The 2022 IIHF World Junior Championship is taking place August 9-20, 2022, in Edmonton, Alberta. Follow along Team USA's journey with exclusive, inside access through our daily notebook.
It was another day of moving around for Team USA, as equipment and athletic training staff was hard at work moving the team equipment for practice. The U.S. wrapped up practice at Claireview Twin Arena opposed to its usual spot at Rogers Place.
Why make the move for a day, you might ask?
Well, folk rock band ‘The Lumineers’, who are known for their popular songs like ‘Ho Hey’ and ‘Ophelia’, to name a few, are currently on tour with a stop at Rogers Place tonight. The band utilized Team USA’s player locker room prior to the show but the U.S. was fortunate enough to keep the coaches, equipment and training room.
With a later practice, players and staff had free rein for the morning and early afternoon, besides a pair of meetings. It’s a tad different outside than when World Juniors usually takes place, with about a 60 degree shift in the weather, and some tournament returnees are taking advantage of that. Red Savage and Dominic James, two players who were at the tournament this past December before the tournament was cancelled, went out for a stroll and soaked up the weather.
“It’s very different this time of year,” Savage said. “When we were here in December, we were all bundled up in hoodies and coats to stay warm. I walked around in a hoodie today and had to take it off because I was sweating. You’re used to correlating World Juniors around Christmas time and the cold and for it to be hot out, it’s a little wild.”
USA Hockey today finalized its roster and named the 25 players to the 2022 U.S. National Junior Team set to compete in the tournament.
“We had a great week of camp followed by a pair of good pre-tournament games to help us finalize our roster,” said John Vanbiesbrouck, general manager of the 2022 U.S. National Junior Team and also the assistant executive director of hockey operations for USA Hockey. “We had some spots to fill from December and we filled them in well. These are hard decisions, but we believe these are the 25 best players to achieve our goal.”
The group returns 17 of the 25 that were originally rostered in December before the tournament was postponed. The team also features four members of the 2021 U.S. National Junior Team that won a gold-medal in Edmonton.
The roster, comprised of players born in 2002 or later, come from 17 different states. A total of 22 players are expected to play college hockey this upcoming season.
It’s the teams fourth day in Edmonton and second time on the ice for practice, with its two pre-tournament games sandwiched in-between the two. Among that was done on the ice included special teams, faceoff work, puck battles and goalie work, which was led by assistant coach Kris Mayotte. Mayotte, who enters his second year at the helm of the Colorado College Tigers, coached forward Hunter McKown and will soon coach incoming freshman goaltender Kaidan Mbereko. Working closely with Mbereko, coach Mayotte is excited to see a future Tiger goaltender here.
“It’s an incredibly well-deserved opportunity for Kaidan with USA Hockey,” said Mayotte. “We’re excited to have him as a Tiger and a part of this squad here in Edmonton.”
Prior to the team’s first practice last Thursday (Aug. 4), head coach Nate Leaman announced the leadership group for the upcoming tournament.
Defenseman Brock Faber was named captain along with forwards Thomas Bordeleau and Landon Slaggert as alternate captains.
Faber and Slaggert were members of the gold medal-winning 2021 U.S. National Junior Team.
“You don’t make it through this tournament if everyone doesn’t lead,” said Leaman. “At some point, every guy will be called upon to lead in their way, especially if we want to win gold.”
Ocean or Lake? Lake
Summer or Winter? Summer
White Tape or Black Tape? Black
Dine out or Cook at Home? Cook at home
Dog or Cat? Dog
Spotify or Apple Music? Spotify
Beach or Mountains? Mountains
Movie or TV Series? TV Series
Netflix or Hulu? Netflix
Early Bird or Night Owl? Early Bird
Red Savage (Scottsdale, Ariz.) netted two goals and Team USA scored four times in the first ten minutes to defeat Switzerland, 6-1, in its final pre-tournament game.
