USA Hockey announced Tuesday the U.S. Junior Select Team set to compete in the 2019 World Junior A Challenge from December 7-15 in Dawson Creek, B.C. All 22 players selected currently play in the USHL. The team is comprised of 13 forwards, seven defensemen and two goalies.
Nine different USHL teams are represented on the roster, including the Chicago Steel (5), Cedar Rapids RoughRiders (3), Tri-City Storm (3), Waterloo Black Hawks (3), Lincoln Stars (2), Omaha Lancers (2), Sioux City Musketeers (2), Des Moines Buccaneers (1), and Youngstown Phantoms (1).
Twenty-one of the 22 players are currently committed to NCAA Division I schools, including four schools with multiple commits: University of Minnesota (3), Harvard University (3), Northeastern University (2), University of Notre Dame (2) and University of Michigan (2).
Among the 22 USHL players on roster, three were selected at the 2019 NHL Draft including goaltender Ethan Haider (Nashville Predators – Round 4, #148 overall), forward Rhett Pitlick (Montreal Canadiens – Round 5, #131 overall), and defenseman Michael Koster (Toronto Maple Leafs – Round 5, #146 overall). Another nine were featured on the most recent NHL Central Scouting Updated Rankings ahead of the 2020 NHL Draft, including B-rated skaters Sam Colangelo, Mitch Miller, Luke Reid and Ryder Rolston, as well as C-rated skaters Brendan Brisson, Sean Farrell, Trevor Kuntar, Alex Laferriere, Ben Meehan and Grant Silianoff.
The remainder of the roster is comprised of forwards Connor Caponi, Gunnarwolfe Fontaine, Josh Groll, Matt Knies and Josh Lopina, defensemen Christian Berger, Nolan Krenzen and Jack Millar, as well as goaltender Logan Stein.
The 2019 U.S. Junior Select Team will be led by the same group as last year, a group of USHL coaching brass: Head Coach Anthony Noreen (Tri-City Storm, President of Hockey Operations and Head Coach) and Assistant Coaches Mark Abalan (Sioux City Musketeers, Associate Head Coach), Shane Fukushima (Waterloo Black Hawks, Assistant Coach) and David Wilkie (Omaha Lancers, General Manager and Head Coach). The staff returns after leading the United States to its eighth gold medal in 13 appearances.
It is Noreen’s fourth time on the U.S. Junior Select staff and second as a head coach. In 2013, he helped lead the U.S. team to its fifth championship at the World Junior A Challenge in Yarmouth, NS. In 2017, Noreen was an Assistant Coach as the United States claimed the silver medal with a 4-2-0-0 record. It is the third time behind the U.S. bench for Abalan (2018, 2013) and Shane Fukushima (2018, 2011) and marks the second appearance for Wilkie (2018).
The support staff for the World Junior A Challenge also includes Chicago Steel Athletic Trainer James Schroeder and Waterloo Black Hawks Equipment Manager and Strength Coach Spenser Popinga. Schroeder will serve as Athletic Trainer and Popinga will serve as Equipment Manager for the WJAC. The U.S. General Manager, Marc Boxer, also has ties to the USHL as he played for the Des Moines Buccaneers for two seasons (1989-91).
The World Junior A Challenge is in its 14th year and the United States is set to compete for the 13th time. The United States is one of five teams in the competition alongside Canada East, Canada West, Czech Republic and Russia. The United States is attempting to win the World Junior A Challenge title in back-to-back years for just the third time (2008-10 & 2012-14).
Seven NHL Draft first round selections from the USHL have played for the U.S. Select Team all-time: Brock Boeser (Waterloo Black Hawks), John Carlson (Indiana Ice), Kyle Connor (Youngstown Phantoms), Ryan Johnson (Sioux Falls Stampede), John Moore (Chicago Steel), Jordan Schmaltz (Green Bay Gamblers) and Nick Schmaltz (Green Bay Gamblers).
The United States faces Canada East in a pre-tournament exhibition game on Thursday, December 5 at 8 p.m. CT before opening competition on Saturday, December 7 against Canada West at 8 p.m. CT.
A tournament schedule and more information about the 2019 World Junior A Challenge can be found HERE.
Full 2019 U.S. Junior Select Team roster:
|Number||Position||Name||USHL Team||College Commitment||NHL Draft|
|22||D||Berger, Christian||Omaha Lancers||Penn State University (Big Ten)|
|19||F||Brisson, Brendan||Chicago Steel||University of Michigan (Big Ten)|
|17||F||Caponi, Connor||Waterloo Black Hawks||University of Denver (NCHC)|
|20||F||Colangelo, Sam||Chicago Steel||Northeastern University|
|21||F||Farrell, Sean||Chicago Steel||Harvard University (ECAC)|
|13||F||Fontaine, Gunnarwolfe||Chicago Steel||Northeastern University (Hockey East)|
|24||F||Groll, Josh||Lincoln Stars||University of Michigan (Big Ten)|
|30||G||Haider, Ethan||Sioux City Musketeers||Clarkson University (ECAC)||Nashville Predators (2019, Rd. 4, #148)|
|18||F||Knies, Matt||Tri-City Storm||University of Minnesota (Big Ten)|
|5||D||Koster, Michael||Tri-City Storm||University of Minnesota (Big Ten)||Toronto Maple Leafs (2019, Rd. 5, #146)|
|10||D||Krenzen, Nolan||Sioux City Musketeers||University of Nebraska-Omaha (NCHC)|
|16||F||Kuntar, Trevor||Youngstown Phantoms||Harvard University (ECAC)|
|14||F||Laferriere, Alex||Des Moines Buccaneers||Harvard University (ECAC)|
|23||F||Lopina, Josh||Lincoln Stars||University of Massachusetts (Hockey East)|
|11||D||Meehan, Ben||Cedar Rapids RoughRiders||University of Massachusetts-Lowell (Hockey East)|
|15||D||Millar, Jack||Cedar Rapids RoughRiders||Colorado College (NCHC)|
|2||D||Miller, Mitch||Tri-City Storm||University of North Dakota (NCHC)|
|7||F||Pitlick, Rhett||Omaha Lancers||University of Minnesota (Big Ten)||Montreal Canadiens (2019, Rd. 5, #131)|
|4||D||Reid, Luke||Chicago Steel||Uncommitted|
|12||F||Rolston, Ryder||Waterloo Black Hawks||University of Notre Dame (Big Ten)|
|9||F||Silianoff, Grant||Cedar Rapids RoughRiders||University of Notre Dame (Big Ten)|
|1||G||Stein, Logan||Waterloo Black Hawks||Ferris State University (WCHA)|
Headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, the USHL celebrates its 18th season as the nation's only Tier I junior hockey league in 2019-20. The USHL had 55 players selected at the 2019 NHL Draft, and more than 800 alumni are currently on NCAA Division I rosters, further establishing the USHL as the world’s foremost producer of junior hockey talent.
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