Westmoreland County trio to play in elite youth hockey tournament
Murrysville youth hockey standouts Anthony and Alex Sargo couldn’t help but drift off and daydream while watching the first round of the 2019 NHL Draft a few weeks ago about hearing their names called some day. The twin brothers are on the same path many professional hockey players have travelled.
The 9-year-old brothers and Latrobe’s Colton Goodlin, 10, are dreaming in color as members of 2009 Team Pennsylvania, which will compete at the Brick Super Novice Hockey Tournament in Edmonton, Alberta.
“I’m excited to make new friends, trade jerseys with other people and compete against very good kids,” said Anthony Sargo, who is one minute older than his brother Alex. “We’re super excited and realize that it’s an experience of a lifetime, and we have an opportunity to compete against the best kids in North America.”
Established in 1990, the Brick Super Novice Hockey Tournament is the premier youth hockey tournament in North America. Some of the tourney’s notable alumni include NHL players Ben Lovejoy, Tyler Sequin, Conor Sheary and P.K. Subban.
“Its humbling,” Team Pennsylvania coach Trevor Edwards said of the competition. “The best way to describe the play there is how hard they back check and forecheck.
“The kids got to play as a team. For us, we played a little bit harder schedule this spring season, played two tournaments and some of the harder Brick teams to be ready for that challenge.”
Seven U.S. teams and seven from Canada will converge on the West Edmonton Mall to compete in a tournament-style bracket beginning Monday. Team Pennsylvania hopes to be the first U.S. team to win the competition since Detroit in 2002.
“This is to expose the players to the highest levels and to motivate them and play against the best players in the world at their ages,” said Edwards, who also coaches the Pens Elite U10 boys. “It’s one of those experiences to help motivate these players. We’re very fortunate to have the partnership between the Philadelphia Flyers and Pittsburgh Penguins together to make things affordable for the players.”
Team Pennsylvania also fields players from Ohio, West Virginia and southern New Jersey. Every player was born in 2009. Nolan Snyder (West Mifflin), Jack Rose (Upper St. Clair) and Riley Edwards (Wexford) round out the Western Pa. contingent.
“It’s the first real cool hockey experience that you can’t really replicate,” Trevor Edwards said.
Team Pennsylvania finished 0-6 at last year’s Brick tourney.
“The atmosphere is really unique,” Edwards said. “It’s in a mall. A lot of noise and things going on around. It gives the impression that there’s thousands of people watching the game. Some kids clam up in that environment, and others thrive. You don’t really know what it’s going to be until you show up.”
Edwards likes his team’s chances to win. He praised Goodlin’s defensive skills and poise.
“Colton is a really smooth skater,” Edwards said. “He is an elite backwards skater, which is rare at these ages. He’s calm and collected.”
The Sargo brothers look similar off the ice. On it, they couldn’t be more different. Alex is a lefty who plays center and is a cerebral thinker. Anthony is a right winger and gets after it while on the ice. The brothers are thrilled to be able to share the experience together.
“It wouldn’t be as much fun if Anthony wasn’t there and he was sitting and watching,” said Alex Sargo who has been playing hockey with his brother since he was four. “It sounds cool because it means that you’re one of the best players.”
William Whalen is a freelance writer.