ASHI’s USA Senior Mens Team made the first step toward building their team for the upcoming 11th World Senior Championships in ZUG, Switzerland in June 2015. Over the weekend of November 15th & 16th ASHI held their first ever Senior Men’s Team Player Evaluation Camp in Mechanicsburg, PA. 50 of the top ball hockey players in the US attended with hoping of making the team and representing our country in Switzerland.
The 2013 World Championships in St. John’s, Canada, was a learning experience for the Men’s program. General Manager George Tarantino and Head Coach Cory Herschk are focusing on selecting the best 25 players to compete with the talent of powerhouse teams from Slovakia, Czech Republic, and Canada.
The evaluation camp structure was made up of a series of games with time slotted at the end of each game so that each player had penalty kill and power play time. The first game began Saturday morning at 10:30AM and finished up at 8:00PM. The 45 players were split up into 4 teams who played a variation of timed games with 6 minutes of special teamwork after each game. The focus on Sunday was to simulate an actual game with now 3 teams of 15 guys. The competition was exciting, with each team determined to win the game.
Some players, such as Team USA U20 player Kenny Patrone, were prepared for the rigorous format. “I had an advantage to the weekend because for the U20 team we had the same set up for our tryouts, but playing at this level was exhausting, stated Patrone”.
U20 Head Coach and 2013 Men’s Team forward Steve Gregory was also ready for the demanding structure of the camp. “Going into the weekend, I felt like I had a good idea of what to expect given I recently went through this on the other side of the coin with the Junior Program. When the weekend finally got started, I realized that wasn’t completely true; that the staff made it its own. Leading up to the camp, I knew the hard work and dedication it would require to be in the best shape possible for when the camp finally did arrived. I truly believe those that prepared themselves accordingly shined and made a name for themselves in a very highly competitive weekend of hockey.”
John Petito, who played on the 2013 Men’s Team, had this to say about the format of the camp. “As far as the format goes, Saturday was tough on a lot of guys because it basically simulated an entire tournament in one day. Everyone went out and did their jobs, played hard, left it all out there.”
The players in attendance at camp were from 8 different states: Alabama, California, Georgia, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania. It was exciting to see such a wide variety of players on the same rink at one time. The coaching staff has its hands full in trying to trim the roster down to 25 players.