COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – USA Hockey today announced the first 20 players for the U.S. Junior Select Team, which includes Illinois’ Tanner Laczynski (Shorewood) and William Knierim (Skokie), that will compete in the 2015 World Junior A Challenge from Dec. 13-19 in Cobourg and Whitby, Ontario, Canada. The U.S. has won six of the last seven tournaments (2008-2010, 2012-14).
The group includes 13 forwards, six defensemen and one goaltender. An additional defenseman and goaltender will be added in the near future.
All players currently compete in the United States Hockey League, the only Tier I junior hockey league in the U.S.
Four players were selected in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft. Tampa Bay took both Ryan Zuhlsdorf(Edina, Minn./Sioux City Musketeers/150th) and Kris Oldham (Anchorage, Alaska/Omaha Lancers/153rd) in the fifth round, Edmonton drafted John Marino (North Easton, Mass./Tri-City Storm) in the sixth round (154th), and Detroit picked Chase Pearson (Alpharetta, Ga./Youngstown Phantoms) in the fifth round (140th).
Two players, Mitch Reinke (Stillwater, Minn./Cedar Rapids Roughriders) and Zuhlsdorf, helped the U.S. capture the 2014 World Junior A Challenge title.
In addition, five players competed in the CCM/USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game, an annual event featuring the top American players eligible for the NHL Entry Draft. Spenser Young(Brentwood, N.H./Dubuque Fighting Saints), Tanner Laczynski (Shorewood, Ill./Chicago Steel) and Pearson competed in the 2014 game, while Andrew Peeke (Parkland, Fla./Green Bay Gamblers) and William Knierim (Skokie, Ill./Dubuque Fighting Saints) competed in the 2015 event.
The U.S. will play an exhbition game against Canada East at 7:30 p.m. ET on Dec. 11 at the Duncan McDonald Memorial Community Gardens in Trenton, Ontario, Canada. Team USA will kick off tournament play when it takes on the Czech Republic at 7 p.m. ET on Dec. 14 at the Cobourg Community Centre.
Notes: To see the complete schedule and for full Team USA coverage, click here … Twelve USHL teams are represented on the roster. The Cedar Rapids RoughRiders lead the way with four players … The 20 players come from 11 different states. Minnesota boasts the most representatives with six, while Massachusetts follows with three … Marc Boxer (Colorado Springs, Colo.) will serve as general manager of the 2015 U.S. Junior Select Team. Cary Eades (Fargo, N.D./Fargo Force) will serve as head coach. Brian Kaufman (Shoreview, Minn./Omaha Lancers) and Dallas Steward (Chippewa Falls, Wis./Chicago Steel) are assistant coaches. Additionally,Phil Faught (Fargo, N.D./Fargo Force) will serve as trainer; Jason Smits (Muskegon, Mich./Muskegon Lumberjacks) as equipment manager; and Dr. Alan Ashare (Boston, Mass.) as team doctor … The World Junior A Challenge is in its tenth year, and the United States is competing for the ninth time … The 2015 field includes Canada East, Canada West, Czech Republic, Switzerland, Russia and the United States … USA Hockey’s international council, chaired by Gavin Regan (Potsdam, N.Y.), vice president of USA Hockey, has oversight responsibilities for all U.S. teams that compete internationally.