The Park City Ice Miners top hockey team, the U16 Tier II team, will travel to Washington, D.C., April 1 to represent Utah in the USA Hockey national championships April 2-6. The team earned the right to compete at nationals by defeating three other Utah Tier II teams at a tournament in February.
According to team manager Lisa D'Urso, this is the first year that the Park City Ice Miners program has fielded a U16 (ages 15-16) Tier II team. She said that the "Tier" designation indicates the skill level of the players, with Tier I being the top level. She said the Ice Miners won the Tier II state title by defeating the Utah Junior Grizzlies, the Davis County Golden Eagles and the Northwest Regulators in the February tournament.
D'Urso said that the national championships are divided into categories based on the number of players enrolled in USA Hockey in each state. Because hockey enrollment in Utah is relatively small, the Ice Miners will compete against five other U16 Tier II teams from states with smaller hockey programs: Delaware, South Dakota, Kentucky, Oklahoma and Alabama.
D'Urso said the Park City Ice Miners also have teams in five other age groups.
"The program is actually really great and growing," she said. "We have a wonderful director, Aaron Dufford. He runs the entire hockey program and he is really concentrating on development and getting a lot of kids in at a young age, and then we are working on building the program."