Hockey roundup: Michigan women at U18 worlds developed in-state: Wings' ECHL team eliminated
Nearly one-third of the players on the U.S. team competing in this week’s under-18 women’s world hockey championship are training outside their home states at development programs such as Shattuck-St. Mary’s or Selects Hockey Academy.
“There are certain areas of the country … where you’re not necessarily going to be close to an ice rink,” said Kristen Wright, general manager of the under-18 team.
Team USA defenseman Sydney Morrow is from Darien, Connecticut, but trains at Minnesota's Shattuck-St. Mary's, which has also helped produce NHL stars such as Sidney Crosby, Jonathan Toews and Zach Parise.
“It was a choice my family and I were willing to make in order to help me achieve my dreams,” said Morrow, who has signed to play at Ohio State.
Heading into Sunday's semifinal game against Sweden at the University of Wisconsin’s LaBahn Arena in Madison, Wisconsin, the U.S. roster also includes seven players from Minnesota and four from Michigan, all of whom are currently training in their home states with programs and rinks closer to home.
The four Michigan players who were developed in-state are: Plymouth's Kirsten Simms, South Lyon's Cassandra Hall and Franklin's Elyssa Biederman with Little Caesars and goalie Annelies Bergmann with the Oakland Grizzlies.
Simms (University of Wisconsin commit) also played for the Selects Hockey Academy and the Bishop Kearney Selects outside of Rochester, New York.
"It's (leaving a home state) the right fit for some kids," Wright said. "For other kids, it’s not the right fit because they have the hockey opportunities available for them right there, especially as a lot of our girls’ programs continue to grow.”
Wright also said top-level girls’ programs have opened over the last couple of years in California, Arizona, North Carolina, Tennessee and Florida and U.S. national team player Brianna Decker established a foundation to help fund the development of hockey programs around the country to provide girls more places to play.
“You really have to make sure they want it, that it’s their decision and not yours,” said Steve Morrow, Sydney's father. “If it’s something they really want to do, chances are they’ll go head first and, yes, there will be bumps in the road, but they’ll figure out a way to get it done.”
The season ended for the Detroit Red Wings' ECHL team on Saturday. The Toledo Walleye lost 4-2 against the Florida Everblades in Game 5 of the Kelly Cup final in front of a sellout crowd of 7,674 at Hertz Arena in Estero, Florida.
The Everblades won the series 4-1 with Troy native Cam Johnson stopping 20-of-22 shots for Florida. Johnson was named playoff MVP with a 15-3 record and four shutouts. Canton's Matt Berry scored a goal for Toledo on Saturday.
Cossa, Oil Kings come up short
Detroit Red Wings draft pick Sebastian Cossa and the Edmonton Oil Kings failed to advance to the Memorial Cup on Saturday.
Cossa, a 6-foot-6 goaltender who was selected in the first round of last year's NHL draft, made 31 saves but the Oil Kings lost 3-2 to the Seattle Thunderbirds in Game 5 of the Western Hockey League final at Rogers Place in Edmonton.
Game 6 is Monday in Edmonton.