Colorado Springs' Josh Hargis is one of three Colorado Avalanche Sled Hockey teammates to be selected for the US National team. The others are Rico Roman and Ralph DeQuebec. Photo courtesy of USA Hockey
Three members of the Colorado Avalanche Sled Hockey Club will sport two different sweaters this season. In addition to the customary burgundy and blue jerseys typically worn by teammates Rico Roman, Josh Hargis and Ralph DeQuebec, the crew will also don ones colored red, white and blue.
The three were named to the U.S. National Sled Hockey Team this summer after a competitive selection process. The tryouts, held in Amherst, New York, on July 13-14, began with 79 skaters before the finals cuts whittled the group to a 17-man roster.
“It was a great feeling,” DeQuebec said. “Competition is so much better than it was six years ago, so tryouts were sink or swim. If you’re not putting in the work, you’re not going to make the team. I went in with no feeling that my spot was guaranteed.”
All three were also members of the national team that secured a gold medal at the Para Ice Hockey World Championships in Ostrava, Czech Republic, in May.
“There’s not a guy on this team that doesn’t love to compete. Traveling all over the country just to practice and get better shows you what they are willing to do.”
— Ralph DeQuebec
commenting on the
Team USA roster
Fellow veteran Rico Roman is one of six, two-time Paralympic gold medalists to make the national squad this season, and the Portland, Oregon, native has represented the USA in sled hockey in seven of the last eight years. He won a gold medal at the 2014 Paralympic Games in Sochi, Russia, and another playing with DeQuebec four years later in PyeongChang, South Korea.
“Rico deserves a lot of credit for how this team has gotten better in the sport,” Hoff said. "He is the ultimate guy when it comes to doing what is best for the team.”
Hailing from Colorado Springs, the 30-year-old Hargis scored two goals in 11 games with Team USA last season, when he got his first taste of what it’s like to play at the sport's highest level.
“[Hargis] came on the scene one year ago, and his versatility is what makes him so valuable," Hoff said. "He can be a top-six forward, getting him out there when we need to score, or he can play as a physical defenseman on the third line when we need a stop."
Hargis, Roman and DeQuebec join 12 other players on the roster with experience playing in the world championships last year, and they are striving to repeat the feat.
“There’s not a guy on this team that doesn’t love to compete,” DeQuebec said. “Traveling all over the country just to practice and get better shows you what they are willing to do.”
The US National Sled Hockey team begins its season this Thursday, Sept. 26 with a four-day training camp in Allentown, Pennsylvania. The squad's first competition is the World Sled Classic in Newfoundland, Canada, Nov. 28-Dec. 8. It will also compete at the 2020 International Paralympic Committee Pan-Pacific Championship in April at a host site to be determined.