MORRISTOWN, NJ - A Morris County-based youth hockey team that traveled to Europe in December and beat elite teams from Finland and Sweden was honored recently by the Morris County freeholders.
The Team USA Bulldogs travel team, based in Randolph, took all five games it played during the trip overseas. The "invite only" team is composed of 9- and 10-year-old players from Denville, Harding, Jefferson, Morris Plains, Randolph, Roxbury and Stanhope. It is based out of the Aspen Ice training facility in Randolph.
“We are very proud of these young men who, at just ages nine and 10, traveled overseas and represented their towns, their county, and – most importantly -- themselves and their families in such a positive manner,’’ said Morris County Freeholder Director Doug Cabana. “On behalf of all Morris County residents, we are very proud of you.’’
The team includes Morristown’s Jordan Papadopoulos, 10, Roxbury’s Ryan Van Zile, 10, Randolph’s Shane Melly, 10, Roxbury’s Nick Colatrella, 10, Denville’s Jake McCloud, 10, Randolph’s Keegan Melly, 10, and Randolph’s Robert Magnotta, 10, Jefferson's Hunter Parrillo, 9, Stanhope's Ryan Puco, 9, Morris Plain's Andrew Nicolas 9.
“The freeholders congratulate you for the hard work and dedication that led to your success,’’ said Deputy Freeholder Director Christine Myers. “We also hope you had a lot of fun in traveling to Finland and Sweden and meeting people your age from another part of the world. Congratulations to you!
Head Coach Rob Magnotta and Assistant Coach and General Manager Kevin Melly, both of Randolph, received a county resolution of congratulations, while the 10 players who represented their team in the tournament received county certificates from the board.
In addition to playing hockey, the young Morris County ambassadors also had a full itinerary. They cruised from Helsinki to Stockholm; visited the Vasa Museum and the Alfred Nobel Prize Museum and toured the Royal Palace of the King and Queen of Sweden in Stockholm.
No surprise, they also attended a Swedish Hockey League game, featuring Djurgården Stockholm versus the IF Malmö Redhawks.