America’s Top Handball Clubs and Olympic Hopefuls descend on Salt Lake City

28 Clubs Seek USA Team Handball National Championship at Salt Palace from May 13-15, 2011

(Salt Lake City, UT) – The fast-paced, high-scoring, physical sport of Olympic Team Handball will be showcased this weekend when America’s top players contest the 43rd Annual USA Team Handball National Championships. Games start at 8am on Friday, May 13. By Sunday afternoon, two teams will walk away as the 2012 Men’s and Women’s National Club Champions.

A full slate of activities is scheduled, as Salt Lake Handball Club, along with BURRDA SPORT and the Utah Sports Commission, host “Nationals” in Utah for the first time ever. Several handball Olympians will participate in festivities, as USA Team Handball counts down towards the 2011 Pan American Games in October – the first qualifying event for the 2012 Olympic Games.

“We are excited to host this event for the first time,” said Jeff Robbins, president & CEO of the Utah Sports Commission. Utah’s already diverse portfolio of sporting events continues to grow each year, and this Olympic sport particularly helps to build our Olympic legacy.”

The USA Women’s National Team is already qualified for the Pan Ams in Guadalajara, Mexico, so players like Kathy Darling (Chicago) and Natascha King (Dynamo) will look to maintain form that took them all the way to Europe’s most prestigious handball countries this season. The USA Men’s National Team is three weeks away from a showdown with Guatemala and Uruguay in Guatemala City, with the winner earning the final berth in the 2011 Pan Ams. Salt Lake Handball Club center back Guillermo Acevedo became the first SLHC player to make the U.S. national team when he was named to the Guatemala roster last week. In addition to 70 games over three days, this week’s festivities include:

Monday, May 9 (Media Opportunity)
Salt Lake Handball Club training session at 6:00pm (JUST Soccer, 212 W 1300 South, SLC)
Tuesday, May 10
USA Team Handball on PCTV “Mountain Views”. General Manager Steve Pastorino and USA Bobsledder/Handball player Jay Noller
Thursday, May 12 (Media Opportunity)
Salt Lake-based SnapSports installs 30,000 square feet of state-of-the-art flooring at Salt Palace West Hall
Friday, May 13 (Play begins at 8am – Media Opportunity)
FOX 13 & 1320 KFAN live broadcasts from Salt Palace
KFAN Celebrity Game at 7:00pm
Saturday, May 14 (Play begins at 8am – Media Opportunity)
USA Team Handball Board of Directors meeting (1pm)
Final Four Showdown (approx. 7pm)
Sunday, May 15 (Play begins at 8am – Media Opportunity)
Women’s Open Final (1pm) & Men’s Open Final (3pm)

BURRDA SPORT will title sponsor the 2011 USA National Championships Team Handball National Championships. The Switzerland-based company, which became the Official Apparel Supplier to USA Team Handball earlier this year, will use the 43rd annual championships to unveil 2011-12 product lines, including the USA National Team uniforms. The BURRDA SPORT National Championships are expected to draw thousands of handball athletes and fans from around the United States to compete in the Men’s Elite, Men’s Open and Women’s Elite divisions at the Salt Palace.

“This is handball’s annual party,” said USA Team Handball general manager Steve Pastorino. “Teams train all year for this opportunity – but it’s also one time a year when everyone gets together. We’re excited to host this event in our backyard this year.”

The defending Men’s Champion is Los Angeles Team Handball Club, but the Women’s defending champs, Houston Firehawks, are not back to defend their title, leaving play wide open in the women’s field. Read previews of the competition at www.usateamhandball.org.

Play will run 8am – 10pm on Friday, 8am – 10pm on Saturday, and 8am – 5pm on Sunday. Single-day ($10) and three-day VIP spectator badges ($30) are now on sale at www.USATHNationals.com.

The first National Championships were held in 1968 on Long Island, NY, with Adelphi University capturing the men’s championship. In 1979, Nationals moved west of the Mississippi for the first time ever, when the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs hosted the events. Utah becomes the 17th state to host Nationals.

Additional sponsors for the 2011 Nationals include Grundfos, SnapSports, 1320 KFAN, Jerry Seiner Dealerships, Christopher Imports, Fast Track Physical Therapy and the Utah Sports Commission. An announcement about the 2012 site of the National Championships is expected later this week.

ABOUT USA TEAM HANDBALL

USA Team Handball is a 501-c-3 corporation headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah and certified by the United States Olympic Committee as the sport’s National Governing Body. Its jurisdiction includes development of grass roots programs, preparation of national teams and day-to-day oversight of the sport of handball throughout the USA. Visit the federation at www.usateamhandball.org.

ABOUT BURRDA SPORT

Founded in 2007, Pilatus Sports Management SA (PSM) is a new Swiss company specializing in the design and development of high performance and stylish sport apparels, lifestyle apparels and accessories. Through the creation of the new sports brand, BURRDA SPORT, PSM is focused on providing quality products for both the high performance athlete and the active sports man and woman.

ABOUT OLYMPIC HANDBALL

Handball, widely known as Team Handball in the United States, is played in 159 nations by 39 million people. Called “ripe for an American invasion” by TIME magazine, the sport includes elements of basketball, water polo and soccer – and it universally enjoyed for its fast, physical, exciting tempo. The USA Men’s and Women’s National Teams are both in contention for the 2012 Olympic Games in London. Qualifying continues at the Pan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico in October 2011 – with both teams seeking their first Olympic medals.

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