Today is Team USA's final day here in Everett, Washington. The day started with an early morning skate followed by a team lunch. After lunch, players and staff loaded their bags on to the team before returning to Angel of the Winds Arena for one final time -- an intrasquad scrimmage. Following the scrimmage, Team USA will take part in a brief media availability, enjoy a meal provided by Chipotle and then hit the road for Kamloops, British Columbia.
RETURN TO KAMLOOPS
The journey towards selecting the final 23-player roster for the 2019 U.S. National Junior Team initially began in Kamloops, B.C., last August. There, 42 U.S. players took part in a week-long camp that included competitions against Canada, Finland and Sweden. Of the 29 players named to Team USA's preliminary roster, 23 were in Kamloops.
"Our camp this past Summer was certainly a stepping stone towards building that team chemistry and identity," said head coach Mike Hastings (Crookston, Minn.). "That said, we've made it very clear to this team that an invite to that camp means nothing in the final roster. That's just one part of the evaluation process, this is another, and as you've seen over the years, players get invited to that camp and don't make this team, while others who maybe weren't invited or in the mix in the summer make a name for themselves come December. Players play themselves on to this team."
Team USA's journey from Everett, Wash., to Kamloops, B.C., is expected to be about a six hour journey. The road to Kamloops will include taking the Coquihalla Highway, so-named because it generally follows the Coquihalla River and uses the Coquihalla Pass.
As of Dec. 13, five players on the preliminary roster ranked among the top of their respective leagues in various statistical categories:
Evan Barratt, Forward: Penn State sophomore leads college hockey in points (29) and goals (13) through 17 games.
Quinn Hughes, Defense: Among college defensemen, the Michigan sophomore leads the nation in assists (17) and sits second in points (20).
Kyle Keyser, Goaltender: Holds an OHL-best save percentage (.931), sits second in goals-against-average (2.37) and is tied for fourth in league wins (16).
K'Andre Miller, Defense: Paces all college freshmen defensemen in points (17) and assists (13), the latter of which is tied for the most among all college freshmen skaters.
Jason Robertson, Forward: Leads the OHL in points (60) while ranking second in goals (31) and fifth in assists (29).