2009-10 U.S. National Under-18 Team Roster Unveiled
ANN ARBOR, Mich. - USA Hockey's National Team Development Program today announced the 22-player roster for its 2009-10 U.S. National Under-18 Team. The squad, comprised of some of the top American-born players born in 1992, will take on opponents from the United States Hockey League and NCAA Division I and Division III schools, as well as compete in three international competitions over the course of the season.
Highlighting the roster are five players that were part of the U.S. Men's National Under-18 Team that captured the gold medal at the 2009 International Ice Hockey Federation World Under-18 Championship in Fargo, N.D., and Moorhead, Minn. Included in that group are goaltender Jack Campbell (Port Huron, Mich.), an all-tournament selection in Fargo; defensemen Adam Clendening (Niagara Falls, N.Y.) and Jon Merrill (Brighton, Mich.); and forwards Matthew Nieto (Long Beach, Calif.) and Jason Zucker (Las Vegas, Nev.).
Eighteen players from last season's U.S. National Under-17 Team are returning for their second NTDP campaign including Campbell; defensemen Kevin Clare (New Rochelle, N.Y.), Clendening, Justin Faulk (St. Paul, Minn.), Stephen Johns (Wampum, Pa.), Merrill, Frankie Simonelli (Bensenville, Ill.) and Jarred Tinordi (Millersville, Md.); and forwards Chase Balisy (Fullerton, Calif.), Austin Czarnik (Washington, Mich.), Jacob Fallon (Southlake, Texas), Michael Mersch (Park Ridge, Ill.), Luke Moffatt (Paradise Valley, Ariz.), Nieto, Bryan Rust (Bloomfield Hills, Mich.), Nick Shore (Denver, Colo.), Shane Sooth (Canyon County, Calif.) and Zucker.
Four new players will join the U.S. National Under-18 Team for the 2009-10 campaign including goaltender Andy Iles (Ithaca, N.Y.), defenseman Derek Forbort (Duluth, Minn.), and forwards Bill Arnold (Needham, Mass.) and Brandon Saad (Gibsonia, Pa.).
Iles backstopped the Salisbury (Conn.) School to the 2009 Prep School title. Forbort, who also appeared with the U.S. National Under-17 Team at the 2009 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge in Port Alberni, B.C., was a standout defenseman for Duluth (Minn.) East High School in 2008-09. Arnold led Nobles and Greenough (Mass.) School with 55 points (28-27) in just 29 games last year. Saad, who was an all-tournament selection for the U.S. National Under-17 Team at the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge, was the North American Hockey League Rookie of the Year for the 2008-09 season as a member of the Mahoning Valley Phantoms.
Kurt Kleinendorst, who enters his first season at the NTDP, will serve as head coach of the Under-18 squad. John Wroblewski returns for his second season as the assistant coach, while Cole Bassett returns for his second stint as a graduate assistant.
The U.S. National Under-18 Team will open its season against the University of Waterloo (Ontario) on September 18, at the Ann Arbor Ice Cube at 7 p.m. ET.
NOTES: The U.S. National Under-18 Team will compete against 17 NCAA opponents, while playing a 26-game schedule in the United States Hockey League. Team USA players represent 12 different states. Michigan leads the way with four natives on the roster, while New York and California each boast three natives ... Seventeen members of Team USA have already verbally committed to NCAA Division I schools ... The Under-18 Team's season will conclude at the 2010 IIHF World Under-18 Championship in Minsk, Belarus. The U.S. will look to defend its gold medal, while trying to capture its unprecedented eighth consecutive medal at an IIHF World Under-18 Championship.
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