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2022 World Juniors Notebook: Title Defense Comes To An End

By USA Hockey, 08/16/22, 6:00PM EDT


Follow along with Team USA's journey at the 2022 IIHF World Junior Championship

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.

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August 17 | Title Defense Comes To An End

Carter Mazur scored late on the powerplay to put the U.S. within one goal in final 10 minutes, but a Czechia empty net goal put the game out of reach at 4-2, ending Team USA’s run at the 2022 IIHF World Junior Championship.

Logan Cooley scored the opening goal of the game after the puck took an odd bounce off a dump in that led to the scoring chance. Czechia answered with a game-tying goal late in the first before extending its lead to 3-1 through 40 minutes. 

“These games are tough and we struggled to get into our game today,” said Nate Leaman, head coach of the U.S. National Junior Team. “Our first 10 minutes were good but we struggled to manage the puck. We played a good Czechia team, they played hard and blocked a lot of shots, and you have to tip your hat to them.”

After the game, Thomas BordeleauCarter Mazur and Luke Hughes were named the Top-3 Players of the Tournament for Team USA. 

August 16 | Back To Work

It was time to get back on the ice for Team USA after a day off and the team didn’t skip a beat. A hard, physical practice was anticipated ahead of the team’s quarterfinal matchup against Czechia tomorrow. After an unbeaten preliminary round, only the sixth time the U.S. National Junior Team has done so since 2000, the U.S. drew the fourth seed in Czechia with a 10:30 p.m. ET puck drop on NHL Network.

Prior to practice, the team gathered in the locker room and went over film in preparation. After the Landon Slaggert's pre-practice playlist was turned off and the players hit the ice, it was evident that the team is fired up and ready to punch its ticket to the semifinal round.

Post-practice, players enjoyed each other’s company in the locker room and shared some laughs, although time was running out to catch the bus back to the hotel. The team didn’t mind, however, as the weather was a beautiful 79 degrees Fahrenheit and partly sunny, so most all players decided to walk.

After a few left turns and a few rights, and 10 minutes later, the team made it back to the hotel where the rest of the afternoon was open for players to use the downtime as they wanted. Enjoying time outside and getting some sunlight on the face has been very popular, something that’s not as enjoyable during most international tournaments.

This or That with Kaidan Mbereko

Ocean or Lake? Ocean

Summer or Winter? Summer

White Tape or Black Tape? White Tape

Dine out or Cook at Home? Dine Out

Dog or Cat? Dog

Spotify or Apple Music? Apple Music

Beach or Mountains? Mountains

Movie or TV Series? Movie

Netflix or Hulu? Netflix

Early Bird or Night Owl? Early Bird

August 15 | A Well-Deserved Day Off

Back-to-back games, followed by a hard-fought win over Sweden to clinch the top spot in Group B, earned the team a day off before it’s all systems go for the quarterfinal round.

Even without team video, meetings or practice scheduled for the day, there was still work to be done. The coaching staff convened from breakfast until lunch in the team meal room breaking down video from last night’s 3-2 win. Discussions of what went right and what could be worked on in practice was talked about for hours, amongst other topics.

Looking over video isn’t as easy as just re-watching the game though. The work and clipping wouldn’t be possible without video coach Theresa Feaster, who grinds away to get clips to coaches along with shifts to every player on the team. Feaster, who serves as the Director of Hockey Operations for Providence College’s DI Men’s Ice Hockey Team, works well after the final whistle is blown.

Once the game concludes and the team’s back at the hotel, Feaster watches the game back, rewinding and pausing, and jots down notes such as scoring chances, blocked shots and shift times to name a few. Her tireless work stretches into the late night, especially after the late, 8 p.m. games, and has been backed up as she was part of the gold medal-winning staff at the 2021 tournament in the same role.

Over the past two tournaments, Feaster has helped contribute to the teams 10-0-0-1 record and has played a pivotal role in Team USA’s success.

