AMHERST, N.Y. – Dartmouth men's hockey associate head coach David Lassonde helped the United States to Gold at the 2017 World Deaf Ice Hockey Championship on Saturday.
The U.S. finished round robin play with a 3-1 record and would claim the gold medal thanks to a 6-3 victory over previously unbeaten Canada. The Canadians had defeated the Americans, 5-2, prior to the medal round, handing the hosts their only loss of the tournament.
In addition to convincing victories over the Czech Republic and Kazakhstan, the United States also defeated Finland, 6-2, to advance to the Gold Medal Game and the rematch against its northern neighbors.
This marked the first time the Americans had won gold at the World Deaf Ice Hockey Championship. The team claimed bronze in Winnipeg in 2009 and did not medal at the 2013 event held in Helsinki.
Lassonde's 25-year connection to the American Hearing Impaired Hockey Association (AHIHA) stems from his time as an assistant coach at Wisconsin under former Badger coach, Jeff Sauer. Sauer — the long time President of AHIHA and Head Coach of the US National Deaf Team — passed away suddenly earlier this year.
The team was joined on the ice for the postgame celebration by Sauer's wife and daughter.
Established in 1973, by Chicago businessman Irv Tiahnybik, in cooperation with NHL Hall of Fame and former Chicago Blackhawks star Stan Mikita, AHIHA has contributed to the growth and development of deaf and hard of hearing players from all across the country. The 2017 U.S. National Deaf Ice Hockey team, with players from 13 different states, was chosen after an AHIHA tryout this past summer in Buffalo.