Alexandria’s Runestone Community Center took on an Olympic feel on Wednesday evening, as the U.S. Women’s National Team to play an exhibition game against the Blizzard.
“This was a great opportunity for the city of Alexandria, the Blizzard organization and our players,” said Blizzard head coach Doc Delcastillo. “We were honored to compete against them, and we hope the game will help them prepare to go win a gold medal for our country.”
The U.S. Women’s Team is centralized at the Schwan Super Rink - the Blaine, Minn., facility that also serves as home of the NAHL Showcase Tournament - in preparation for the 2010 Winter Olympics, which will be held in Vancouver.
Six of the women’s players have Olympic experience and 21 have competed in an IIHF World Women's Championship, including 20 who have captured a gold medal either this year or last.
In addition, 13 members of Team USA played NCAA Division I women's ice hockey during the 2008-09 season, while the remaining 10 were on the 2008-09 U.S. Women's Select Team.
“Our community and organization wish them the best of luck in their next four months of preparation and all the best in Vancouver,” Delcastillo added. “Our community would like to thank Team USA for reaching out to the young people of Alexandria.”
The Blizzard won the game, 6-0, with Jordan Gidaro netting two of Alexandria’s goals. Tyler Swanson, Brett Wall, Alex Altenbernd and Monte French scored the other Blizzard markers.
Goaltenders Robert Tadazak and Chris Kamal split the minutes between the pipes.
The energy and enthusiasm of those in attendance also brought together a strong sense of national pride.
“To realize that (the Blizzard was) able to challenge these girls and help in their training, and to know that we were able to watch these girls play right here in Alexandria - to meet them face to face, shake their hands and get their autographs - it was just truly a meaningful experience for us all,” said Blizzard supporter Jodi Berning.