RED DEER, Alberta – Defenseman Jake Sanderson (Whitefish, Mont./University of North Dakota) has been named captain of the 2022 U.S. National Junior Team it was announced today by USA Hockey.
In addition, defenseman Brock Faber (Maple Grove, Minn./University of Minnesota), and forwards Matty Beniers (Hingham, Mass./University of Michigan) and Landon Slaggert (South Bend, Ind./University of Notre Dame) were named alternate captains of the squad. All four players were members of the gold-medal winning 2021 U.S. National Junior Team.
“The strength of this team is its leadership and we have a group of guys that have earned the letter on their jersey both on and off the ice,” said head coach Nate Leaman (East Greenwich, R.I./Providence College). “There are even more leaders in our locker room. We’re excited about this group overall, and for us to be successful, every player will need to find a way to lead.”
Team USA will begin play in the 2022 International Ice Hockey Federation World Junior Championship on Sunday (Dec. 26) in Red Deer, Alberta, against Slovakia. Puck drop is set for 9:30 p.m. ET and can be seen live on NHL Network.
ABOUT SANDERSON: One of six returnees from last year’s gold-medal winning U.S. National Junior Team, Sanderson is in his second season at University of North Dakota (NCHC) where he currently serves as an alternate captain. Sanderson previously played two seasons at USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program in Plymouth, Mich. prior to being selected by the Ottawa Senators, fifth overall, in the 2020 NHL Draft. A native of Whitefish, Mont., Sanderson is the second player from Montana to represent the U.S. National Junior Team, after Bill Lindsay (Big Fork, Mont.) played on the 1991 team. He is the first Montana native to be named captain of the U.S. National Junior Team. Sanderson played youth hockey for the Whitefish Glacier Avalanche.
ABOUT BENIERS: Beniers is currently in his second season at the University of Michigan, serving as an alternate captain for the Wolverines. Beniers not only won a gold medal at the 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship last season, but also won a bronze medal at the 2021 IIHF Men’s World Championship. Additionally, Beniers won a bronze medal at the 2019 IIHF Men’s Under-18 World Championship during his two-year stint at USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program. Beniers was selected second overall in the 2021 NHL Draft by the Seattle Kraken, the first NHL Draft pick in team history, following his freshman season at Michigan. The Hingham, Mass. native played youth hockey with the Cape Cod Whalers and South Shore Kings, where he played in the 2017 Chipotle-USA Hockey 14U National Championship.
ABOUT FABER: Faber is playing in his second season at the University of Minnesota, after playing two seasons at USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program. In addition to his gold-medal winning performance at the 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship last season, Faber was also a member of the Big Ten champion Gopher squad. A second-round selection by the Los Angeles Kings in the 2020 NHL Draft, Faber played youth hockey with the Minnesota Blades organization.
ABOUT SLAGGERT: Slaggert is currently in his sophomore season with the University of Notre Dame, where his father, Andy, is coaching his 29th season with the Fighting Irish as the associate head coach. Slaggert previously played two seasons with USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program prior to being selected in the third round of the 2020 NHL Draft by the Chicago Blackhawks. The South Bend, Ind. native played youth hockey for the Chicago Mission, where he won two championships including the 2018 Chipotle-USA Hockey 16U National Championship and the 2017 Chipotle-USA Hockey 14U National Championship.