Cincinnati native Carl Weedman represented the United States with the Team USA Junior Men’s Inline Hockey Team in the 2012 Fédération Internationale de Roller Sports (FIRS) World Championships in Bucaramanga, Colombia from June 30 to July 14. He and Pittsburgh native Kyle DeVault helped the United States win the bronze medal in the event. This is Carl’s story in his own words.
This was my third year playing on the Junior Men’s USATeam and my fourth year going overseas to represent the USA. (Hong Kong, Düsseldorf, Roccarraso, Bucaramanga). I was one of the oldest members on the team, which was a very cool experience for me because when I first represented the US Jr. Team in Germany, I was one of the youngest. I wanted to use my experience to help bring the team together for the best results possible. Additionally, this year our team manager from previous years had to step in and coach when our normal coach became unavailable.
This year both my team as well as the women’s team arrived a day early in Miami in order to get a practice in and to get the teams familiar with each other. I believe this was a great thing because it allowed us to start bonding before we even took off for Colombia. Additionally, it was the first time that most of our team had played together. Unlike most teams in the tournament, including the Czech Republic, the US teams do not have training camps nor do we play together all year round.
The next day we flew to Colombia, and, as always with this situation, it was very humorous to see roughly 30 hockey players from both our teams navigate the different airports with all the baggage and surprised onlookers. We were met at the airport with a live band and officials from the tournament and taken to our hotel. It was very nice and also very safe because we had a police escort with us everywhere we went. We had a few days before the tournament started to sight-see and to get acclimated to our new surroundings.
After the rest for the first two days, we had our opening game against Mexico. It was a good game to start and I was able to get warmed up to game speed. Although it was an easy game overall, it allowed the team to get used to the rink and the style of play needed at the international level. The next day we played Australia and again had great success on the scoreboard. Our next game was against France. France is a very good team, who has been getting better year after year. Unfortunately, we were unable to adjust to the much higher speed and skill level of the French team compared to our previous opponents, and we lost for the first time in round robin games because of my time playing. This was definitely a wake-up call for our team. The wake-up call was very successful for the next day we drew Switzerland in the quarter-finals and we beat them by a large margin. Both Donny Marchetti and I combined for a shutout in the game which helped shake the loss we had the night before.
Then came the Semi-final, due to our loss against the French in the round robin we drew the Czech Republic, the five time gold medal winners and to whom the previous two years we lost in the finals. Unfortunately, we lost the game and were unable to reach the finals. I was very disappointed for this was my last year playing Juniors, but it ended up being bittersweet because we were able to face the French again in the Bronze medal game.
During our tournament, the Women’s team was playing well and was able to make it back to the final against their rivals, Team Canada, for a rematch of last year’s final.
We spent all day focusing for our re-match with the French. I got the start for the game and we were much more focused than we were previously. The large stadium was at full capacity and as loud as could be. We came out hard for the game and got in trouble early with many penalties on some questionable calls. We went down 4-1 with about 7 minutes left in the first and were continuing to get some very questionable calls including one that led to our coach getting ejected. Our manager, who was just a volunteer, took over. We were then able to seize the stop in the game to regroup and we scored the next three goals to tie it up by the end of the period. It was a great game and we ended going up 6-4, then allowing them to tie it up and take us to over time and even a second overtime where we were able to win on a goal by Jordan Nixdorf. The victory felt great. It was a good feeling to be able to play in my final game. Being a part of the win was a great end to the tournament and my career playing for Junior Men’s Team USA.
This tournament was a great experience and a trip that I will remember for a long time.