21 players to represent the U.S. at 2019 World Junior A Challenge from Dec. 7-15
USA Hockey announced today the 21 players named to the U.S. Junior Select Team that will participate in the 2019 World Junior A Challenge from Dec. 7-15 in Dawson Creek, B.C. The roster includes Illinois’ Luke Reid (Geneva) and Josh Lopina (Minooka).
All skaters on the 21-player roster (which includes 12 forwards, seven defensemen and two goaltenders) currently play in the United States Hockey League, the lone Tier I junior league in the U.S. For a complete roster, click here.
USA Hockey also announced that Anthony Noreen (Kearney, Neb.), head coach and president of hockey operations for the Tri-City Storm, will serve as head coach of the U.S. Junior Select Team at the tournament for the second consecutive year. Joining Noreen are assistants Mark Abalan (Sioux City, Iowa), Shane Fukushima (Waterloo, Iowa) and David Wilkie (Omaha, Neb.).
The U.S. will face Canada East in a pre-tournament exhibition game on Thursday, Dec. 5, at 9 p.m. ET before opening competition Saturday, Dec. 7, against Canada West at 9 p.m. ET.
ABOUT THE ROSTER
Connor Caponi (Brookfield, Wis./Waterloo Black Hawks), Mitch Miller (Sylvania, Ohio/Tri-City Storm) and Grant Silianoff (Edina, Minn./Cedar Rapids RoughRiders) return to defend the U.S. championship from last year’s World Junior A Challenge.
This year’s roster includes eight players who have skated for the U.S. internationally. Of those eight players, seven have skated on U.S. Select Teams, including five skaters who helped lead the U.S. to a first-place finish at the Under-17 Five Nations Tournament in Ostrava, Czech Republic, in 2017. In addition, Sean Farrell (Hopkinton, Mass./Chicago Steel) was a member of the 2019 U.S. Men’s National Under-18 Team that earned a bronze medal at the IIHF Under-18 Men’s World Championship last April in Ornskoldsvik and Umea, Sweden.
Two players have also competed in the BioSteel All-American Game, previously known as the USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game, an annual event featuring the top American players eligible for the NHL Draft. Michael Koster (Chaska, Minn./Tri-City Storm) and Silianoff (Edina, Minn./Cedar Rapids RoughRiders) each participated in last year’s event.
The U.S. Junior Select Team features three NHL Draft picks including Nashville Predators prospect Ethan Haider (Maple Grove, Minn./Sioux City Musketeers), Toronto Maple Leafs prospect Koster (Chaska, Minn./Tri-City Storm) and Montreal Canadiens prospect Rhett Pitlick (Chaska, Minn./Omaha Lancers).
In addition, NHL Central Scouting named nine rostered players to their most recent Players to Watch list in preparation for the 2020 NHL Draft including Brendan Brisson (Manhattan Beach, Cali./Chicago Steel), Sean Farrell (Hopkinton, Mass./Chicago Steel), Trevor Kuntar (Williamsville, N.Y./Youngstown Phantoms), Alex Laferriere (Chatham, N.J./Des Moines Buccaneers), Ben Meehan (Walpole, Mass./Cedar Rapids RoughRiders), Miller (Sylvania, Ohio/Tri-City Storm), Luke Reid (Geneva, Ill./Chicago Steel), Ryder Rolston (Birmingham, Mich./Waterloo Black Hawks) and Silianoff (Edina, Minn./Cedar Rapids RoughRiders).
This is the fourth time Noreen will serve on a U.S. Junior Select Team staff and his second consecutive stint as head coach. Last year, he led the U.S. to a championship at the World Junior A Challenge in Bonnyville, Alberta. He also served as an assistant coach during the 2017 tournament in Truro, Nova Scotia, when the U.S. claimed second place with a 4-0-0-2 (W-OTW-OTL-L) record.
Currently in his third season as head coach for the USHL’s Tri-City Storm, Noreen led the Storm to a 43-10-3-1 (W-L-OTL-SOL) regular-season record and the program’s first Anderson Cup, awarded to the USHL team with the best regular-season record, since 2004. Prior to the Storm, Noreen served as head coach for the ECHL’s Orlando Solar Bears for two seasons, and was head coach and general manager of the USHL’s Youngstown Phantoms for four seasons. In his last season with the Phantoms, the club won a USHL record 17-straight contests and took home the Anderson Cup, with Noreen being named the USHL Coach of the Year.
ABOUT ABALAN, FUKUSHIMA AND WILKIE
Abalan, who is in his second season in his current stint as associate head coach of the USHL’s Sioux City Musketeers, is serving on a U.S. Junior Select Team for the third time after coaching alongside Noreen with the 2018 squad that won the tournament. Fukushima, who is in his 14th season as an assistant coach with the USHL’s Waterloo Black Hawks, is also serving on a U.S. Junior Select Team for the third time. In his second stint as an assistant coach for the U.S. Junior Select Team, Wilkie is currently in his third season as head coach and general manager of the Omaha Lancers after serving as director of operations and head coach at the Omaha AAA Hockey Club for seven years. Wilkie skated for Team USA at the International Ice Hockey Federation World Junior Championship in 1993 and 1994.
NOTES: Nine USHL teams are represented on the roster. The Chicago Steel lead the way with four players, while the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders, Tri-City Storm and Waterloo Blackhawks each have three players on the roster … The 21 players represent 14 different states. Minnesota has the most representatives with five … Marc Boxer (Colorado Springs, Colo.), USA Hockey’s director of junior hockey, will serve as general manager of the 2019 U.S. Junior Select Team … The World Junior A Challenge is in its 14th year, and the U.S. is competing for the 13th time … The 2019 field features five teams, including Canada East, Canada West, the Czech Republic, Russia and the United States … Team USA has captured the World Junior A Challenge title eight times (2008-10, 2012-14, 2016, 2018) and has medaled in all 12 competitions it has participated in.