RIGA, Latvia – Justin Abdelkader (Muskegon, Mich.) has been named captain of the 2021 U.S. Men’s National Team.
“We’re excited to have Justin leading this team and our country here in Latvia,” said head coach Jack Capuano (Cranston, R.I.). “This is a special group who’ve all made sacrifices to be here, who’ve capitalized on the opportunity to wear the USA crest, and we intend to play with that pride and effort every game. Justin, Matt and Colin will be our leaders on the ice, but we have a special brotherhood here in this locker room and we’re excited to see everyone play for each other and represent our country well.”
In addition, Matt Roy (Detroit, Mich.) and Colin Blackwell (Lawrence, Mass.) will serve as alternate captains for Team USA.
Team USA will begin play in the 2021 IIHF Men’s World Championship tomorrow (May 22) in Riga, Latvia, against Finland. Puck drop is set for 4:15 p.m. local time (9:15 a.m. ET) and the game can be seen live on NHL Network.
ABOUT ABDELKADER: Abdelkader will captain Team USA in an IIHF Men’s World Championship for the second time after doing so in 2014 in Minsk, Belarus. The tournament marks the fifth time the Muskegon, Michigan, native will represent the U.S. internationally after doing so in two IIHF Men’s World Championships (2012, 2014), one IIHF World Junior Championship (2007 – bronze) and the 2016 World Cup of Hockey. In 20 games on the international stage, he has collected 11 points (5g, 6a). An 11-year NHL veteran, all with the Detroit Red Wings, Abdelkader was with Detroit when they captured the 2008 Stanley Cup and served as an alternate captain his last four years with the Red Wings. In 739 NHL games, he amassed 252 points (106g, 146a) before signing with EV Zug in the Swiss National League this past February. With EV Zug, he registered eight points (4g, 4a) in nine games before tallying nine points (6g, 3a) in 13 playoff games to help m capture the 2021 NL Title.
ABOUT ROY: Roy, a Detroit, Michigan, native, is representing the United States in international competition for the first time. The 2020-21 season marked his third season with the Los Angeles Kings, who this past March announced a three-year extension. A 2015 seventh-round selection by the Kings, he has registered 34 points (8g, 26a) in 139 NHL games. Prior to LA, Roy skated three seasons with Michigan Tech University where he collected 55 points (12g, 43a) in 115 games and earned WCHA First All-Star Team (2017) and WCHA Second All-Star Team (2016) honors. Before Michigan Tech, Roy spent two seasons with the Indiana Ice in the USHL.
ABOUT BLACKWELL: Like Roy, Blackwell is also donning the USA crest for the first time in international competition at the 2021 IIHF Men’s World Championship. A native of Lawrence, Massachusetts, Blackwell spent this past season with the New York Rangers where he set career-highs in goals (12), assists (10) and points (22). Originally a seventh-round pick by the San Jose Sharks in 2011, Blackwell has spent time in the San Jose, Buffalo and Nashville organizations. In total, he has collected 32 points (15g, 17a) in 80 NHL games while also adding 105 points (41g, 64a) in 187 AHL games. Before turning professional, Blackwell spent five years with Harvard University, which included a redshirt year in 2013-14. He bookended his four playing years with a career-high 19 points as a freshman and senior to finish his collegiate career with 58 points (19g, 39a) in 94 games. Prior to college, he skated four years at St. John’s Prep and served as captain his junior and senior seasons.