AMHERST, N.Y. - Gallaudet University's Katelyn Koester (Buffalo, N.Y.) and Brittany Mallach (Ontario, Canada) each had the opportunity to represent their home countries when they competed here April 22-23 at the World Deaf Ice Hockey Championships.
The American Hearing Impaired Hockey Association (AHIHA) in collaboration with USA Hockey and the Amherst Youth Hockey Association hosted the 2017 World Deaf Hockey Championships here April 19 through April 29.
Mallach and Team Canada defeated Koester and Team USA, 6-4, on Saturday and 6-3 on Sunday.
Mallach, a centerman, had a three-point game with two goals and an assist on Saturday. For her performance, she was named Player of the Game.
In the second game, Mallach found the scoresheet again with an assist.
Mallach is a sophmore forward on the Gallaudet women's soccer team. She finished her second season in the fall as the leading goal scorer (10). She is expected to graduate in 2019 and has yet to declare a major.
Koester, a winger and centerman for Team USA, is also an outfielder for the Gallaudet softball team. She is expected to graduate in 2021 and is planning on majoring in English and secondary education.
Both Koester and Mallach have been playing hockey since they were kids and have strong roots to the sport in their families.
"My two older brothers (Jesse and Chris) also played hockey and loved it, so my father signed me and my twin brother up," said Koester, when asked how started playing ice hockey.
It was all in the family for Mallach as well when it comes to ice hockey.
"My father, my grandfather, and my brother all played hockey, so they had a strong influence on me growing up," said Mallach.
Both Mallach and Koester played hockey on travel teams for several years before coming to Gallaudet. Koester was a member of a team that finished third at nationals in 2014.
"It feels unreal to play the sport I love not just for the USA but for the entire deaf community," said Koester.
This was the first time the two teams had competed at the Word Deaf Ice Hockey Championships.