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Werenski To Captain 2016 U.S. Natl Jr Team

By USAHockey.com, 12/22/15, 8:45AM EST

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Belpedio, Matthews and White to Serve as Alternates

VIERUMAKI, Finland – Defenseman Zach Werenski (Grosse Pointe Woods, Mich./University of Michigan) has been named captain of the 2016 U.S. National Junior Team it was announced today by USA Hockey. 

In addition, defenseman Louie Belpedio (Skokie, Ill./Miami University) and forwards Auston Matthews (Scottsdale, Ariz./ZSC Lions) and Colin White (Hanover, Mass./Boston College) were tabbed alternate captains of the squad. Matthews will serve as an alternate captain for all Team USA home games while White will serve as an alternate for all Team USA away games. 

"We're excited about our leadership group here in Finland," said Ron Wilson, head coach of the 2016 U.S. National Junior Team. "Zach, Louie, Auston and Colin have led by example since day one in Lake Placid this August and have the respect of everybody in the room."

Werenski, who becomes the second youngest player ever to captain a U.S. National Junior Team, tallied a goal and an assist as a member of the 2015 U.S. National Junior Team that finished fifth in last year's tournament. An alternate captain for the 2014 U.S. National Under-17 Team that claimed the 2014 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge in Sydney, Nova Scotia, Werenski was selected eighth overall by the Columbus Blue Jackets in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft and currently leads all University of Michigan defensemen in points this season with 12 (4-8). Belpedio served as captain for the 2014 U.S. National Under-18 Team that captured the gold medal at the IIHF U18 Men's World Championship in Lappeenranta, Finland. Additionally, Matthews and White were alternate captains for the gold medal-winning 2015 U.S. National Under-18 Team that competed in the IIHF U18 Men's World Championship in Zug and Lucerne, Switzerland.

NOTES: Team USA faces Finland today at noon ET at Isku Arena in Lahti, Finland ... At 18 years, 5 months and 7 days old when the 2016 IIHF World Junior Championship starts, Zach Werenski(Grosse Pointe Woods, Mich.) becomes the second youngest player ever to captain a U.S. National Junior Team. Last year, Jack Eichel (North Chelmsford, Mass.) became the youngest player ever to captain a U.S. National Junior Team at 18 years, 1 month, 28 days old ... For a complete list of U.S. National Junior Team captains since 1985, click here ... 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 ... 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 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), Kelly Miller (East Lansing, Mich./Michigan State University) and Ben Smith (Gloucester, Mass./USA Hockey) will assist with player evaluation throughout the tournament ... 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.

Sirius XM Q&A with Zach Werenski

Sirius XM Q&A with Auston Matthews

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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
Quarterfinals
Helsinki Ice Hall W, 7-0 Nick Schmaltz
Mon., Jan. 4 Russia
Semifinals
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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