Power play: Two UM-Dearborn hockey players take skills to Kazakhstan for Winter World University Games

January 23, 2017

Two University of Michigan-Dearborn hockey players will have an experience of a lifetime as they travel to Almaty, Kazakhstan, later this month.

Defenseman Ryan Urso and forward Tyler Groat have been selected to represent the United States in the Winter World University games from Jan. 28 to Feb. 8 in Kazakhstan. The two are first-year members of the U.S. Men’s National University Team.

Groat and Urso may be newcomers to the international scene, but they say they already have their eyes on the prize.

“Every hockey player grows up wanting to put on the ‘USA’ sweater,” said Groat, a criminal justice studies student from Wyandotte, Mich. “Representing the United States in a tournament like this is a dream come true. And leaving Kazakhstan with a medal would top off the whole experience.”

Urso agrees.

“This opportunity is already an amazing, once-in-a-lifetime thing,” said Urso, a finance student from Livonia, Mich. “And winning a medal would make it even better.”

The two will join 20 other players from across the nation—all of whom compete in the American Collegiate Hockey Association—to take on Canada, Slovakia and Great Britain in pool play. They say their careers at UM-Dearborn have prepared them for the games, and they’re ready to play on the international level.

“I can't thank my teammates and coaches enough for helping me achieve this honor,” Groat said. “Without them, I wouldn’t have this opportunity.”

Team USA will face Canada on Jan. 30 at 2:30 a.m. Eastern Time for its first game of the tournament.

For more information about the games, visit U.S.A. Hockey's website.