Representing your country in a sport is something special for every athlete. Pulling on the jersey of the United States of America holds much more significance than just playing a game.
For the Pittsburgh Penguins, they have had several representatives’ that have played for their country in tournaments around the world. Pittsburgh has also seen young players from the area perform on US National Development teams.
But there are other hockey players from Pittsburgh who have the honor of playing for their country. Members from The Mighty Penguins, Pittsburgh’s only Sled Hockey Program, were recently invited to partake in an invitation only National Camp courtesy of USA Hockey’s Sled Hockey Program.
Dan McCoy, Nevin Gray, Josh Wirt, Kelsey DiClaudio, and Mike Kempka all had the honor of being invited to participate in the USA Sled hockey National & Developmental camps last month in Rochester New York.
Dan McCoy was invited to the National Team while Nevin Gray and Josh Wirt were also invited to the Developmental team.
Nevin Gray believed that the camp is valuable in many different ways, "Being at the camp has benefited me because it has made me used to going out and being independent, more mature, as well as meeting new people. It doesn’t just help me become a better hockey player, but a better person too."
Gray credits most of his success to The Mighty Penguins, who have given him a platform to the play the sport he loves.
"The Mighty Penguins organization has helped me to pursuit my dream to play hockey. We all share the same love for one sport and no matter what your ability or disability might be there is a place in hockey for you." said Gray.
Dan McCoy, who has been a part of the US National team for the past few years, enjoys every part of the experience.
"The camp is a great week of hockey and fun. The days are jam packed full of on-ice as well as off-ice activity. USA Hockey does a fantastic job of incorporating stand up hockey skills and strategy into developing sled hockey players." said McCoy.
McCoy reiterated Gray’s comments about how much the Mighty Penguins have helped him, "Without the Mighty Penguins, I wouldn't be where I am today. I have met lifelong friends through this organization and have had the best experience traveling across the country over the years with these guys."
A full 2011-12 schedule for both the U.S. National Sled Hockey Team and the U.S. National Developmental Sled Hockey Team will be announced later this summer.