Black Hawks Will Meet Top Junior Teams in Omsk
Waterloo, Iowa-The Waterloo Black Hawks will represent the United States later this summer during the 2012 Junior Club World Cup in Omsk, Russia, the team announced Monday.
The international event, slated for August 18th to 26th in the south central Russian city, will feature leading junior hockey teams from ten European and North American nations. In its second year, the tournament is sanctioned by the International Ice Hockey Federation.
"This is an opportunity to give our players a once-in-a-lifetime experience," said Waterloo Black Hawks head coach P.K. O'Handley. "We look forward to using these games and this trip to not only make a better hockey team for the 2012-2013 season, but to also help advance the development of our players as young men."
O'Handley has a variety of international coaching experience. In this sphere, he was most notably chosen as an assistant coach for the 2009 IIHF World Junior Championships in Ottawa. As head coach of U.S. Junior Select Teams composed largely of USHL players, O'Handley struck gold at the World Junior A Challenge in 2010 after shepherding the U.S. to a third-place, bronze medal finish in 2007 at the event. He also directed medal-winning efforts at the 2003 and 2005 Viking Cup tournaments. O'Handley's first opportunity to direct a team sporting red, white, and blue came in 1997 with a golden result at the Four Nations Tournament in Germany.
Several Waterloo Black Hawks players have already appeared on international ice. In August of 2011, forward Vince Hinostroza and goaltender Cal Petersen were members of the U.S. Under-18 Select Team, which appeared at the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament in Slovakia. Hinostroza was back in U.S. colors a few months later, along with defenseman Ian McCoshen, for the World Junior A Challenge in Langley, British Columbia. However, this will be the first opportunity for the Black Hawks to appear together as an entire junior team in an international environment.
"JCWC 2011 was a great success and we are determined to make JCWC 2012 even better," said tournament organizer Dmitri Efimov, Commissioner of the Russian Junior Hockey League. "We want it to be not only great hockey for the Waterloo Black Hawks and the United States Hockey League, but also fun and unforgettable cultural experience."
The Black Hawks will appear in round-robin pool play against junior clubs from Russia, Belarus, Czech Republic, and Norway. Additional teams from Canada, Denmark, Finland, Latvia, and Sweden will also participate in the event. The top two teams from each pool will advance to the tournament semifinals.