The Northern California Mustangs have announced that they will play two international exhibition games against Team Palmeiras from Sao Paulo, Brazil, on Wednesday, January 12. The games will take place from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. at the Silver Creek Sportsplex in San Jose, California.
The Mustangs accepted the opportunity to play its first international competition after they received an email from Ned Kennedy, assistant captain of the Palmeiras. The Mustangs organization moved quickly to set things up with rink time, referees and merchandise, and Doug Wallace, “The voice of the Mustangs,” will announce both games.
“We are extremely honored and humbled to play in our first ever international game,” said Mario Sousa, owner and head coach of the Northern California Mustangs. “Our organization is excited and we want this matchup to be a memorable experience for all of the players involved.”
Team Palmeiras are traveling all the way from Brazil and other parts of the U.S. to San Jose, CA, for the upcoming NARCh Winternationals, which take place at the Silver Creek Sportsplex from January 14-17. Team Palmeiras will be composed of 11 players – Henrique Andrade, Vinicius Uchoa, Nuno Tamae, Claudio Augusto, Alberto Thiele Junior, Roberto Thiele, Ned Kennedy, David Free, Kenneth Novak, Kiefer Lupascu and Jeremy Burton. Six of these players are making the trip all the way from Brazil.
“We are very honored and excited to play against such great team like the Northern California Mustangs,” said Henrique Andrade, captain of the Palmeiras. “This is a historical moment for the Palmeiras and for Brazilian hockey, because this is the first international matchup where a Brazilian team plays outside his country. Never before has a team built to play only tournaments in Brazil played outside the country.”
“This is a great opportunity for two countries to come together for some fun and competitive hockey,” said David James, assistant coach of the Northern California Mustangs. “We can now show here in America and around the world that the Northern California Mustangs are ambassadors for American inline hockey.”
“I have played all over the world from the USA, England and even Finland,” said Kennedy. “This opportunity to represent not only the Palmeiras Hockey Club but the country of Brazil is an honor, and I am truly a lucky person to have been chosen for this squad. I have developed a bond with these players from Brazil in a very short time; as you know, that powerful bond usually translates into success on the rink. We are not just looking to win a few games at NARCH we are going in to this to win gold. We are very honored to have a chance to play on the same rink as such a successful franchise as the Northern California Mustangs. We are absolutely pumped to have this chance for the Mustangs to help us prepare for NARCh.”
“I think this is a wonderful opportunity for inline hockey to really embrace this international game and help it expand it into countries that aren’t really known for hockey,” Kennedy added. “It gives both sides a little bit of insight into how different some countries’ style of play really is. The Brazilians play on small rinks and are used to stick handling and not known for their passing game. I hope, as one of the Americans, to show them how we play in the USA. I know there is about a 100 different styles in the USA on how to play inline hockey, but when I comes down to it, the USA has their own style.”
“We could have just rented out the rink for an hour and skated, but Mr. Sousa accepted our offer to play against us, and to me that is a big deal,” Kennedy said. “I want to personally thank each and every Mustang from the front office to the equipment managers; we are honored and we hope we can give the Mustangs two good games. This may just be the jump start both of our teams need in order to succeed, whether playing in the AIHL, NARCh or Brazil. This is going to be history in the making. Wednesday night will be an amazing experience for everyone involved. We hope the Mustangs fans come out and really support them Wednesday. We will be hanging out after the game at High Five Pizza. Please come out and meet and greet us.”
“Every country that I have played in has a special place in my heart, Finland, England, and now even though I am not playing in Brazil, the guys on the team are making us feel like we are Brazilians, and I will never forget that,” Kennedy said. “Brazil will also have a little piece of my heart, along with the Mustangs, too. It is special to each and every one of us. Here is to hockey, and here is to doing things the right way.”
Come out to Silver Creek Sportsplex Wednesday, January 12, as both teams take the rink at 8:00 p.m. sharp.