July 6, 2009

BOSTON, MA - University of Massachusetts Boston men's ice hockey player Eric Tufman (Abington, PA) has been selected to play for Team USA in the World Jewish Ice Hockey Championships. The five-nation tournament will be held in Metulla, Israel from July 5-15. The United States, Israel, Canada, France and Russia will all be competing for the gold medal.

"To put on the USA jersey is truly an honor," said Tufman. "Everyone dreams of an opportunity like this, and to be able to represent my country in the homeland of my ancestors - oh my God, what more could you ask for? I am truly grateful for this opportunity."

The first World Jewish Ice Hockey Championship, or World Jewish Cup, was held in 2007 with the USA taking the gold medal with a victory over Israel. Team Canada won the bronze, while Maccabi, France finished in fourth place in the four-nation tournament.

Team USA has been training at Chelsea Piers in New York City and will open its title defense on July 5 vs. Team Russia. The US will be represented by Jewish players comprised from NCAA Division I, II and III schools as well as former college players and professional players from such levels as the American Hockey League. The Israeli National Team will be representing Israel, while a number of Jewish Pros and elite amateurs from all over Europe and North America will be competing for Canada, France and Russia.

Tufman just completed his second season with UMass Boston and was honored earlier this year, being named to the Jewish Sports Review's All-American Team.

"Eric comes highly recommended, not just as a player, but an individual," said Team USA General Manger, Wayne Sellers. "His accomplishments in his first two years of collegiate hockey are impressive. You don't see that kind of production in that league (ECAC East/NESCAC) very often. You know he's a special player."

Tufman enjoyed another outstanding season for the Beacons in 2008-09. The sophomore tied for the team-lead with 10 goals and ranked second with 16 assists and 26 points in 26 games. Tufman led the squad with four game-winning scores, while ranking 13th in the nation and first among Eastern College Athletic Conference East players. His goal total placed him 11th among league leaders, while his totals for assists and points put him 12th among ECAC East players. The winger proved to be extremely valuable on the power play, racking up 13 points (3-10-13) to place sixth in the conference in power play points, while ranking 20th among league leaders with three power play tallies. A former member of the Philadelphia Little Flyers of the Atlantic Junior Hockey League, Tufman notched at least one point in 18 of 26 games, including seven multi-point efforts to tie for the team lead. He shined in the playoffs for UMass Boston, netted a pair of goals and adding an assist to lead the team over New England College, 5-4, in the ECAC East Tournament semifinals on March 6. Tufman also added a pair of assists the following day in the Beacons' 4-3 overtime loss to Babson College in the ECAC East Championship. The forward was easily the most disciplined forward on the ice for UMB, going the entire season without spending a second in the penalty box, despite taking many hard hits on the ice.

"I think it is a tremendous honor for Eric to represent our country, not many players have the opportunity to put a USA jersey on," said UMass Boston Head Men's Ice Hockey Coach Peter Belisle.

For his career, the Abington Senior High School graduate has seen action in 52 games, while compiling 63 points on 28 goals and 35 assists. His eight game-winning goals in the past two seasons is the most for any player at UMass Boston since 1996-97 when the statistic was first kept at the school and his 12 power play goals are the sixth-most for a player wearing the Beacon blue since 1984-85. He burst onto the scene for UMass Boston last year as a freshman, being named ECAC East Rookie of the Week a league-high six times and was named to the ECAC East All-Rookie team. Tufman ranked seventh in the nation for rookie scoring with 1.42 points per game and led the team with 37 points, 18 goals and 19 assists. His nine power play goals placed him 18th in the country and his four game-winners put him 15th.