Matt Coronato (New York, N.Y.), Savage, Carter Mazur (Jackson, Mich.) and Charlie Stramel (Rosemount, Minn.) found the back of the net through the first 6:11 of the game, highlighted by an even strength, shorthanded and powerplay goal. Dominic James (Plymouth, Mich.) tallied one in the first to give the U.S. a commanding 5-0 lead after 20. Savage scored his second of the game minutes into the third while Switzerland got on the board late as the Team USA came out on top, 6-1.
"Tonights game was a great step in the direction for our preparation of the tournament," said head coach Nate Leaman (East Greenwich, R.I.). "We had a great start to the game and kept up that momentum throughout.
The U.S. National Junior Team fell to Finland, 5-2, in its first of two pre-tournament games ahead of the 2022 IIHF World Junior Championship.
Logan Cooley (West Mifflin, Pa.) and Red Savage (Scottsdale, Ariz.) each netted a goal for Team USA, but a three-goal second period put Finland ahead to pick up the win.
“It was a good learning experience,” said head coach Nate Leaman (East Greenwich, R.I.). “We’re still building our team and finalizing our roster and there’s a lot of good to take from today’s game.”
Andrew Oke (Shelby Township, Mich.), who played the first two periods in goal for the U.S., finished with 20 saves on 24 shots. Remington Keopple (Hudson, Wis.) played the third and stopped six of the seven shots he faced.
After a long travel day, the team woke up for a late breakfast followed by COVID testing after. Some players were still stiff from traveling and decided to take a stroll outside around the hotel, while others went back to catch up on more sleep.
Delays have been the name of the game so far for Team USA to open the journey. The truck with all of the players bags and team equipment was anticipated to arrive well in advance for the originally scheduled 6 p.m. MT practice, however, a delay in the truck changed the arrival time to 8 p.m. Instead of scrapping practice, coaches and staff agreed that the team should get on the ice in preparation for its pre-tournament game tomorrow (Aug. 5) against Finland. It will be all hands on deck once the truck arrives to get everyone ready and on the ice for a 9 p.m. practice.
For the time being, equipment managers Scott Aldrich (Hancock, Mich.) and Nate LaPoint (Eau Claire, Wis.), along with athletic trainers Stan Wong (Boca Raton, Fla.) and Jason Hodges (Plymouth, Mich.) organized the team locker room which is the visiting locker room when NHL teams roll into town. Name plates above stalls, sorting through apparel and getting to know the ins and out of the 1,110,900 sq ft building were some of the few tasks at hand since they were left empty-handed with no equipment.
Presented, by Chipotle
After the team spent nearly a week and a half at the 2022 National Junior Evaluation Camp at USA Hockey Arena, it was time to start the journey for a gold-medal at the 2022 IIHF World Junior Championship. Around noon, all 27 players fueled up with Chipotle before the bus was packed and headed to the Detroit Metro Airport. Check-in went swiftly with the help of hockey bags not weighing the group down. Rewind the day before (Aug. 2), after the teams last practice, equipment and support staff helped load a semi-truck which drove all bags and heavy equipment to the final destination of Rogers Place, where the tournament is being held.
Back at the airport, the team settled in at the gate in anticipation of the first leg of the trip with a connecting flight to Montreal. Film was watched and conversations were had, most notably among Luke Hughes (Canton, Mich.) and Ian Moore (Salt Lake City, Utah) who had their minds on football with the first NFL preseason game approaching. The two would share a handful of names and go back-and-forth making their points on who they thought was better. Luckily for those two, the conversation continued on the flight as their seats were diagonal from each other.
After a two-hour layover and a few delays in Montreal, wheels were up for Edmonton around 10:30 p.m. ET. There were hundreds of movies and tv options to choose from, and the delays gave everyone time to pick out what they’d watch. Matt Knies (Phoenix, Ariz.) decided to go old school and started out with Top Gun, as he recently saw Top Gun: Maverick and raved about how 'sweet' of a movie it was.
The plane touched down at 1:20 a.m. MT and after luggage was retrieved and the group shuttled over to the hotel, it ended up being 2:45 a.m. MT. A very late dinner (or early breakfast?) was served before some much-needed shuteye.