31 players with USHL experience, including four players playing in the league this season, will be participating in the 2018 International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) World Junior Championship in Buffalo, NY. The United States National Junior Team will enter the 2018 World Junior Championship as the defending gold medalist. 20 of the 23 players named to Team USA previously played in the USHL, one year after a record 22 players with USHL experience were named to the eventual gold medal team. The United States and Canada will make history when the two teams play outdoors on Dec. 29, 2017, at New Era Field, home of the NFL’s Buffalo Bills. The game will be the tournament’s first-ever outdoor game.
An additional 11 players with USHL experience were named to rosters throughout the world, including the four players that are currently playing in the league. Of the 31 total players with USHL experience participating in the tournament, 23 are either currently playing or committed to play college hockey. 10 countries will begin play on Dec. 26, 2017 at the KeyBank Center and HarborCenter in downtown Buffalo, with the gold medal game set to be played on Jan. 5, 2018.
For Team USA, seven former USHL players were a member of the 2017 U.S. National Junior Team that earned the gold medal at the 2017 IIHF World Junior Championship in Montreal and Toronto, Canada: Joey Anderson (Team USA), Kieffer Bellows (Team USA), Patrick Harper (Omaha Lancers), Adam Fox (Team USA), Ryan Lindgren (Team USA), Jake Oettinger (Team USA) and Joseph Woll (Team USA). Anderson was named captain of this year’s United States National Junior Team, while Bellows, Fox and Lindgren will serve as alternate captains.
Other notable players named to the team include Casey Mittelstadt (Green Bay Gamblers), who was selected eighth overall by the Buffalo Sabres at the 2017 NHL Draft after spending part of last season with the Green Bay Gamblers, 2018 NHL Draft eligible defenseman Quinn Hughes (Team USA), who was named to last year's USHL All-Second Team and Anaheim Ducks prospect Jack Badini (Chicago Steel), who helped lead the Chicago Steel to the team's first ever Clark Cup championship in 2017.
USA Hockey will also bring back the same staff that lead the team to a gold medal in 2017. Head coach Bob Motzko played for the Dubuque Fighting Saints and Waterloo Black Hawks, and also coached the North Iowa Huskies and Sioux Falls Stampede. Motzko was named USHL General Manager of the Year in both 1989 and 2000. General Manager Jim Johannson coached the Twin Cities Vulcans. Assistant coaches Grant Potulny (Lincoln Stars), Kris Mayote (Sioux City Musketeers) and Steve Miller (Madison Capitols) all played in the USHL.
Notable players playing for other countries include goaltender Josef Korenar (Lincoln Stars/Czech Republic), who signed a professional contract with the San Jose Sharks last summer straight from the USHL, former teammates Eeli Tolvanen and Aapeli Rasanen (Sioux City Musketeers/Finland), who helped Sioux City to last season’s Clark Cup Final, as well as current USHL players Jacob Schmidt-Svejstrup (Fargo Force/Denmark), Mikhail Berdin (Sioux Falls Stampede/Russia), Samuel Bucek (Chicago Steel/Slovakia) and Filip Larsson (Tri-City Storm/Sweden). Tolvanen was one of the top scorers in the USHL last season and is excelling this year with Jokerit (KHL) as an 18-year-old, Schmidt-Svejstrup currently leads all USHL players in goals (17) and points (29), Berdin is currently third among all USHL goaltenders in SV% (.930) and just outside the top-10 in GAA (2.63), Bucek is tied for third on the Steel in scoring with 18 points (7G, 11A) and Larsson leads all USHL goaltenders in every major category, including GAA (1.45), SV% (.946), wins (14) and shutouts (5).
