It is Christmas Eve and after a day off yesterday to recharge the batteries, the U.S. National Junior Team is back together for another practice. In the afternoon, some players and staff will attend Christmas Eve mass or go out to dinner with family and friends.
TAKING IN THE SURROUNDINGS
There is much to explore within the immediate surroundings of the KeyBank Center due to the Championship Village. An Olympic Village-style atmosphere, the Championship Village will be free to attend and include items such as the Labatt Blue Championship Headquarters, Snowzilla, Snowglobe Live, Hockey Skills Challenge, Frozen Jersey Display, Warming Area and merchandise, food and refreshments tents.
RETURN TO BUFFALO
The 2018 International Ice Hockey Federation World Junior Championship is just the latest major international hockey event to be taking place in Buffalo. Recent events to be held in Buffalo's HarborCenter include the 2016 International Paralympic Committee Pan-Pacific Championship, 2015 IPC Sled Hockey World Championship and 2015 International Ice Hockey Federation Under-18 Women’s World Championship, all of which saw the United States win on home ice. In addition, Buffalo has hosted four of the six CCM/USA Hockey All-American Prospects Games (2012, 2014, 2015, 2017).
WORLD JUNIOR CHAMPIONSHIP FAMILY TIES
Three players have a combined seven family members who have previously skated in IIHF World Junior Championships.
First, there is defenseman Mikey Anderson (Roseville, Minn./University of Minnesota Duluth), whose brother, Joey, is serving as captain of this year's U.S. National Junior team after playing on the gold medal-winning squad a year ago.
Forward Josh Norris's father, Dwayne, skated for Canada at the 1990 IIHF World Junior Championship where he scored the winning goal to help Canada beat Czechoslovakia and win the gold medal.
Brady Tkachuk has five relatives who skated for the U.S. in IIHF World Junior Championships, all winning medals. His father, Keith, was a member of the bronze medal-winning U.S. National Junior Team at the 1992 event. Brady's brother, Matthew, then went on to earn a bronze medal at the 2016 event. Among his cousins are Tom Fitzgerald, who skated on the 1987 U.S. National Junior Team, as well as Tom's son, Casey, who helped Team USA claim a gold medal at the 2017 tournament last year. In addition, their cousin, Jimmy Hayes, skated on the 2009 U.S. National Junior Team.
TAKE FIVE: DULUTH BULLDOG TRIO
Five of this year's 23-players are skating their regular seasons with the University of Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs, a member of the NCHC. While brothers Joey and Mikey Anderson were profiled in a 'Take Five' on Dec. 15, the remaining trio of Duluth Bulldogs consists of Scott Perunovich (Hibbing, Minn.), Dylan Samberg (Hermantown, Minn.) and Riley Tufte (Ham Lake, Minn.)
BEST MEMORY FROM YOUR OWN PLAYING CAREER:
Perunovich: Beating Edina in squirts going into the 3rd period down 7-0
Samberg: Scoring the double overtime winning goal of the State Championship game
Tufte: Playing in the Minnesota state hight school hockey
THREE THINGS YOU LOVE ABOUT HOCKEY:
Perunovich: The relationships you make, the competitiveness, and the speed
Samberg: Winning, comradery and playing the game
Tufte: Competitiveness, scoring and the overall atmosphere
BIGGEST OBSTACLE YOU HAVE OVERCOME:
Perunovich: All the doubt about my size
Samberg: Missing most of my sophomore season to a broken ankle
Tufte: Managing my diabetes
BEST ADVICE YOU'VE BEEN GIVEN
Perunovich: Never get complacent
Samberg: You can't control what already happened so concentrate on the future
Tufte: Don't ever Give up on your dream
YOUR DREAM JOB:
Samberg: Do trick shots with Dude Perfect
Tufte: Helping young kids out with diabetes