Twenty-seven players, including five members of the bronze-medal winning 2016 U.S. National Junior Team, have been named to the preliminary roster for the 2017 U.S. National Junior Team. The announcement was made today by USA Hockey on NHL Network's "NHL Now." The group is auditioning for a spot on the final 23-man roster that will represent the United States in the 2017 International Ice Hockey Federation World Junior Championship from Dec. 26, 2016 - Jan. 5, 2017, in Montreal and Toronto, Canada.
"This is a talented, versatile group of players that has found success across all levels of hockey," said Jim Johannson, USA Hockey's assistant executive director of hockey operations and the general manager of the 2017 U.S. National Junior Team. "There is depth at every position, and while we still have some difficult decision to make, we feel each of these players can fit the style of hockey Coach Motzko (U.S. head coach Bob Motzko) first implemented at our National Junior Evaluation Camp last August."
The players will attend training camp Dec. 16-20 at HarborCenter in Buffalo, New York, followed by an additional camp in Oshawa, Ontario, from Dec. 20-24. The U.S. will play pre-tournament games Dec. 21 against Switzerland at the Tribute Communities Centre in Oshawa, Ontario, and Dec. 23 against the Czech Republic at the Rogers K-Rock Centre in Kingston, Ontario.
Five camp invitees were members of the 2016 U.S. National Junior Team that earned the bronze medal at the 2016 IIHF World Junior Championship in Helsinki, Finland, including forwards Brock Boeser (Burnsville, Minn/University of North Dakota), Alex DeBrincat (Farmington Hills, Mich./Erie Otters) and Colin White (Hanover, Mass./Boston College); defensemen Chad Krys (Ridgefield, Conn./Boston University) and Charlie McAvoy (Long Beach, N.Y./Boston University).
Additionally, 13 invitees have won medals as members of the Team USA at the IIHF Under-18 Men's World Championship. Last season, Joey Anderson (Roseville, Minn./University of Minnesota Duluth), Logan Brown (St. Louis, Mo./Windsor Spitfires), Kieffer Bellows (Edina, Minn./Boston University), Adam Fox (Jericho, N.Y./Harvard University), Ryan Lindgren (Minneapolis, Minn./University of Minnesota) and Joseph Woll (St. Louis, Mo./Boston College) helped Team USA win bronze on home ice at the 2016 event in Grand Forks, North Dakota while Casey Fitzgerald (North Reading, Mass./Boston College), Caleb Jones (Frisco, Texas/Portland Winterhawks), McAvoy and White helped Team USA win gold at the 2015 championship in Zug and Lucerne, Switzerland. Additionally, Clayton Keller (St. Louis, Mo./Boston University), Jake Oettinger (Lakeville, Minn./Boston University), Chad Krys (Ridgefield, Conn./Boston University) were members of both medal-winning squads.
NOTES: The final 23-man roster is expected to be named by Dec. 24 ... All practices in Buffalo, New York, will take place at HarborCenter and are open to the public. For media credentials, click here ... A total of 24 players named to the preliminary roster have ties to the United States Hockey League, including 18 players who were members of USA Hockey's National Team Development Program ... Team USA has medaled in four of the last seven IIHF World Junior Championships, winning gold in 2010 and 2013, plus bronze in 2011 and 2016. The United States is seeking back-to-back medal finishes in tournament play for the second time ever (2010 - gold, 2011 - bronze) ... 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 eighth consecutive year ... Bob Motzko (St. Cloud, Minn.), the 2014 National Collegiate Hockey Conference Coach of the Year and two-time Western Collegiate Hockey Association Coach of the Year (2006, 2007) with St. Cloud State University's men's ice hockey program, is making his international head coaching debut with the U.S. National Junior Team ... Joining Motzko behind the bench are assistant coaches Greg Brown (Scituate, Mass.), Grant Potulny (Minneapolis, Minn.), Kris Mayotte (Pittsburgh, Pa.) and Steve Miller (Colorado Springs, Colo.) … Ryan Martin (Simsbury, Conn./Detroit Red Wings) and Ben Smith (Gloucester, Mass./USA Hockey) are assisting with player evaluation during 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 ... The 2017 International Ice Hockey Federation World Junior Championship will take place Dec. 26, 2016 - Jan. 5, 2017 in Montreal and Toronto, Canada. Team USA will play its preliminary-round games at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto against Canada, Latvia, Russia and Slovakia. Quarterfinals will be split between the Bell Centre in Montreal and Air Canada Centre. The semifinal and medal games will be played at the Bell Centre. For more information about the tournament, click here ... NHL Network is the exclusive U.S. TV home of the 2017 IIHF World Junior Championship and will provide live telecasts of all U.S. games and 23 games in total. NHL Now co-host Steve Mears, longtime NCAA hockey analyst Dave Starman and veteran reporter Jill Savage will provide commentary for every Team USA game. For more information, click here.