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USA Roster announced for World Juniors Buffalo

Filed under: Puck Stop

There are still 18 days before the first puck drops for this year’s World Juniors hockey tournament, but excitement is already building for what should be an epic, once in a lifetime event here in Buffalo.

Officials from USA Hockey were present today at HSBC Arena to unveil the preliminary roster for Team USA. The 44 players who assembled in Lake Placid this summer to compete for roster spots has been pared down to 29. The final roster of 22 players will be announced in two weeks, as the team will open up a training camp in Troy, NY on December 17.

Goaltender Jack Campbell of the Windsor Spitfires will be one of eight returning players from the 2010 gold medal championship squad.

General Manager Jim Johansson reported that 13 states are represented on this year’s preliminary roster, including four players from California. “Gone are the days when this was a Minnesota-Michigan-Massachusetts squad,” said Johansson.

Two defensemen worth watching include Adam Clendening, a Boston University player who comes from Niagara Falls, NY. It will be hard to miss Jamie Oleksiak of Northeastern University. Just short of his 18th birthday, Oleksiak stands at 6’7″ tall and weighs 240#. “Many are comparing him to guys like Chara and Myers'” said Johansson.

Brandon Saad of the Saginaw Spirit will be eligible for the 2011 NHL draft. “He can score goals and will be a top five pick next year,: Johannson predicted.

The USA team will play three exhibition games leading up to the tournament. On December 19 they will face the Rensselaer men’s team in Troy. Two nights later they play Team Czech in Rochester at Monroe Community College. Then on the 23rd they travel to Savings Bank Arena in Jamestown to face off against Team Norway. The tournament kicks off for real with four games on tap for December 26, a tripleheader at HSBC Arena starting at 12:30PM, and one game at Dwyer Arena in Niagara Falls. Both Team USA and Team Canada will be in action at HSBC Arena on that first day of competition.

All session passes and day passes are on sale, though Sabres team officials report that tickets are going fast. For ticket information check out the web site at Buffalo World Juniors.