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WJC Notebook: Team USA Arrives in Finland

By, 12/20/15, 12:15PM EST


Team USA Hits the Ice in Vierumaki, Finland

The U.S. National Junior Team arrived in Helsinki, Finland, early Sunday morning and traveled two hours to Vierumaki where it will continue its training camp in preparation of the 2016 International Ice Hockey Federation World Junior Championship. The team is staying at the Vierumaki Olympic Training Center and hit the ice for its first practice in Finland.

The 2016 IIHF World Junior Championship will mark the first time Team USA will return to Helsinki, where the team won its first-ever gold medal on the world junior championship level in 2004. The core of that team included current NHL stars Ryan Kesler, Zach Parise, Drew Stafford and Ryan Suter. Parise, whose 11 points led the tournament, joined U.S. goaltender Al Montoya on the tournament all-star team and took home the awards for best forward and tournament MVP.

On Tuesday (Dec. 22), Team USA will travel 30 minutes away to Lahti, Finland, where it will face host country, Finland, in an exhibition game at Isku Arena.

Last Friday (Dec. 19), the U.S. National Junior Team shut out UMass, 4-0, at Mullins Center in Amherst, Massachusetts. The line of Christian Dvorak (Palos, Ill./London Knights), Sonny Milano (Massapequa, N.Y./Lake Erie Monsters) and Colin White (Hanover, Mass./Boston College) notched six points in the victory. For a full game recap, click here.

Following Friday's contest, USA Hockey announced the 27-player U.S. preliminary roster was trimmed to 24 as forward Kieffer Bellows (Edina, Minn./U.S. National Under-18 Team), defenseman Casey Fitzgerald (North Reading, Mass./Boston College); and goaltender Tyler Parsons (Chesterfield, Mich./London Knights) were released. An updated roster can be found here. Two more cuts are expected to be made by Dec. 24 before the start of the tournament.

The U.S. National Junior Team concluded its Boston Camp on Friday (Dec. 18). Camp began last Monday (Dec. 14) with a team meeting at the Royal Sonesta Hotel in the Boston area with 27 candidates vying for a spot on the 2016 U.S. National Junior Team. The U.S. had a camp at Boston University from Dec. 15-18 that culminated in its 4-0 victory over UMass.

Dr. Phil Johnson joined Team USA late Thursday (Dec. 17) night in Boston. 'Doc' is serving as the team physician for the U.S. National Junior Team for the 12th consecutive year.

On Thursday night, the players and coaching staff attended the 2015 U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame Induction at the Renaissance Waterfront Hotel in Boston where Ron DeGregorio, Chris Drury, Angela Ruggiero and Mathieu Schneider were inducted as the Class of 2015. Each inductee took time during the night wish the players and coaching staff good luck in the upcoming tournament.

There are several connections between the U.S. National Junior Team and this year’s U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame inductees. Ron Wilson, head coach of the 2016 U.S. National Junior Team, served as head coach for Team USA at the inaugural 1996 World Cup of Hockey where Mathieu Schneider and Chris Chelios, assistant coach of the 2016 U.S. National Junior Team, helped the United States claim the championship. Also on that team was Keith Tkachuk, whose son, Matthew, is one of the 27 candidates looking to represented the United States at the 2016 IIHF World Junior Championship in Helsinki, Finland.

Chelios, Schneider and Tkachuk were joined by U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame Class of 2015 inductee Chris Drury as members of the 2006 U.S. Olympic Men’s Ice Hockey Team that competed in the 2006 Olympic Winter Games in Torino, Italy. Wilson, who coached the quarter in 2006, also coached Drury and the 2010 U.S. Olympic Men’s Ice Hockey Team to a silver medal at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Additionally, Chelios and Tkachuk were inducted into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame as part of the Class of 2011.

USA Hockey will announce the final roster for the 2016 U.S. National Junior Team by Dec. 24 … Use the hashtag #USAWJC on Twitter to join the conversation about the 2016 U.S. National Junior Team … Following its time in Boston, the U.S. will move to Vierumaki, Finland, where it will continue preparations for the 2016 IIHF World Junior Championship. The camp will include a game against Finland on Dec. 22 … Ron Wilson (Riverside, R.I.) is head coach of the 2016 U.S. National Junior Team. Wilson, who directed the U.S. Olympic Men’s Ice Hockey team to the silver medal at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games, ranks eighth all-time in National Hockey League history in wins, and is the all-time winningest American coach in NHL history … The assistant coaches for Team USA are Chris Chelios (Chicago, Ill./Detroit Red Wings), Danton Cole (Pontiac, Mich./USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program) and Kevin Reiter (Pittsburgh, Pa./USA’s Hockey’s NTDP) …Nick Siergiej (South Bend, Ind./University of Notre Dame) is the video coordinator … Jim Johannson (Colorado Springs, Colo.), USA Hockey’s assistant executive director of hockey operations, is serving as the general manager of Team USA for the seventh consecutive year … Ryan Martin (Simsbury, Conn./Detroit Red Wings) and Ben Smith (Gloucester, Mass./USA Hockey) are assisting with player evaluation during the Boston training camp ... USA Hockey’s international council, chaired by Gavin Regan (Potsdam, N.Y.), vice president of USA Hockey, has oversight responsibilities for all U.S. national teams ... At the 2016 IIHF World Junior Championship, the U.S. will compete in a group with Canada, Denmark, Switzerland and Sweden. All U.S. games will be broadcast live on NHL Network. For more information about the tournament, please click here.

More World Juniors News

Team USA Schedule

Date Opponent Location Result U.S. Player of the Game
Sat., Dec. 26 Canada Helsinki Ice Hall W, 4-2 Colin White
Mon., Dec. 28 Sweden Helsinki Ice Hall L, 0-1 Zach Werenski
Wed., Dec. 30 Switzerland Helsinki Ice Hall W, 10-1 Auston Matthews
Thu., Dec. 31 Denmark Helsinki Ice Hall W, 4-1 Brandon Carlo
Sat., Jan. 2 Czech Republic
Helsinki Ice Hall W, 7-0 Nick Schmaltz
Mon., Jan. 4 Russia
Hartwall Arena L, 1-2 Christian Dvorak
Tues. , Jan. 5 Sweden
Bronze Medal Game
Hartwall Arena W, 8-3 Anders Bjork

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