First USA Hockey National Event in West Michigan Showcases America’s Best Youth Hockey Athletes, Generating Almost $2 Million in Estimated Economic Impact

USA Hockey National Championships Youth Tier I (18U and 16U) Attracts 640 Athletes from 32 Teams in 16 States plus 1,000 Spectators During USA Hockey’s 70th Anniversary Year

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – The 640 best youth hockey athletes in America under 18 and 16 years will compete in the 2019 Chipotle-USA Hockey National Championships Youth Tier I (16U, 18U)April 3-8 at Southside Arena in Byron Center and Griff’s Georgetown in Hudsonville.

The tournament is the first USA Hockey national championship to come to West Michigan – an honor especially during USA Hockey’s 70th anniversary year of crowning the nation’s best in youth hockey, a tradition dating back to 1949. USA Hockey, the national governing body for the sport, hosts a slate of 2019 USA Hockey National Championships in 13 divisions, with each tournament contested in March/April 2019. Tier I 18U and 16U Divisions represent the top levels of athlete before players move to college teams or are drafted by the NHL.

“We’re excited to have Grand Rapids host our Chipotle-USA Hockey Tier I 16U and 18U National Championships,” said Kevin McLaughlin, assistant executive director of hockey development for USA Hockey. “It’s a city that has great passion for sports and big events, and we know the players, coaches, families and fans will have a great experience and be embraced by the community.”

Hosted locally by Fox Motors Hockey Club, the championships consist of 16 teams per age division (18U, 16U) for a total of 32 teams competing, attracting 640 players plus coaches. The teams hail from 16 states, including Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, South Dakota and Washington, D.C. A few of the players have already been drafted to NCAA DI teams, and at least one coach (Kris Draper) is a former NHL player. The event is estimated to generate $1,985,482 in economic impact and 3,000 hotel nights booked at 14 partner hotels.

“Grand Rapids is a huge hockey community, so it is an incredible honor for West Michigan to host this tournament that showcases the best youth hockey players in the nation right in our backyard,” said Mike Guswiler, president of the West Michigan Sports Commission (WMSC) who bid on the tournament with Fox Motors Hockey Club. “We hope this is the first of many USA Hockey events hosted in West Michigan.”

Tournament Details

Championship events run Wednesday, April 3 through Monday, April 8. Wednesday through Friday, April 3 to 5, features round-robin play. Quarterfinals are Saturday, April 6; semifinals are Sunday, April 7; and the championships are Monday, April 8. 16U Division events start daily at 9 a.m. and finish around 5 p.m. and are held exclusively at Southside Arena, 566 100th St. SW, Byron Center. 18U Division events start daily at 11 a.m. and finish around 9 p.m. and are held at both Southside and Griff’s Georgetown, 8500 48th Ave., Hudsonville (Wed-Friday only). Admission is free and open to the public. An indoor beer garden sponsored by Founders Brewing Co. will be featured at the Southside Arena location.

For more event information, visit:

“Youth hockey in West Michigan has been on the rise for many years through organizations like ours who have brought Tier I hockey back and given the best area athletes an opportunity to play at the highest level, so it’s a feather in our cap to host the USA Hockey Nationals that brings the best of the best players from around the country,” said Mike Slobodnik, owner and hockey director of Fox Motors Hockey Club, the local organizing committee for the National Championships.

Media wishing to cover the event should contact Taylor Keyworth, marketing and advertising director for Fox Motors Hockey Club, at or 616.403.2921.

About the West Michigan Sports Commission
The non-profit West Michigan Sports Commission (WMSC) identifies, secures and hosts a diverse level of youth and amateur sporting events to positively impact the economy and quality of life in the region. Since its inception in 2007, the WMSC has booked 734 sporting events and tournaments that attracted more than 1.2 million athletes and visitors, generating more than $344 million in direct visitor spending. For more information, visit and and follow @WestMiSports.

About Fox Motors Hockey Club
Fox Motors Hockey Club is a premier youth hockey organization in West Michigan offering Tier l (AAA), Tier ll (AA/A), House and Initiation Program (IP) hockey programs at Southside Ice Arena. The Fox Motors Hockey Club is a development-first association dedicated to helping youth hockey players achieve their goals in hockey and teaching life’s lessons through youth sports. In 2018, Fox Motors Hockey Club was recognized as the #1 youth organization in the state for growth and retention. For more information, visit

About USA Hockey
USA Hockey, founded in 1937 and headquartered in Colorado Springs, Colorado, provides the foundation for the sport of ice hockey in America; helps young people become leaders, sometimes Olympic heroes; and connects the game at every level while promoting a lifelong love of the sport. USA Hockey is more than a million strong, including players, coaches, officials and volunteers that span all 50 states. The National Governing Body for the sport in the United States, USA Hockey has important partnerships with the NHL, United States Olympic Committee and International Ice Hockey Federation. For more information, visit