July 29: Day One

Today marked the first day that the USA Blue and USA White squads hit the ice here at the Sandman Centre in Kamloops, B.C. The day started with breakfast and team meetings before USA White took the ice from 12:00-1:15 p.m. PT followed by USA Blue from 1:30 p.m.-2:45 p.m.

The 42 U.S. players are divided into two teams for the first three days of camp. Leading USA Blue is Steve Miller (Columbus, Ohio) and Pat Mikesch (Hancock, Mich.) while USA White will be coached by Scott Sandelin (Hibbing, Minn.) and Chris Clark (South Windsor, Conn.). Also assisting both squads will be Jerry Keefe (Saugus, Mass.) and David Lassonde (Durham, N.H.). Tomorrow, USA Blue will face off against Sweden at 4 p.m. PT while USA White takes on Finland at 7 p.m. PT. On Tuesday, the two teams will face Canada's split-squad teams at 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. respectively.

Of the 42 U.S. players in attendance, 30 have experience representing the United States internationally including 20 who have done so in International Ice Hockey Federation play. In total, players here at the Showcase have helped the U.S. earn medals at the IIHF Men's World Championship (2018 - bronze), IIHF Under-18 Men's World Championship (2017 - gold, 2018 - bronze) and a bronze medal at last year's IIHF World Junior Championship in Buffalo, N.Y. in addition to five podium finishes at the World Junior A Challenge (2016 - first, 2017 - second), the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Cup (2016 - second) and Under-17 Five Nations Cups (2015 - first, 2016 - first).

Among the U.S. staff here at the 2018 World Junior Summer Showcase are three individuals who grew up together in Hancock, Mich. The trio, including U.S. guest camp coach Pat Mikesch and USA Hockey's Marc Boxer and Scott Aldrich, eventually skated on the same line for Hancock High School's men's ice hockey team that at one time was ranked first in the state. Mikesch went on to skate four seasons at Michigan Tech University and is currently head coach of the USHL's Green Bay Gamblers while Boxer, who skated four seasons at Miami University, and Aldrich work together at USA Hockey. Aldrich, Boxer, along with USA Hockey's National Team Development Program senior director of hockey operations, Scott Monaghan (Ho-Ho-Kus, N.J.), are on-site in Kamloops assisting Team USA.

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