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U.S. Men’s National Team is Determined to End Gold-Medal Drought at the World Championship

By Dan Scifo , 05/09/24, 4:15PM EDT


Team USA looking for first gold at a Men’s World Championship since 1933.

It has been more than 90 years since the U.S. Men’s National Team has claimed a gold medal at the IIHF Men’s World Championship.

The quest for gold begins on Friday in Ostrava, Czechia, as the U.S. opens the World Championship against Sweden. The tournament continues for the U.S. with preliminary-round games against Germany, Slovakia, France, Poland, Kazakhstan and Latvia before the quarterfinals begin on May 23.

“It would be special to the group that’s here to be able to have the dedication and perform at a level to compete in the gold-medal game,” said John Hynes, head coach of the U.S. Men’s National Team. “There’s a lot of hockey to be played and to get there is hard. It takes a lot of commitment and sacrifice to play at that high of a level. For us, it’s time to put in the work and see where it’s going to take us.”

Hynes, who is also the head coach of the Minnesota Wild, and the Americans hope that hard work takes them to an elusive gold medal. The U.S. won its only gold medal at the Men’s World Championship in 1933, a span of 91 years.

Furthermore, the U.S. last appeared in the gold-medal game in 1950, as the Americans claimed silver. The U.S. also won silver medals in 1931, 1934 and 1939.

“It would be amazing, and it would mean everything to us,” defenseman Zach Werenski said. “We’re here to win gold. It has been a long time and we’re hoping we’re the team that can change that and bring home the gold medal and get to that gold-medal game. I have confidence that we have the group to do that and get USA Hockey back to where we want to be.”

Though the U.S. hasn’t appeared in a gold-medal game in 74 years, there has been recent success. The Americans appeared in the bronze-medal game in seven of the last 10 World Championships. The U.S. won four of its eight bronze medals in the last 10 tournaments. In the last two tournaments, the U.S. has lost the bronze-medal game against Czechia and Latvia, respectively.

“It speaks volumes to how far USA Hockey has come, as we expect to be on the podium and finish in the top three every year,” said Werenski, who is also an alternate captain with the Columbus Blue Jackets. “We expect to win gold and anything less than that is unacceptable. That’s our mindset. We’re going to put in the work, we’re going to be dialed in and hopefully we can win that gold.”

This year’s U.S. team features more than 7,000 games of NHL experience and 14 first-round NHL draft picks, including Werenski, the No. 8 overallselection in the 2015 NHL Draft. The U.S. roster includes a combined 38 medals in international play, including 10 players who have previously played with the national team.

The roster also has multiple players who have been successful at the World Juniors and at the Under-18 World Championship level. The U.S. has won three of its six World Juniors gold medals since 2017 and eight golds in 15 years at the Under-18 Men’s World Championship.

The young core of Trey Augustine, Gavin Brindley, Ryan Leonard and Will Smith all won gold together at the most recent World Junior Championshipback in January. 

“We feel like we have really good leaders on this team and a lot of connections, whether they played together in the NHL, or they came up through minor league hockey, or the NTDP or the World Junior Championships,” Hynes said. “It’s a group that is focused and there’s a lot of talent and experience on the team. That’s great, but now we have tobecome a team. Teams with great players don’t win championships. Great teams do, and that’s what we’re looking to become.”

Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.

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