The World Junior A Challenge will kick off December 7 in Dawson Creek, British Columbia. Team USA has released their 21-man roster which includes players only from the USHL (United States Hockey League). The USHL is the premier junior hockey league for players who are ages 16 to 20 years old.
Making up Team USA are 12 forwards, seven defensemen, and two goalies, including three 2019 NHL Draft picks. The 2019 draft picks include forward Rhett Pitlick, drafted by the Montreal Canadiens in round 5, #131 overall. Defenseman Michael Koster, drafted by the Toronto Maple Leafs in round 5, #146 overall. Goaltender Ethan Haider, drafted by the Nashville Predators in round 4, #148 overall.
Also included on the roster are nine players who were listed on the NHL Central Scouting Rankings for the 2020 NHL Draft. B-rated skaters include Mitch Miller, Luke Reid, and Ryder Rolston. C-rated skaters include Brendan Brisson, Sean Farrell, Trevor Kuntar, Alex Laferriere, Ben Meehan, and Grant Silianoff.
The Coaching Staff
The head coach of Team USA will be Anthony Noreen of the USHL’s Tri-City Storm, assistant coach Mark Abalan of the Sioux City Musketeers, assistant coach Shane Fukushima of the Waterloo Black Hawks, and assistant coach David Wilkie of the Omaha Lancers. This coaching staff has had tremendous success for Team USA leading them to eight gold medal victories in 13 appearances.
Team USA will take on Canada East on December 5 in a pre-tournament game in Chetwynd, British Columbia. Their first four games come against Canada West, the Czech Republic, Canada East, and Russia. The semifinals begin on December 14, and the third-place and championship games take place on December 15. This is the 13th year the US will compete in the tournament and is looking to win back-to-back titles for the third time.
Up Next for the Team
After the Junior A Challenge, Team USA will head to Ostrava and Trinec, Czech Republic for the 2020 IIHF World Junior Championship from December 26 through January 5. Other countries that will take place in the tournament include Russia, Canada, the Czech Republic, Germany, Finland, Switzerland, Sweden, Slovakia, and Kazakhstan.