Many naps were taken at the hotel, with time for players to do as they please. The weather has started to heat up since we’ve arrived, with a high of 85 degrees Fahrenheit, but players who have been here in December are not taking this weather for granted. The weather difference is that of 100 degrees from Red Deer, Alberta, where the U.S. was stationed before the tournament was shut down. Even though it was an off-day, some couldn’t stay away from Rogers Place. Head coach Nate Leaman headed over to the rink to get his daily workout in, which consists of a hard Peloton workout, streamed from his phone, on a stationary bike. Meanwhile, the battle for the top of Group A was taking place at 4 p.m., with a heavy matchup of Canada versus Finland for the second to last game of the preliminary round stage.

This or That with Matt Coronato

Ocean or Lake? Ocean

Summer or Winter? Summer

White Tape or Black Tape? Black Tape

Dine out or Cook at Home? Cook at Home

Dog or Cat? Dog

Spotify or Apple Music? Apple Music

Beach or Mountains? Beach

Movie or TV Series? T.V. Series

Netflix or Hulu? Netflix

Early Bird or Night Owl? Night Owl

August 14 | U.S. Defeats Sweden, Wins Group B

Matt Coronato led the U.S. with two goals, and was named U.S. Player of the Game, in a 3-2 win over Sweden, securing the top seed from Group B preliminary round play.

Thomas Bordeleau (1-6--7), Logan Cooley (1-4--5), and Coronato (4-2--6) continued their point streak, tallying at least a point in all four preliminary round games. Kaidan Mbereko started in net for the U.S. and picked up his third win of the tournament while stopping 28 of 30 shots.

The U.S. became the fourth U.S. National Junior Team to win all its preliminary round games in 60 minutes (2017, 2008, 2004), and sixth team since 2000 to go unbeaten (2011 and 2002).

“We were moving our feet best in the third period and were really playing to our identity in that final period,” said Nate Leaman, head coach of the U.S. National Junior Team. “I thought we were a little tight to start the game but that's to be expected. It's better to get that out of the way before quarterfinals."

The U.S. is set to take on Czechia in the quarterfinals on Wednesday (Aug. 17) and the game will be shown on NHL Network.

August 13 | U.S. Improves to 3-0 With Win Over Austria

Defenseman Wyatt Kaiser and forward Carter Mazur scored two goals apiece and the U.S. improved to 3-0-0-0 in 2022 IIHF World Junior Championship with a 7-0 win over Austria.

The U.S. came out of the gates quick, putting one on the board less than a minute in and tallying four goals in the first period.

Thirteen U.S. skaters recorded a point in the game, with seven notching multi-points. Andrew Oke stopped all 11 shots faced through two periods, while Remington Keopple was credited with four saves for a combined shutout. In total, Team USA outshot Austria 56-15 and Wyatt Kaiser was named the U.S. Player of the Game.

“We knew we had to get off to a good start today,” said Nate Leaman, head coach of the U.S. National Junior Team. “Our schedule was different today, and it was important for us to adjust quickly. I'm happy with how the team started the first period and kept it rolling."

August 12 | Rejuvenate

Another 8 p.m. local start the night prior meant another late arrival at the hotel just before midnight following the game. However, you wouldn’t have known it was a late night based on its 11 a.m. practice this morning, with all 25 players bringing tons of intensity.

It was a quick tune-up and final practice before the U.S. plays its first leg of a back-to-back schedule, with Austria tomorrow afternoon in their only early game of the preliminary round, followed by a showdown against Sweden on Sunday night to round out preliminary round play.

With an hour and fifteen minutes allotted for today's practice, it was structured for 45 minutes as the team worked on various things. The final half hour, players were on their own to do what they wanted. Whether it was prepping for a potential shootout, extra faceoff reps, a few net-front tips, or hopping off the ice a bit early for treatment, the chose was theirs.

It’s always important for players to keep their bodies primed for competition and resting up when needed, especially when there’s potential to play nine games in just 16 days.

Jackson Frey, the team's physiotherapist, has been helping players warm up before practices with different dynamic stretches, while also offering insight on keeping the body right to prevent injury.

The team has a blender in the locker room that has become quite popular amongst the players for mixing protein shakes and Frey is the one they turn to for advice.

Same, But Different

Team USA opened up the 2022 IIHF World Junior Championship Tuesday (Aug. 9) in Edmonton, Alberta, with a preliminary round win over Germany, 5-1. Five different players accounted for the teams five goals while 11 players picked up at least a point. Of those 11, four recorded a pair of points.

Approximately 1,337 miles away, the U.S. Under-17 Select Team opened up the Five Nations Tournament in Colorado Springs, Colo., against Germany and came out on top, 10-1. Fifteen U.S. players recorded at least a point, while six recorded at least a pair. Will Zellers led the U.S. Under-17 Select Team with a trio of goals. Zellers hometown is Maple Grove, Minn., the same hometown as captain of the U.S. National Junior Team Brock Faber.

The following day, the Select Team played its second game of the tournament against Switzerland, edging the Swiss by a score of 5-2. Back in Edmonton, the U.S. National Junior Team played its second game of the tournament against the Swiss and took home a 7-1 victory.

This or That with Brett Berard

Ocean or Lake? Ocean

Summer or Winter? Winter

White Tape or Black Tape? Black Tape

Dine out or Cook at Home? Dine Out

Dog or Cat? Dog

Spotify or Apple Music? Apple Music

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Movie or TV Series? Movie

Netflix or Hulu? Netflix

Early Bird or Night Owl? Night Owl

August 11 | Starting Off 2-0

Carter Mazur (Jackson, Mich.) scored twice and six U.S. players were credited with multi-point games en route to Team USA's 7-1 win over Switzerland, including a five-goal second period.

Thomas Bordeleau (Houston, Texas), Luke Hughes (Canton, Mich.) and Mazur all recorded three points with Mazur (2G, 1A) being named U.S. Player of the Game.

Kaidan Mbereko (Aspen, Colo.) started in net for the U.S. again and stopped 23 shots in the victory.

“I'm happy about the way we stuck with our game plan,” said Nate Leaman, head coach of the U.S. National Junior Team. “We took our game to the next level in the second period and came out with a good win.”

Up next for Team USA is a matchup against Austria on August 13 at 2 p.m. ET at Rogers Place. The U.S. will then return the next day (August 14) to round out preliminary round play against Sweden at 10 p.m. ET.

Game Highlights

August 10 | Settling Into A Routine

The team enjoyed a late breakfast this morning after a long evening at Roger Place last night. With an 8 p.m. puck drop, followed by a few lengthy video reviews in its 5-1 victory over Germany, players and staff didn’t arrive back to the hotel until 11:45 p.m. A variety of food was served, including hash browns, eggs, bacon, sausage and oatmeal, so the food isn’t that much different than the States.

With nearly a week under our belt here, most everyone has found themselves in a daily routine. The fitness room at the hotel has been used heavily by staff to work off breakfast and get a good sweat in.

Players either take the free time before practice to connect back home with family and friends, hang out in each other’s room or walk outside and see what Edmonton has to offer.

“Yeah, it’s definitely a little different being here opposed to the last ones,” said defenseman Tyler Kleven, who was in the bubble when Team USA won gold at the 2021 tournament and was part of the initial December team this year. “In 2021, we couldn’t see anything besides on our way to the rink so it’s pretty cool to see a new city. It helps a lot too that it’s 80 degrees here.”

Practice went as usual as the team worked on its game plan ahead of its second preliminary round game tomorrow against Switzerland. Center Thomas Bordeleau and head coach Nate Leaman talked to the media after practice.

Media availability is a short walk away from the team locker room and is set up in the Oilers Hall of Fame room. Wayne Gretzky’s old stall along with other mementos of the team’s history highlight the room.

Sibling Rivalry

The U.S. National Junior Team has seen all three Hughes brothers on the ice, with the youngest, Luke, on the current 2022 team. The oldest brother, Quinn, played in both the 2018 and 2019 tournament while Jack, the middle child, played in 2019. In 14 games, Quinn registered five assists while Jack appeared in four games and totaled four assists.

Luke played his first tournament game yesterday and recorded the teams opening goal along with one assist, making him the only Hughes brother to have scored a goal at the IIHF World Junior Championship. Luke also earned U.S. Player of the Game honors with the performance.

Hockey In The Desert

Forward Matt Knies has had an interesting journey to where he is today. Knies was born and raised in Phoenix, Ariz., but the Knies family has roots deeper than the Arizona desert. His mother, Michaela, and father, Miroslav, are originally from Bratislava, Slovakia. Knies and his brother, Phil, were raised with hockey in their lives at a very young age. Phil played for the USHL's Sioux City Musketeers where he won an Anderson Cup in 2017, while Matt played for the Tri-City Storm prior to the University of Minnesota.

Knies described hockey wasn’t huge in the area when he was growing up and that sports like baseball and football were among the popular ones to play. Most of his friends growing up would be on the football or baseball teams, but Knies had his eyes set on trying to make something work out of hockey.

The 6’3”, 212 winger, who has been described as a bull on the ice, wasn’t always that big though. Prior to the USHL draft, when Knies was 15 years old, he measured in around 5’6” and 160 pounds.

“It’s actually funny because I was the smallest guy on my team,” the Toronto Maple Leafs 2021 second round draft pick said. “I know it sounds hard to believe now but everyone was bigger than me at the time.”

Over that next year, Knies grew six inches and gained nearly 60 pounds to build the frame he's at now.

Hockey in the desert has grown over the past few years and American NHLer and star for the Toronto Maple Leafs Auston Matthews has helped that cause. Matthews, like Knies, grew up in Arizona and played youth hockey before he headed off to USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program.

A few years younger, Knies remembers vividly watching a young Matthews at the rink. Although he was young and small, Knies said he tried everything he could to impress Matthews, knowing how great of a hockey player he would become.

Now with an Olympic appearance and now a World Juniors appearance on his resume, Knies turns to his sophomore year at the University of Minnesota to help develop his game more before he eventually has the shot to play in Toronto with Matthews.

This or That With Matt Knies

Ocean or Lake? Lake

Summer or Winter? Summer

White Tape or Black Tape? White Tape

Dine out or Cook at Home? Dine Out

Dog or Cat? Dog

Spotify or Apple Music? Apple Music

Beach or Mountains? Beach

Movie or TV Series? TV Series

Netflix or Hulu? Netflix

Early Bird or Night Owl? Night Owl

August 9 | Opening With A Win Over Germany

The U.S. tallied three goals in the second period en route to a 5-1 win in its first preliminary game of the tournament. Behind a goal and an assist, along with 22:15 time on ice, Luke Hughes was named U.S. Player of the Game. Logan Cooley  scored the game-winning goal 18:01 into the first on the power play, with help from Matt Coronato and Jack Peart. Kaidan Mbereko started in net for the U.S. and stopped 10 of 11 shots faced.

“We really had a good start to the game, and I liked how we stuck with it throughout,” said Nate Leaman, head coach of the U.S. National Junior Team. “We had six or seven good chances and Germany’s goaltender was making good saves. We could’ve gotten frustrated, but we didn’t, and eventually guys got rewarded.”

Team USA will face Switzerland in preliminary round play on tomorrow (Aug. 11) at 8 p.m. MT at Rogers Place in Edmonton, Alberta, live on NHL Network.

Game Highlights

August 8 | Picture Perfect

The team enjoyed having an early, 10:45 a.m. practice to give them the afternoon to relax for the much-anticipated start of the preliminary round. The afternoon gave players and staff the opportunity to recharge with some sleep, do some extra mobility work and journey outside. It was 24 degrees Celsius, which equates to 75 degrees Fahrenheit back in the states and was complimented by a shining sun and a slight breeze which had many taking some time to get vitamin C.

After a powerplay meeting led by assistant coach Grant Potulny, head coach of the Northern Michigan Wildcats of the CCHA, the team took the 10-minute walk to Rogers Place to watch the final pre-tournament game in Canada vs Sweden.

Say Cheese! or not..

Prior to practice, players and staff had their tournament headshots taken and the big question, like always, is smile or no smile. It can be looked at in two ways, it’s either: A) Here strictly for business.. which usually equates to no smile, or B) I’m happy to be here.. which can lead to a smile.

Although there’s differing opinions on whether to smile or not, it’s known that either way, every player, coach and staff member has the same goal in mind, which is to go and win gold. That long journey, that’s been nearly eight months in the making since the World Juniors was brought to a halt in December, begins tomorrow against Germany. Everyone’s excited about the game, which starts at 10:00 p.m. ET and can be seen live on NHL Network, and ready to get the tournament rolling.

“We’re a really close-knit team,” said Red Savage, one of the original members of the December 2022 group, said. “We’re just excited for each other and excited to get started.”

The Stage Is Set

Presented by Chipotle

Connaissez-vous le Français?

Thomas Bordeleau, alternate captain of Team USA, spoke to a Montreal-based news outlet after practice today. What makes this interview different than others was Bordeleau recognized the outlet and knew that he can speak in his native tongue which is French.

The center for the San Jose Sharks was born in Houston, Texas, but Bordeleau grew up in Switzerland where his father, Sebastien Bordeleau, played in the Swiss League. His father also spent time in the NHL and played for Montreal Canadiens, Nashville Predators, Arizona Coyotes and Minnesota Wild.

Bordeleau grew up speaking French from his father who has represented France at the Olympic and World Championship level. A big influence on his hockey career, Bordeleau recalls times where he would watch his dad play and see him in the locker room.

A bit of a different turn for the family, with Bordeleau seeing the potential at USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program, he showed his American birth certificate and was a force to be reckoned with.

Followed by his 85 points in 103 games (32G, 53A), Bordeleau skated for the University of Michigan Wolverines for two seasons. With a condensed schedule his freshman year due to COVID-19, followed by a journey to the Frozen Four, Bordeleau amassed 67 points in 61 NCAA games (20G, 47A) and was named Big Ten Rookie of the Year, recipient of the Tim Taylor Award which is given to the Top Collegiate Rookie, a Big Ten Second Team All-Star selection, named to the Big Ten All-Rookie Team and was a Big Ten Champion.

Following his successful collegiate stint, Bordeleau signed a professional contract with the San Jose Sharks who drafted him in the second round of the 2020 NHL Draft. In eight NHL games, he assisted on five goals while having three assists in two games with its AHL affiliate, the San Jose Barracuda.

His journey to the World Juniors was tough though, not being able to compete in 2021 and the eventual shutdown 2022 tournament due to COVID-19. He was finally able to put on the Team USA jersey at the Men’s World Championship this year, totaling two goals in eight games, but he couldn’t be more excited to represent his country on one of the biggest stages.

This or That with Thomas Bordeleau

Ocean or Lake? Lake

Summer or Winter? Winter

White Tape or Black Tape? White tape

Dine out or Cook at Home? Cook at home

Dog or Cat? Dog

Spotify or Apple Music? Spotify

Beach or Mountains? Beach

Movie or TV Series? TV Series

Netflix or Hulu? Netflix

Early Bird or Night Owl? Night owl

August 7 | Play the Hits!

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.”

The Final 25

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.

We’re Talkin’ About Practice!

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.”

O Captain! My Captain!

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.”

This or That with Wyatt Kaiser

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

August 6 | Wrapping Up Pre-Tournament Play With A Win

Red Savage 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, Savage, Carter Mazur and Charlie Stramel 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 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. "We had a great start to the game and kept up that momentum throughout.

August 5 | Pre-Tournament Action Gets Underway

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 and Red Savage 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. “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, who played the first two periods in goal for the U.S., finished with 20 saves on 24 shots. Remington Keopple played the third and stopped six of the seven shots he faced.

August 4 | Delay, Delay, Delay...

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 and Nate LaPoint, along with athletic trainers Stan Wong and Jason Hodges 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.

Reloading For A New Opportunity

Presented, by Chipotle

August 3 | Shippin’ Up To Edmonton

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 and Ian Moore 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 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.

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