Minnesota natives Henry Fusco and Ben Johnson will represent the United States at the 19th Winter Deaflympics on December 12-21, 2019 in Valtellina Valchiavenna, Italy. The 23-man roster was determined by the American Hearing Impaired Hockey Association (AHIHA), and the event is hosted by the International Committee of Sports for the Deaf.
“We're excited about our team and their pride in representing the United States at the Deaflympics,” said head coach Joe Gotfryd. “The team is prepared for the high level of competition that we will face in this tournament. We will be competing in Italy with one goal, winning a gold medal.”
Of the 23 players rostered, 16 are returnees from previous international competitions including Fusco, who was the youngest player at age 16 on the U.S. team that won a gold medal at the 2017 World Championships in Amherst, New York. A White Bear Lake native, Fusco has spent time on the high school’s junior varsity team, and last season, he helped the Jr. Gold A team to the Minnesota Hockey State Tournament last season.
After competing in three Winter Deaflympics as a player, Ben Johnson will join this year’s team behind the bench as an assistant coach. Johnson, who grew up in Duluth and played his high school hockey for Duluth East, led the U.S. team in scoring en route to a gold medal at the 2007 Winter Deaflympics. Johnson currently serves as the head coach at Ely High School and the Minnesota Wild Sled Hockey team.
The team operates under the guidelines of USA Hockey and the USA Deaf Sports Federation. To qualify, athletes must have a hearing loss of at least 55 dB in their "better ear." Hearing aids, cochlear implants and the like are not allowed during competition to ensure all athletes play on the same level.
|Curran Allison*||6 – 1||160||22||Goalie||Laguna Niguel, CA|
|Tyler Balcerak||5 – 10||200||18||Defense||Chicago, IL|
|Troy Benson*||6 – 3||196||29||Forward||Henderson, NC|
|Christian Buczek*||5 – 10||170||22||Defense||Hamburg, NY|
|Max Finley*||6 – 1||180||25||Forward||Peoria, IL|
|Henry Fusco*||5 – 9||140||18||Forward||White Bear Lake, MN|
|Miles Gates*||6 – 2||218||30||Defense||Erie, PA|
|Garrett Gintoli*||6 – 2||160||22||Forward||Shelton, CT|
|Peter Gintoli*||5 – 8||175||27||Forward||Shelton, CT|
|William “Bill” Holtzer||5 – 10||160||16||Forward||Akron, OH|
|Sam Holzrichter*||5 – 10||150||22||Forward||Sioux City, IA|
|Scott Humes*||6 – 3||215||23||Forward||Columbus, OH|
|Grant Isenbarger*||6 – 2||180||25||Forward||Ft. Wayne, IN|
|Ryne Krueger*||6 – 2||165||21||Defense||Barrington, IL|
|Danny Kurchena*||6 – 2||195||22||Forward||Rutland, VT|
|Anders Lindgren||5 – 11||170||20||Forward||Saint Anne, IL|
|Jeff Mansfield*||6 – 1||190||34||Goalie||Arlington, MA|
|Trevor McHugh||6 – 2||150||18||Goalie||Montclair, VA|
|T.J. Oricchio*||5 – 11||160||22||Defense||Plattsburgh, NY|
|Luke Peinado||5 – 9||155||16||Defense||Winnetka, IL|
|Jake Schlereth||5 – 9||175||18||Forward||Fenton, MO|
|Max Stephens||5 – 10||155||17||Defense||Medford, MA|
|Derek Struwing*||5 – 9||165||21||Forward||Bartlett, IL|
*Previous international team experience
About the American Hearing Impaired Hockey Association (AHIHA):
AHIHA, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation, is one of the leading sports organizations in the U.S. serving deaf and hard of hearing athletes. Founded in 1973 by National Hockey League Hall of Fame member Stan Mikita and businessman Irv Tiahnybik, AHIHA supports deaf and hard of hearing athletes to develop confidence and self-esteem while building life skills through the game of hockey. To learn more about AHIHA, please visit www.ahiha.org.
For information about the 2019 Winter Deaflympics
For information on the USA Deaf Sports Federation: