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Moorhead junior sled hockey team wins Youth A national title

MOORHEAD-The Hurricanes wanted to see what they could do. The junior sled hockey team from Moorhead was missing one of its best players, had a goalie that was pretty new to the position and only one sub for the USA Disabled Hockey Festival in Wes...

HOPE Inc. Hurricanes' Tyler Shepersky plays the puck in the USA Disabled Hockey Festival in West Dundee, Ill., last weekend. Submitted photo
HOPE Inc. Hurricanes' Tyler Shepersky plays the puck in the USA Disabled Hockey Festival in West Dundee, Ill., last weekend. Submitted photo
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MOORHEAD-The Hurricanes wanted to see what they could do. The junior sled hockey team from Moorhead was missing one of its best players, had a goalie that was pretty new to the position and only one sub for the USA Disabled Hockey Festival in West Dundee, Ill., last weekend.

Teams are placed in divisions based off of a request from the team itself and past experience. The Hurricanes requested the Youth A division, the highest level.

"Last year, we had taken the B division championship out there, so we just wanted to have an opportunity to play at a high level and compete," Hurricane coach Bill Grommesh said.

The Hurricanes did a little bit more than just compete. They went 4-0 and won the whole thing, beating three teams that begin practicing in August, as opposed to November like they do.

"They're coming from a smaller town in Minnesota, not a Chicago or New York or a metropolitan area with lots of people," USA chair for disabled hockey JJ O'Connor said. "We have teams from all over, from Alaska to San Diego to Florida. For them to come from a small town in Minnesota it's quite remarkable, certainly wasn't expected."

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The Hurricanes beat a team from Grand Rapids, Mich., 2-0, a team from Baltimore 8-3, a team from Washington, D.C., 4-3 and a team from Philadelphia 2-1 in the championship. The teams from Grand Rapids and Baltimore combined for the last five championships in the A division.

"We don't have a large body of work to go off of for the Hurricanes, so that's why they were an underdog or Cinderella story," O'Conner said. "We took an educated guess that they were an A team. Nobody thinks that a team from Moorhead, Minnesota, is going to come down and run the table in the junior A division. Typically, that division are our best junior players, and that's where we get our development team players and inevitably our national team players. I was surprised to be honest. We're not going to be taking them lightly anymore."

That goalie that was new to the position was Lynsey Warne of Moorhead, who made 38 saves on 45 shots. Grant Boser of West Fargo tied for first among all players with 11 points in the tournament on six goals and five assists. Tyler Shepersky of Menahga, Minn., was fourth in the tournament with eight points.

O'Connor wasn't the only one surprised with the performance of the Hurricanes.

"Yeah, I was surprised," Grommesh said. "It was an honor coaching them. It was an honor to be around them. Folks know their name now."

HOPE Inc. Hurricanes' Tyler Shepersky plays the puck in the USA Disabled Hockey Festival in West Dundee, Ill., last weekend. Submitted photo
HOPE Inc. Hurricanes coach Bill Grommesh gives instructions to his team at the USA Disabled Hockey Festival in West Dundee, Ill., last weekend. Submitted photo

Related Topics: WEST FARGOMOORHEAD
Murphy has covered sports in Chicago, Minnesota and North Dakota since 2009, working for The Forum since 2012. Contact: cmurphy@forumcomm.com or 701-241-5548
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