From Germany to New York to Minnesota, Alaskans made their mark this month on hockey rinks.
UAA hockey coach Matt Curley is coming back to Anchorage with a silver medal from the Five Nationals Tournament in Germany, Anchorage’s Clair DeGeorge helped propel a U.S. women’s team to victory in a three-game series with Canada in Lake Placid, and a youth team from the Anchorage Hockey Association captured a championship at the USA International Cup in Minneapolis.
Meanwhile, sisters Zoe and Tori Hickel of Anchorage will play for Team Americas at the inaugural Aurora Games that begin Tuesday in Albany, New York. After that, the pair will head to Sweden to play professional hockey.
Curley was the head coach of the U.S. Under-17 men’s select team that posted a 3-1 record in the Five Nations Tournament in Fussen, Germany.
Curley and the Americans ended the tournament on a high note by beating host Germany 7-3 on Saturday, one day after they suffered a 6-3 loss to the Czech Republic. The U.S. opened with wins over Slovakia (9-3) and Switzerland (5-2).
Team USA has won a medal at the tournament every year since 2007 — seven golds, four silvers and two bronzes. Last year’s team finished third.
"Overall, it was a great group to work with and I'm really proud and happy with the effort that we displayed representing the United States,” Curley said in a statement from USA Hockey. “I'm looking forward to following this group moving forward."
In Lake Placid, DeGeorge was a member of the Under-22 women’s select team that beat Canada two games to one in a three-game series. The Americans won the first two games, 4-3 in overtime Wednesday and 4-2 Thursday, and fell 2-1 in Saturday’s finale.
The series marked the fourth time DeGeorge, a junior at Bemidji State, has skated for Team USA. She was a member of the gold-medal-winning team at the 2017 Under-18 Women’s World Championships, and she played in the annual three-game series against Canada in 2016 for the Under-18 team and in 2018 for the Under-22 team.
DeGeorge, a 5-foot-10 forward, was scoreless in all three games at Herb Brooks Arena in Lake Placid.
At the USA International Cup in Minneapolis, the Alaska Quakes went undefeated in the under-12 girls division. A collection of players from the Anchorage North Stars summer league, the Quakes gave up two goals while winning all five of their games, three by shutout.
Quakes forward Ella Johnson earned MVP honors in the 10-team division.
Next week at the Aurora Games in New York, the Hickel sisters will play for Team Americas in the six-day, six-sport all-women’s sports competition.
Players from the United States and Canada make up the Team Americas hockey roster, which includes 2018 Olympic gold medalist Haley Skarupa.
Other sports being contested are basketball, tennis, figure skating, gymnastics and beach volleyball. A pair of Olympic greats will serve as honorary captains — track superstar Jackie Joyner-Kersee for Team Americas, and gymnastics legend Nadia Comaneci for Team World.