When Don Lucia was named the head coach of the U.S. World Junior Championships team back in March, questions were immediately brought up about how many of his own players he would bring with him to the tournament in Malmo, Sweden. With the announcement of the preliminary roster on Wednesday, the answer is two.
Freshman Hudson Fasching and Sophomore Brady Skjei will be the two representatives from Minnesota that will accompany Lucia to the tournament set to begin on Dec. 26 and conclude on Jan. 5, 2014. The duo of Gophers are a part of a 26 player preliminary roster that will be trimmed down to 23 players by Dec. 23.
Multiple Gophers were in the mix for the Under-20 tournament, but Lucia wisely chose one forward and defenseman as to not deplete his roster for the Mariucci Classic. This has been a conundrum in the past as the usually loaded Minnesota roster generally sends multiple players to Team U.S.A. over the holidays.
Fasching and Skjei are no strangers to the international hockey scene as both have participated in the U.S. National Team Development Program in Ann Arbor, Mich — they also participated in Under-18 World Championships.
Training camp for the preliminary roster will take place Dec. 15-18 at Mariucci Arena. Practices will be open to the public and will be a fantastic showcase of some of the top young talent in the country.
According to the national team general manager, Jim Johannson, more players may be named to the roster after this weekend’s slate of college hockey games.
Team U.S.A captured the gold medal at last year’s WJC and are a favorite again for the top of the podium. Hopefully with the help of a few local products, the Americans will capture the gold once again.