Saturday, April 3, 2010

USA Ready For U18s

USA Hockey recently released the names on its roster that will attempt to defend the gold medal they won in Grand Forks when the 2010 World U18 Championship gets going in Belarus later this month.

The official release can be found here with the full roster here.

The 22-man roster consists almost entirely of players involved with the US-NTDP. Forward Connor Brickley of the Des Moines Buccaneers (USHL) and forward Austin Watson of the Peterborough Petes (OHL) are the lone exceptions. Watson is a notable prospect eligible for the 2010 NHL Entry Draft who made the team despite his non-affiliation with the Ann Arbour program.

I was told by a few scouts that other 2010 prospects were considered and a couple of weeks ago, they were expected to be a part of the U18 team. EJHL Rookie of the Year Charlie Coyle and 2010 Mr. Hockey Award winner Nick Bjugstad are notable omissions from the final roster. I have read somewhere that Bjugstad may have declined an offer (sounds odd to me but if some can confirm, please leave a link in comments) but I've spoken briefly with Coyle and know that he's disappointed not to be a part of the club going to Belarus.

USA will ice a team with a lot of notable names, most aren't of the household variety just yet but will be over the next couple of years.

Goalie Jack Campbell nearly stole the show at the 2010 World Junior Championship in Saskatoon and will be a formidable opponent at the U18s. He's headed to the OHL's Windsor Spitfires next year.

Defencemen Derek Forbort and Jon Merrill, both guests on The Pipeline Show earlier this season, will play a big role for USA. Forbort is commited to North Dakota with Merril headed to Michigan.

Austin Czarnik, another potential Windsor reecruit for next year, is also on the roster. Jason Zucker, who you will hear from this coming Tuesday on TPS, will be a key contributor to American success.

Underage stars include Rocco Grimaldi and Brandon Saad, both listed without NCAA commitments as of yet, plus Tyler Biggs who is headed to the Miami RedHawks.

USA currently holds the gold medals from the U20s, U18s and WJAC.

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