USA Hockey today announced the 22 players named to the 2008 U.S. National Junior Team. The squad will compete at the 2008 International Ice Hockey Federation World Junior Championship in Pardubice and Liberec, Czech Republic, Dec. 26, 2007 - Jan. 5, 2008.
Among the 12 forwards on the roster, five played for the 2007 U.S. National Junior Team that earned the bronze medal at the 2007 IIHF World Junior Championship in Leksand and Mora, Sweden. They include James vanRiemsdyk (Middletown, N.J./Univ. of New Hampshire), Bill Sweatt (Elburn, Ill./Colorado College), Mike Carman (Apple Valley, Minn./Univ. of Minnesota), Blake Geoffrion (Brentwood, Tenn./Univ. of Wisconsin) and Kyle Okposo (St. Paul, Minn./Univ. of Minnesota).
vanRiemsdyk, who was selected second overall in the 2007 National Hockey League Entry Draft by the Philadelphia Flyers, leads all University of New Hampshire freshmen with 15 points (6-9) through December 3. Sweatt ranks second among Colorado College point-getters with 13 (4-9). Okposo helped lead the University of Minnesota to both the regular-season and playoff championships of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association a year ago.
Standouts Max Pacioretty (New Canaan, Conn./Univ. of Michigan) and Jordan Schroeder (Prior Lake, Minn./U.S. National Under-18 Team) are also part of the U.S. lineup up front. Pacioretty, who was selected in the first round of the 2007 NHL Entry Draft by the Montreal Canadiens (22nd overall), has recorded five goals and 10 assists for the University of Michigan. Schroeder is atop the U.S. National Under-18 Team leader board with 16 points (7-9).
The eight-man defensive corps is highlighted by Jamie McBain (Faribault, Minn./Univ. of Wisconsin), Bobby Sanguinetti (Lumberton, N.J./Brampton Battalion), Jonathon Blum (Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif./Vancouver Giants) and Cade Fairchild (Duluth, Minn./Univ. of Minnesota).
McBain is the lone defensive returnee from the 2007 U.S. National Junior Team. Sanguinetti, the leading point-getter (17-23--40) among Ontario Hockey League blueliners, was a first-round pick of the New York Rangers in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft (21st overall). Blum leads all Western Hockey League defensemen with 33 points (7-26) and was selected in the first round of the 2007 NHL Entry Draft by the Nashville Predators (23rd overall). Fairchild leads all University of Minnesota defensemen with 10 points (2-8).
Minding the nets for Team USA will be Jeremy Smith (Brownstown, Mich./Plymouth Whalers) and Joe Palmer (Yorkville, N.Y./The Ohio State Univ.). Smith, who was USA Hockey’s 2007 Dave Peterson Goaltender of the Year Award recipient, leads the OHL with a .931 save percentage and has posted an 11-4-2 record with three shutouts. Palmer, who helped Team USA to the gold medal at the 2006 IIHF World Under-18 Championship, has appeared in 15 games for The Ohio State University and posted a 3.67 goals-against average with one shutout.
Visit usahockey.com for the complete roster and schedule.
NOTES: John Hynes (Dexter, Mich.), head coach of the U.S. National Under-18 Team within USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program, will serve as head coach of the 2008 U.S. National Junior Team. Keith Allain (North Branford, Conn./Yale University) and Patrick Foley (Charlestown, Mass./Harvard University) will serve as assistant coaches ... Team USA won a bronze medal at the 2007 IIHF World Junior Championship and has played for a medal in the event each of the last five years … Schroeder, born Sept. 29, 1990, is the youngest member of Team USA, while Brian Strait (Waltham, Mass./Boston Univ.), born Jan. 4, 1988, is the oldest … The United States will play two pre-tournament games prior to the 2008 World Junior Championship, including Dec. 18 against Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, Mich., and Dec. 22 against the Czech Republic in Ceska Trebova, Czech Republic … Team USA’s roster includes 13 players who have previously won gold medals in international competition (Carman, Fairchild, Ryan Flynn, Geoffrion, McBain, Kevin Montgomery, Palmer, Rhett Rakhshani, Strait, Chris Summers, Sweatt, vanRiemsdyk and Colin Wilson) and seven first-round NHL draft picks (Blum, Ian Cole, Okposo, Pacioretty, Sanguinetti, Summers and vanRiemsdyk) … The University of Minnesota leads all NCAA teams with four players on the 2008 U.S. National Junior Team, while the University of Michigan will send three players … A total of nine players currently play in the WCHA, five play in the Central Collegiate Hockey Association, three compete in the Hockey East Association, three come from the OHL, one from the WHL and one from USA Hockey’s NTDP … Sixteen members of the 2008 U.S. National Junior Team spent time with USA Hockey’s NTDP, including Carman, Cole, Fairchild, Flynn, Geoffrion, McBain, Montgomery, Palmer, Rakhshani, Matt Rust, Schroeder, Strait, Summers, Sweatt, vanRiemsdyk and Wilson … The 2008 IIHF World Junior Championship will feature the best athletes under the age of 20 on international teams including the United States, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Kazakhstan, Russia, Slovakia, Sweden and Switzerland … Referee Thomas Sterns (Minnetonka, Minn.) and linesman Peter Feola (Rochester, N.Y.) are the two officials from the United States who have been selected by the IIHF to officiate the 2008 World Junior Championship.