Marquette Rangers defenseman Kevin Gravel has been added to the U.S. National Under-17 Team that will compete at the 2009 Vlad Dzurilla Under-18 Tournament in Piestany, Slovakia.
Gravel, from Kingsford, Mich., has put up seven assists in 42 games in his first season of Junior A hockey. The 6-foot-4, 175-pounder has played against the U.S. National Under-17 Team six times this season in NAHL competition. He is also a plus-2.
“We’re very excited for Kevin and his family,” said Rangers head coach Kenny Miller. “For him to get a chance to join this team and showcase his talents at an international event is a great honor.”
Gravel also has his college plans in place, as he is committed to St. Cloud State University of the WCHA.
“Everyone within our organization wishes Kevin nothing but the best when he travels over to Slovakia next week,” Miller added.
The Vlad Dzurilla Tournament will take place Feb. 5-7. Along with the United States, the tournament includes under-18 squads from Germany, Slovakia and Switzerland.
For more details regarding the tournament, visit www.usahockey.com/usantdp.
BANDITS, BLUES ALUMNI RAISE $75,000: A total of $75,000 was raised recently by the St. Louis Bandits and the St. Louis Blues Alumni for The BackStoppers, Inc. at a “Guns ‘N’ Hoses” charity hockey game held at the Scottrade Center.
Several members and former players of the Blues, as well as local area police officers and firefighters, participated in the Jan. 4 event.
“We’re delighted to provide these funds to a wonderful organization such as The BackStoppers,” said Kelly Chase, Bandits co-owner and vice president of operations, who also serves as color commentator for Blues radio broadcasts. “All of us in our community benefit from the unflinching courage and tireless efforts of these public servants.”
In addition to donating funds to the BackStoppers, several other charities, including Friends of Kids with Cancer, Ranken Jordan, Children’s Hospital, Big Brothers & Big Sisters, His Kids, Ronald McDonald House, Crisis Nursery, Angel’s Arms, the Pujols Foundation, the Salvation Army, Joy Foundation, Make-A-Wish Foundation and Gateway Hockey, were given tickets to the game donated by contributors.
Started in 1959, The BackStoppers provides needed support and financial assistance to the spouses and children of all local and county police officers, firefighters, publicly-funded paramedics and EMTs and volunteer fire protection units who have lost their lives performing their duty.
Blues star Keith Tkachuk coached the firefighters, while former Blues player Barret Jackman coached a team of police officers in the friendly contest.