Six WCHA players, including Gophers forwards Nick Bjugstad and Kyle Rau, are among the 29 players who will be at U.S. team pre-tournament camp for the World Junior Championships.
The camp starts Dec. 17 in Camrose, Alberta, and runs through Dec. 23. The roster will be cut to 29 for the World Juniors, which will run from Dec. 26 to Jan. 5 in Calgary and Edmonton, Alberta,
Bjugstad was on the U.S. team which placed third in the World Juniors last year in Buffalo, N.Y., and was among the 40 players invited to a national junior evaluation camp in Lake Placid, N.Y., in August. He is second in goals (15) and points (26) in Division I hockey
Rau was not invited to the summer camp, but is off to a great start in college hockey. He was named the national rookie of the year in October and leads all freshman in goals (11) and points (19). Rau also has five game-winning goals, tied for first among all NCAA players.
The other WCHA players on the preliminary U.S. roster are defenseman Derek Forbort of North Dakota and Kevin Gravel of St. Cloud State and forwards Jason Zucker of Denver and Josh Archibald of Nebraska Omaha.
Zucker is one of two Wild prospects who will be at the camp, the other is forward Charlie Coyle of Boston University.
Five Minnesotans will be in the U.S. camp: Bjugstad, Blaine; Rau, Eden Prairie; Forbort, Duluth; Archibald, Brainerd, and defenseman Justin Faulk, South St. Paul. Faulk, who played for UMD last season, is with the NHL's Carolina Hurricanes.
The final roster is expected to be named Dec. 22. For a full list of the preliminary roster, click here.