BUFFALO, N.Y. – Forward Luke Kunin (Chesterfield, Mo./University of Wisconsin) has been named captain of the 2017 U.S. National Junior Team it was announced today by USA Hockey.
In addition, forward Colin White (Hanover, Mass./Boston College) and defenseman Charlie McAvoy (Long Beach, N.Y./Boston University) were tabbed alternate captains of the squad.
"I couldn't be happier to have these three quality guys leading this locker room," said Bob Motzko, head coach of the 2017 U.S. National Junior Team. "We've been saying it every day that there's a pulse with this group. We know Luke, Charlie and Colin are at the center of that through their style of play and their tremendous amount of heart. We're fortunate to have them leading this team."
Drafted 15th overall by the Minnesota Wild at the 2016 NHL Draft, Kunin will captain Team USA for the second time after leading the U.S. Under-18 Men's National Team to a gold medal at the 2015 International Ice Hockey Federation Under-18 Men's World Championship in Zug and Lucerne, Switzerland. Kunin, who this season became the first sophomore in 41 years to be named captain of the University of Wisconsin's men's ice hockey team, leads with Badgers with 11 goals and ranks second in points (17) through 16 games. As a freshman last season, he led the Badgers with 19 goals and finished second in points (32) while earning Big Ten All-Freshman Team honors.
Last year, White was an alternate captain for the bronze medal-winning U.S. National Junior Team at the 2016 IIHF World Junior Championship in Helsinki, Finland where he registered seven points (3-4) in seven games and was named the U.S. Player of the Game in the tournament-opening 4-2 victory over Canada. Drafted 21st overall by the Ottawa Senators in the 2015 NHL Draft, the 2015-16 Hockey East Rookie of the Year is in his sophomore season with the Boston College Eagles where he leads the team in goals (10) and ranks third in points (17).
Last year, McAvoy skated in all seven games as Team USA earned the bronze medal at the 2016 IIHF World Junior Championship in Helsinki, Finland. Drafted by the Boston Bruins 14th overall at the 2016 NHL Draft, one spot above Kunin, McAvoy was also on the gold medal-winning Team USA squad at the 2015 IIHF Under-18 Men's World Championship. A Hockey East All-Rookie Team member with the Boston University Terriers last season, McAvoy currently ranks second on the Terriers in assists (11) and tied for fourth in points (12) thus far in his sophomore campaign.
NOTES: 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 ... Team USA is in Buffalo, New York, through Dec. 20 for its first pre-tournament training camp ... The U.S. will also train in Oshawa, Ontario, Dec. 20-24, and compete in pre-tournament games against Switzerland on Dec. 21 at the Tribute Communities Centre in Oshawa, Ontario, and against the Czech Republic on Dec. 23 at the in Kingston, Ontario. Both games are set for 7 p.m. ET puck drops ... Use the hashtag #USAWJC on Twitter to join the conversation about the 2017 U.S. National Junior Team ... At the 2017 IIHF World Junior Championship, the U.S. will compete in a group with Canada, Latvia, Russia and Slovakia. All U.S. games will be broadcast live on NHL Network. For more information about the tournament, visit teamusa.usahockey.com/worldjuniors2017.