On Friday afternoon, USA Hockey announced the cancellation of a major sled hockey event for the Nashville Sled Preds sled hockey team. The 11th Annual USA Hockey Sled Classic—presented by the NHL, scheduled for November 19-22 in San Diego, CA—has been cancelled due to COVID-19. USA Hockey plans to reschedule the event for the 2021-2022 season.
The Sled Classic is a competitive adult sled hockey tournament that brings together sled teams affiliated with NHL organizations to compete across five different competitive levels.
The Nashville Sled Preds have had success at the Sled Classic in recent years. The Classic was a coming-out party of sorts for the Tier II and Tier V Sled Preds team during the 2018-2019 season. The Sled Preds Tier II team defeated the host Chicago Blackhawks sled team, while the Tier V Sled Preds team finished an impressive second place to a strong Tampa Bay Lightning sled team in the February 2019 Classic.
That success in early 2019 prompted the Sled Preds to compete at higher tiers and bring additional teams to the 2019-2020 Sled Classic held in November in Maryland Heights, MO. While the Sled Preds teams didn’t finish as high as the previous Sled Classic, they gained respect and grew in skill by solidly competing in the higher tiered divisions. With a strong showing in the SESHL Championships held at Ford Ice Center in March 2020 and a Midwest Sled Hockey League championship win for the Tier I team that same weekend in Chicago, the stage was set for a strong Sled Preds showing at the now-cancelled Classic.
How the pandemic will affect the US National Sled Hockey team remains to be seen. USA Hockey hopes to be able to have national team tryouts and play a season, but decisions on how that might happen are being made day to day, according to Dan Brennan, Director of Sled National Teams.
Along with cancelling the Sled Classic, USA Hockey also announced on Friday the cancellation of two other disabled hockey events—the 5th Annual Warrior Classic scheduled for October 8-11 in Las Vegas, NV and the USA Hockey Special Hockey Classic that was planned for December 4-6 in Columbus, OH.