Anyone who knows Blaine girls’ hockey coach Steve Guider knows his deep passion for the Olympics and especially Team USA.
So when the opportunity to serve on Team USA head coach Jeff Kampersal’s staff at the under-18 world championships, he didn’t need a second to make his decision.
“I’m a massive USA and Olympics fan and everybody jokes about it,” he said. One step into his basement clad with Olympic Wheaties boxes, an opening ceremonies torch and lots of autographed photos and other memorabilia.
“To be part of something that big is a chance that many people never get,” Guider said.
He’s worked with USA Hockey for the last 12 years at various levels. Two years ago he was asked to represent Team USA at a world elite goalie camp in eastern Europe.
“I’ve done some traveling around with the program and you feel very proud to wear something USA on your chest,” Guider said. “It’s not Blaine versus Coon Rapids, but you’re representing your country.”
Guider served as an assistant coach for Team USA’s under-18 world championship team which brought back a silver medal from the IIHF’s Women’s Under-18 World Championships in Heinola and Vierumaki, Finland, Dec. 29-Jan. 5.
“It was perhaps the greatest experience I’ve had,” he said. “Working with that caliber of athlete was impressive and the whole staff from the doctors, strength and conditioning to the equipment managers and other coaches, we all had so much fun with it.”
Guider was chosen to coach the two goalies, Sidney Peters and Alexis Shaw, and prepare the rest of the team for the opposition netminders.
Peters and Shaw had an impressive tournament, combining to post four straight shutouts before losing the gold medal match to rival Canada in overtime 2-1.
The U.S. rolled through the first three pool-play rounds and did the same in a 10-0 rout of the Czech Republic in the semifinal, the same result of the meeting in the pool-play round. The U.S. opened with a 7-0 win over Russia before the win over the Czechs, then an 8-0 win over Sweden in the pool-play finale.
Peters made 40 saves in 180 minutes, 58 seconds, while Shaw didn’t give up a goal on 23 shots in 120 minutes of action in net.
Guider was joined by several Minnesotans on the squad, including Brooklyn Park native Katherine Schipper, who was selected as the Best Forward by the Directorate after tallying 13 points (eight assists) and a +9 player rating; Blake’s Danielle Cameranesi; Eagan’s Megan Wolfe; Minnetonka’s Makenzie Rodgers and Sidney Baldwin; Benilde-St. Margaret’s Alexandria Laing; Shakopee’s Amy Menke and Shattuck-St. Mary’s Baylee Wellhaugen and Maddie Rolfes.
When Guider rejoined the Bengals, his message was simple. “The [Team USA] kids are incredible kids and they would fit in well with our locker room,” he said. “They happen to be better hockey players. That’s the only comparison we make.”