Below are the players representing the United States at the 2018 World Junior Championship:
|Position||Name||USHL Team||Current Team||NHL Draft Rights|
|G||Jeremy Swayman||Sioux Falls Stampede||Maine (NCAA)||Boston Bruins|
|G||Jake Oettinger||Team USA||Boston University (NCAA)||Dallas Stars|
|G||Joseph Woll||Team USA||Boston College (NCAA)||Toronto Maple Leafs|
|D||Ryan Lindgren||Team USA||Minnesota (NCAA)||Boston Bruins|
|D||Quinn Hughes||Team USA||Michigan (NCAA)||2018 NHL Draft eligible|
|D||Adam Fox||Team USA||Harvard (NCAA)||Calgary Flames|
|D||Dylan Samberg||Waterloo Black Hawks||Minnesota Duluth (NCAA)||Winnipeg Jets|
|D||Scott Perunovich||Cedar Rapids RoughRiders||Minnesota Duluth (NCAA)||2018 NHL Draft eligible|
|D||Andrew Peeke||Green Bay Gamblers||Notre Dame (NCAA)||Columbus Blue Jackets|
|D||Mikey Anderson||Waterloo Black Hawks||Minnesota Duluth (NCAA)||Los Angeles Kings|
|F||Ryan Poehling||Lincoln Stars||St. Cloud State (NCAA)||Montreal Canadiens|
|F||Brady Tkachuk||Team USA||Boston University (NCAA)||2018 NHL Draft eligible|
|F||Josh Norris||Team USA||Michigan (NCAA)||San Jose Sharks|
|F||Casey Mittelstadt||Green Bay Gamblers||Minnesota (NCAA)||Buffalo Sabres|
|F||Joey Anderson||Team USA||Minnesota Duluth (NCAA)||New Jersey Devils|
|F||Patrick Harper||Omaha Lancers||Boston University (NCAA)||Nashville Predators|
|F||Kieffer Bellows||Team USA||Portland Winterhawks (WHL)||New York Islanders|
|F||Riley Tufte||Fargo Force||Minnesota Duluth (NCAA)||Dallas Stars|
|F||Trent Frederic||Team USA||Wisconsin (NCAA)||Boston Bruins|
|F||Max Jones||Team USA||London Knights (OHL)||Anaheim Ducks|
Below are the players representing other countries at the 2018 World Junior Championship:
*Indicates active USHL player
|Country||Position||Name||USHL Team||NCAA Commitment/Current Team||NHL Draft Rights|
|Czech Republic||G||Josef Korenar||Lincoln Stars||HC Benatky nad Jizerou (Czech Republic)||San Jose Sharks|
|Denmark||F||Jacob Schmidt-Svejstrup*||Fargo Force||Maine (NCAA)||2018 NHL Draft eligible|
|Finland||F||Eeli Tolvanen||Sioux City Musketeers||Jokerit (KHL)||Nashville Predators|
|Finland||F||Aapeli Rasanen||Sioux City Musketeers||Boston College (NCAA)||Edmonton Oilers|
|Finland||D||Kasper Kotkansalo||Sioux Falls Stampede||Boston University (NCAA)||Detroit Red Wings|
|Russia||G||Mikhail Berdin*||Sioux Falls Stampede||Uncommitted||Winnipeg Jets|
|Russia||F||Andrei Svechnikov||Muskegon Lumberjacks||Barrie Colts (OHL)||2018 NHL Draft eligible|
|Slovakia||G||David Hrenak||Green Bay Gamblers||St. Cloud State (NCAA)||2018 NHL Draft eligible|
|Slovakia||F||Samuel Bucek*||Chicago Steel||Uncommitted||2018 NHL Draft eligible|
|Slovakia||F||Samuel Solensky||Youngstown Phantoms||Uncommitted||2018 NHL Draft eligible|
|Sweden||G||Filip Larsson*||Tri-City Storm||Denver (NCAA)||Detroit Red Wings|
Headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, the USHL celebrates its 16th season as the nation's only Tier I junior hockey league in 2017-18. 30 or more players from the USHL have been selected in five consecutive NHL Drafts, and more than 400 players on team rosters last season committed to NCAA Division I schools, further establishing the USHL as the world’s foremost producer of junior hockey talent.
Tag(s): Top Story