Four Minnesotans, three Gophers, and six total players with ties to Minnesota made the USA Junior National squad, which was announced Saturday by USA Hockey and will compete Dec. 25-Jan. 5 in Edmonton, Alberta in the Ice Hockey Federation World Junior Championships.
Bobby Brink (Minnetonka, MN), Brock Faber (Maple Grove, MN), Drew Helleson (Farmington, MN) and Jackson LaCombe (Eden Prairie, MN) were all named to the roster. Faber and Lacombe were two of three Gophers named to the squad along with Ryan Johnson (Irvine, CA). Johnson's father, Craig, was a standout at Hill-Murray High School and a Mr. Hockey finalist in 1990 and played for the Gophers before enjoying a long NHL career. The other player with Minnesota ties is Matthew Boldy (Millis, Mass.), who was the Minnesota Wild's first round pick (12th overall) in the 2019 draft. Boldy is currently playing at Boston College along with Helleson.
Boston College, Minnesota and Michigan all led the teams with three players each. The University of Wisconsin has two players on the roster in forwards Cole Caufield (Stevens Point, WI) and Alex Turcotte (Chicago, IL).
The University of North Dakota also has two players on the roster, defensemen Jake Sanderson and Tyler Kleven.
Sanderson and Turcotte are the two highest draft picks to make the team, both having gone fifth overall in the past two drafts. Sanderson was chosen by Ottawa in the 2020 draft and Turcotte went to the Kings in the 2019 draft.
The Gophers' Ryan Johnson is one of nine former first round picks to make the team having gone 31st overall in 2019 to Buffalo.
Faber, (2020/45th overall/LA Kings), Helleson (2019/47th/Colorado), LaCombe (2019.39th/Anaheim) and Brink (2019/34th/Philadelphia) were all second round picks.
The team features eight members of the 2020 U.S. National Junior Team, including goaltenders Spencer Knight (Darien, Conn.) and Dustin Wolf (Gilroy, Calif.), defenseman Cam York(Anaheim, Calif.), and forwards Bobby Brink (Minnetonka, Minn.), Cole Caufield (Stevens Point, Wis.), Arthur Kaliyev (Staten Island, N.Y.), Alex Turcotte (Chicago, Ill.) and Trevor Zegras(Bedford, N.Y.). Knight was also a member of the silver medal-winning 2019 U.S. National Junior Team.
"Our players and staff have done everything we've asked of them, all of the safety protocols and considerations, in order to make hockey the focus of our training camp," said John Vanbiesbrouck, general manager of the 2021 U.S. National Junior Team and also the assistant executive director of hockey operations for USA Hockey. "We had a great week of camp and we have certainly faced adversity, but we believe in these 25 players and we all have the same goal."
The roster is comprised of players born in 2001 or later, come from 17 different states. A total of 22 players are currently playing or previously played college hockey.
Team USA will face Russia in its first preliminary matchup Dec. 25 at Rogers Place with opening faceoff set for 7:30 p.m. local time/9:30 p.m. ET. In its 13th year televising the tournament, NHL Network will provide live game telecasts of all U.S. games, including the team's two pre-tournament matchups, plus comprehensive previews, highlights, analysis and interviews within its studio programming.
NOTES: Nate Leaman (Providence, Rhode Island) is the head coach of the 2021 U.S. National Junior Team with Ted Donato (Cambridge, Massachusetts), Kris Mayotte (Ann Arbor, Michigan), and Steve Miller (Columbus, Ohio) serving as assistant coaches, and Theresa Feaster(Providence, R.I.) as video coach ... The United States enters the 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship seeking its fifth medal in six years after earning a record four consecutive medals: gold in 2017, silver in 2019, and bronze in both 2018 and 2016 ... Team USA will play its preliminary games against Group B opponents Austria, Czech Republic, Russia and Sweden ... For more information about the 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship click here.
Tag(s): State Of Hockey