USA Hockey today announced the completion of its roster for the upcoming 2005 International Ice Hockey Federation World Junior Championship, adding 10 players to the preliminary list released last month. The United States will enter the tournament as defending champion after skating to its first gold medal in the 27-year history of the event in Finland last year.
The U.S. will defend the gold on home soil, with this year’s tournament taking place from Dec. 25, 2004, through Jan. 4, 2005, in Grand Forks, N.D., and Thief River Falls, Minn.
Highlighting the list of new additions are seven 2004 National Hockey League draftees, including four drafted in the top two rounds. In total, prospects from 13 of the 30 NHL teams will suit up for the United States.
Among the top names of the 10 that were selected is Boston University forward Chris Bourque. The son of Bruins legend Ray Bourque, Chris has recorded 12 points (3-9-12) in 15 games for BU this season. Bourque was a second-round pick of the Washington Capitals last June. A first-round pick, Robbie Schremp, who plays for London of the OHL and is a native of Fulton, N.Y., also made the cut.
Boston College freshman Cory Schneider was chosen to back up Michigan’s Al Montoya in net. Montoya was the goaltender last year when the U.S. won gold. Vancouver’s first selection in 2004, Schneider owns a 3-0-3 mark with a .920 save percentage and a 1.92 goals against average on the season so far.
Michigan forward Kevin Porter (Detroit, Mich.), a 2004 Phoenix Coyote draftee, brings the number of Wolverines on the roster to five. Michigan is one of three universities sending multiple players to the tournament, joining Wisconsin and Minnesota, which each have two players on the roster.
The two Minnesota players were added today: defenseman Alex Goligoski and Nate Hagemo. Goligoski was selected by the Pittsburgh Penguins in June’s Entry Draft. Hagemo will be eligible in 2005.
USA Hockey National Team Development Program standout Phil Kessel is the youngest player on the roster. Kessel, a 17-year-old from Madison, Wis., and one of the most highly sought after college recruits that has still not signed, has 15 goals and 27 points in 11 games for the NTDP this year. Moorhead High School defenseman Brian Lee, also a 17-year-old, will make the short trip to Grand Forks after opening the season with eight points (4-4-8) in just two games.
Rounding out the roster additions are Clarkson forward Shawn Weller and St. Cloud State defenseman Casey Borer. Both were third round NHL draftees in 2004 with Borer going to Carolina and Weller to Ottawa.
Among the prominent names overlooked were Wisconsin forward Robbie Earl, a former USNDTP player who leads the Badgers in scoring and had two goals and an assist in two wins last weekend against Minnesota-Duluth, a team coached by Team USA coach Scott Sandelin.
A media conference call with Sandelin and other USA Hockey executives is scheduled for today at 2 p.m. EST (1 p.m. CST). More details will be available then.