Alabama Thunder wins first USA Hockey National Championship
Published 9:07 am Wednesday, April 5, 2023
By LIZZIE BOWEN | Staff Writer
PELHAM – The Alabama Thunder reigned victorious in the USA Hockey National Championship, a title that has never been won by a team in the state of Alabama before.
Alabama Thunder is a co-op organization made up of Birmingham Bulls players in Pelham and Huntsville Charger hockey players.
The league is divided into groups based on age and birth year. 12U is individuals born in 2011 and 2010, 14U is those born in 2008 and 2009, 16U is 2006 and 2007 and 18U is the year 2004 and 2005.
Michelle Skoglund is the mother of one of the hockey players in the 12U league of the organization. She was watching from home as the 16U league won it all.
“The whole time I have been communicating with all the parents, the energy level as an organization was through the roof,” Skolgund said. “I still get goosebumps thinking about it. It was something none of us anticipated could happen in our very first season.”
Skoglund spoke on the talent and drive it took the league to bring them to their victory as well as the emotions she experienced while watching them take home the win.
“It is a really special group of kids,” Skoglund said. “They are a really talented organization, and that team especially is very talented. For them to come together at that level, it is safe to say even I had happy tears while watching online. It was probably one of the greatest moments in their child’s life, and to be able to see that and celebrate that was really amazing.”
Skoglund said the 16U team has experienced a lot of success throughout their season this year prior to winning the championship.
“This team is a very good team across the board,” Skoglund said. “They were competitive in our league and played in a showcase league in the southeast made up of teams from Nashville, our team in Alabama and Atlanta. They did very well this whole season.”
Alexander Taulien is a skills coach with the Alabama Thunder and spoke about the journey to the championship.
“They were all very ecstatic,” Taulien said. “They worked really hard all year and had ups and downs like most teams do, but they played very strong and were able to prove themselves.”
Taulien reiterated the pride that all involved experienced in watching the kids of the 16U league take home the title.
“There’s a lot of people that are proud of them,” Taulien said. “I don’t think they realize how big of a deal it was for them to do that. They are the first team in Alabama to win a national championship in hockey.”