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Five Players Relishing International Debuts at 2018 MWC

05/16/2018, 8:45am EDT
By Pat Durant

Coleman, Darling, Gibbons, Lindgren & Oesterle All Representing Team USA For The First Time in Denmark

HERNING, Denmark – Winning games makes everything better, but for a handful of players just having the opportunity to represent Team USA for the first time has already made this trip to Denmark an unforgettable experience.

Five members of the 2018 U.S. Men’s National Team are making their international debuts, including forwards Blake Coleman (Plano, Texas) and Brian Gibbons (Braintree, Mass.), goaltenders Scott Darling (Lemont, Ill.) and Charlie Lindgren (Lakeville, Minn.) and defenseman Jordan Oesterle (Dearborn Heights, Mich).

“This has always been a bucket list item for me,” said Darling, who earned the win in goal last Friday (May 11) in Team USA’s 13-1 win over Korea. “My dad served in the U.S. Army, and being a proud American has always been something my family has taken a lot of pride in. When I got the call, I couldn’t have been more excited and I’m happy to be a part of this entire experience.”

That excitement is echoed by Gibbons, who is coming off a career year with the New Jersey Devils in which he posted 12 goals and 14 assists in 59 games.

“It’s obviously a tremendous honor,” said Gibbons. “It’s something I wasn’t expecting when our season ended in New Jersey but I was excited when I got the call. I jumped on it right away. So far, it’s been a great experience meeting new guys and playing alongside players I’ve normally played against. The team has had a lot of success which obviously makes everything more enjoyable too.”


Scott Darling backstopped the U.S. to a win over Korea in its international debut

Like every year, one of the more exciting aspects of the 2018 IIHF Men’s World Championship for the players has been the comradery of the fans. Team USA has played the entirety of its preliminary round in Herning, Denmark, a relatively small (population: 49,229) city on the Jutland peninsula. Both in the rink and on the streets of Herning, hockey fans from across the world have not taken a break from showing tremendous enthusiasm for both sport and country.

“Herning has been great,” said Coleman, who has collected a goal and an assist at the event for the U.S. “The fans are really into it and that makes the atmosphere fun. Having never been to Europe, this has really been a unique experience and something I’ll always remember.”

The passion shown here in Herning reminds Gibbons of his time at Boston College, where he helped the Eagles win the 2008 and 2010 NCAA National Championships.

“It’s very much like college where you have the student crowds going back and forth with chants throughout the game,” said Gibbons, who also served as an alternate captain on The Heights in 2010-11 and was a 2010 First-Team Hockey East All-Star. “You can tell the fans have a ton of pride, and it’s not just about wins or losses, it’s just about the experience of coming here and supporting your country no matter what.”

With six wins under its belt and a second-place finish in Group B, Team USA now looks to build off its success in the preliminary round as it enters tomorrow’s quarterfinals, where it will face the Czech Republic, third-place finisher in Group A. That game is set for a 4:15 p.m. local time (10:15 a.m. ET) puck drop live on NHL Network.

“To be around this group of guys has been incredible, said Darling. “You see them and play against them, but I’ve never really gotten to know them. We have a great group with tons of character and talent. I’m excited to see what’s to come.”

NHL Network is the exclusive U.S. rightsholder for the tournament. For complete coverage of the 2018 U.S. Men’s National Team, click here.

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U.S. Schedule

Date Opponent Round Time (Local/ET)/Result Location
Tues., May 1 Denmark Exhibition W, 3-2 KVIK Hockey Arena
Herning, Denmark
Fri., May 4 Canada Preliminary W, 5-4 (SO) Jyske Bank Boxen
Herning, Denmark
Sat., May 5 Denmark Preliminary W, 4-0 Jyske Bank Boxen
Herning, Denmark
Mon., May 7 Germany Preliminary W, 3-0 Jyske Bank Boxen
Herning, Denmark
Thurs., May 10 Latvia Preliminary W, 3-2 (OT) Jyske Bank Boxen
Herning, Denmark
Fri., May 11 Korea Preliminary W, 13-1 Jyske Bank Boxen
Herning, Denmark
Sun., May 13 Norway Preliminary W, 9-3 Jyske Bank Boxen
Herning, Denmark
Tues., May 15 Finland Preliminary L, 2-6 Jyske Bank Boxen
Herning, Denmark
Thurs., May 17 Czech Republic Quarterfinals W, 3-2 Jyske Bank Boxen
Herning, Denmark
Sat., May 19 Sweden Semifinals L, 0-6 Royal Arena
Copenhagen, Denmark
Sun., May 20 Canada Bronze-Medal Game W, 4-1 Royal Arena
Copenhagen, Denmark

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