight playoff Clark Cup.
-- A game between the Duluth firefighters and police is 6 p.m. today at the Heritage Sports Center. Honorary coaches are former UMD All-American center Huffer Christiansen with the firefighters and UMD head coach Scott Sandelin with the police.
-- Proceeds from the weekend benefit the Northern Lights Foundation which assists children in the Northland with life-threatening illnesses.
-- Tickets are $10 per day for adults and $5 per day for those 14 and younger.