Men’s hockey: Kraemer wins gold in inline championships

Men’s hockey: Kraemer wins gold in inline championships
Former Husky hockey forward Kyle Kraemer took home gold with the US Inline hockey team in Sweden last week (Staff File Photo/ Laura Pond)

By Jared Shafran, News Staff

After leading the men’s hockey team with 17 goals in his senior year, forward Kyle Kraemer helped the United States Inline Hockey team to a World Championship in Karlstad, Sweden.

Kraemer netted a pair of goals in the gold-medal game, in which the US beat the Czech Republic team 4-3 on July 4.

“It was the time of my life,” Kraemer said. “Just the fact that I got picked to go over there was an honor for me.”

Inline hockey, also known as roller hockey, is similar to ice hockey except for a few details: Played on solid surfaces like tile or sealed concrete, inline hockey is played four-on-four rather than it’s icey counterpart, and there is generally less contact, making skating and agility more important.

“You’re on wheels, you’re not gliding [on ice],” Kraemer said. “When you stop it’s different, and you could break your ankle if you don’t know how to stop quickly. The most important thing is your stride. In ice hockey you’re pushing out, and in roller hockey you’re pushing back.”

While at home in St. Louis in May, Kraemer received a phone call from a former coach encouraging him to tryout for the US team. He was flown to camp and the rest was history.

“They paid for me to fly out there so I was like, ‘Yeah, I’ll go and try out, it couldn’t hurt me,’” Kraemer said. “I had a really good first couple days there.”

Kraemer said that although he didn’t know most of his team members before tryouts, they bonded quickly and formed great relationships.

“Our team just kind of came together quickly,” he said. “The coach couldn’t believe how well we clicked. He was planning on shortening the bench in the tournament when it came to crunch time, but he didn’t have to because we were playing so well.”

By the tournament’s end, Kraemer scored 11 goals, which led the team. He also tied for the team lead in points, with 14. The American team went undefeated, winning all six of its games.

This was Kraemer’s first trip to Europe. He said he enjoyed spending time in Karlstad, a town known for its beaches.

“It was really neat to experience another country rather than the United States,” Kraemer said. “It was really beautiful scenery.”

Kraemer said he isn’t done with his career on ice. He is still looking at his options to play this winter both here in the states for the East Coast Hockey League or overseas in Germany.

As for next year’s inline tournament, Kraemer said he hopes to pick up right where he left off.

“My plans are to come back and try and get back over there,” Kraemer said. “Next year it’s in the Czech Republic, so I’m looking forward to going over there if I make the team again.”

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