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USA Hockey announces 2004 World Junior Championship roster

December 8, 2003 - United States Hockey League (USHL) News Release

USA Hockey announced its 2004 U.S. National Junior Team roster today. The squad will compete at the 2004 World Junior Championship from Dec. 26, 2003 through Jan. 5, 2004 in Helsinki and Hameenlinna, Finland.

The preliminary roster, released in late October, named 16 players, including 10 returners.

Highlighted on that list was University of Denver defenseman Matt Carle, the USHL’s Defenseman of the Year while with the River City Lancers in 2002-03.

Carle skated in 59 games with the Lancers in 2002-03, registering 12 goals and 30 assists. He was subsequently selected in the second round of the NHL draft by the San Jose Sharks, the 47th pick overall.

Joining the preliminary group will be four forwards and two defensemen. Of the six final additions to the roster, one is a former USHL star with the Chicago Steel, Illinois native Danny Richmond.

A defenseman, Richmond claimed USHL Rookie of the Year honors in 2001-02, a season during which he finished as the USHL’s leading scorer among defensemen with 53 points in 56 games.

He was drafted one year later, after a season at the University of Michigan, by the Carolina Hurricanes who invited Richmond to training camp this season. After camp, Richmond left Michigan for London of the Ontario Hockey League.

“The addition of these six outstanding young players now completes a well-balanced roster for USA Hockey,” said U.S. Junior National Team Head Coach Mike Eaves. “The experience and talent of this team will maximize our chances for success at the IIHF World Junior Championship in Finland.”

On the international front, the Slovakian Ice Hockey Federation has announced that Tri-City’s Rastislav Spirko will once again skate for his native country at the World Junior Championship. The USHL’s leading goal scorer thus far in 2003-04 with 18 in 24 games, Spirko played on the first line with the Slovakians at last year’s WJC, helping the squad to a fifth-place finish.

The USHL, America’s Tier I League, has figured prominently in the selection of Team USA and top international teams since the league’s inception. Carle, Richmond and Spirko will be the 41st, 42nd and 43rd members of the USHL to compete at the World Junior Championship.

“The World Junior Championship is a terrific event and a terrific chance for these athletes to shine,” said USHL President Gino Gasparini. “It’s a great experience and we wish the best of luck to Matt, Danny and Rastislav.”

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