Minnesota Golden Gopher players Hudson Fasching and Brady Skjei and Minnesota State University-Mankato freshman Zach Stepan have been named to the U.S. National Junior Team preliminary roster, joining Gopher head coach Don Lucia who is also leading this year's U.S. team in Sweden.
The 29-man roster will compete at USA Hockey’s training camp at Mariucci Arena Dec. 15-18. Camp will continue Dec. 19-23 in Angelhom, Sweden with the U.S. program’s final roster named Dec. 23. The final roster will then compete for the U.S.’s fourth medal in five years at the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship in Malmo, Sweden Dec. 26, 2013-Jan. 5, 2014. Team USA will compete in a group with Canada, Czech Republic, Germany and Slovakia.
Both Skjei and Fasching are products of the U.S. National Development Team Program (USNDTP) in Ann Arbor, Mich. Skjei, a sophomore defenseman from Lakeville, Minn., has skated in all 14 games for the Gophers this season and has four points (two goals, two assists) this season. Fasching, a freshman forward from Burnsville, Minn., is tied for the Big Ten rookie scoring lead with 14 points this season (six goals, eight assists).
Stepan, a Hastings, Minn., native is the cousin of New York Ranger's Derek Stepan who won gold with Team USA at the 2010 World Junior Championships.
Adding to the Minnesota flavor, this year's assistant coach on the bench with Lucia is St. Cloud State University head coach Bob Motzko.
Practice and scrimmages are open to the public with the following schedule:
Sunday, Dec. 15: PRACTICE at Mariucci 6:30-8 p.m. CT
Monday, Dec. 16: PRACTICE at Mariucci 10-11:13 a.m. CT
PRACTICE at Mariucci 5-6 p.m. CT
Tuesday, Dec. 17: PRACTICE at Mariucci 10-11:30 a.m. CT
SCRIMMAGE vs. Minnesota State University-Mankato at Verizon Wireless Arena, Mankato 7:37 p.m. CT
Wednesday, Dec. 18: PRACTICE at Mariucci 9:30-10:30 a.m. CT