The NAHL recently announced they would be sending a team to the Sirius Junior Club World Cup. This will be an opportunity for the best NAHL players in the league to represent not only their country, but also their league. The games will be played in Sochi, Russia from August 23rd till the 31st. This tournament pits junior leagues from all over the world against each other and gives them the opportunity to size themselves up against like competition. It will be round-robin style along with 7th and 5th place games before the semi-finals and finals.
The NAHL also recently released the roster for the NAHL squad. The NAHL determined that each team choose one player to represent them (24 man roster, 24 teams in the league). The roster for the NAHL is as follows:
#6 Brandon Lajoie (Kenai River Brown Bears)
#8 Nate Horn (Minnesota Wilderness)
#9 Austin McCarthy (Topeka Pilots)
#10 Jack Conroy (Odessa Jackalopes)
#11 Carter Hottmann (Janesville Jets)
#15 Garrett Dahm (Austin Bruins)
#17 John Jaworski (Northeast Generals)
#18 Austin Jouppi (Bismark Bobcats)
#19 Max Borst (Maryland Black Bears)
#21 Nick Trela (Amarillo Bulls)
#22 Gabe Temple (WIlkes-Barre/Scranton Knights)
#23 Andrew DeCarlo (Lone Star Brahmas)
#26 Billy Feczko (Shreveport Mudbugs)
#28 Killian Kiecker-Olson (Chippewa Steel)
#3 Tyler Love (Corpus Christi IceRays)
#4 Chris Trouba (Johnstown Tomahawks)
#7 Sam Skinner (Minot Minotauros)
#14 Jake Beaune (Aberdeen Wings)
#16 Colin Stein (Minnesota Magicians)
#20 Alex Murray (St. Cloud Blizzard)
#25 Brody Medeiros (New Jersey Titans)
#29 Seth Bergeron (Jamestown Rebels)
#32 Mattias Sholl (Fairbanks Ice Dogs)
#35 Jack Williams (Springfield Jr. Blues)
HC- Scott Langer (Aberdeen Wings)
Assistant Coach- Rocky Russo (Amarillo Bulls)
The NAHL teams first game will be an exhibition game against Krylya Sovetov. A Russian Jr hockey team from, what I believe, is called the JHL? Krylya Sovetov finished 9th in the western conference and missed a playoff spot by 2 points last season. Puck drops on Monday, August 19th 5:00am Central time. (Yikes).
After that, their first round robin game will be against Oulun Karpat. This is a team that plays in a Finnish junior league that is called the Champions Hockey League where they were eliminated in the league quarterfinals this past season. This game starts Saturday, August 24th at 11:00am Central Time.
The games only get more challenging as the team they play next is the team that eliminated Oulun Karpat from the playoffs. That would be Red Bull Salzburg. Salzburg was eventually eliminated in the semi-finals by a different Red Bull team. Game scheduled for Monday, August 26th at 11:00am CST.
The last round robin game is against HC Ocelari Trinec. They are champions of the Czech Extraliga junior league that they played in last year. So there's that. Wednesday August 28th 11:00am CST.
It's interesting to note that the NAHL is sending a guy from each team to go play against these teams that have played an entire season together and whom presumably have chemistry. None of the teams they are playing are teams compiled of a guys from different teams in the league. So it will be interesting to see if the NAHL can match up against these Finnish, Russian, and Slovakian teams. On another note, all information compiled on their opponents is based on google's ability to translate the previously mentioned languages of those countries. I believe HC Ocelari Trinec won a championship based on the fact that when you go to their website, the first thing you see is a team (presumably, theirs) gathered together for the trophy pic.
It's great to see these young men get the opportunity to have this experience. I like the fact that the NAHL is reaching out and seeing how they size up against the international hockey community. If the games are broadcast on hockeytv, I plan to watch every game. Good luck to the boys from the NAHL and have a blast playing hockey in Russia!