Gophers freshman forward Sammy Walker and five other Minnesotans, including three from defending NCAA champion Minnesota Duluth, are on the U.S. junior national hockey team’s 29-player preliminary roster.
That roster will be pared to 23 before the World Junior Championship, which starts Dec. 26 in Vancouver and Victoria, British Columbia. Minnesota State Mankato’s Mike Hastings is team’s head coach.
Three Minnesotans — UMD defensemen Mikey Anderson of Roseville and Dylan Samberg of Hermantown, and St. Cloud State forward Ryan Poehling of Lakeville — return from the team which won bronze last January.
St. Paul native K’Andre Miller, a defenseman at Wisconsin, is also on the roster, as is UMD freshman forward Noah Cates of Stillwater.
Walker, who played for Edina High School last season, has three goals and six assists in nine games for the Gophers.
Like UMD, Wisconsin also has three players total on the preliminary roster; Providence, Yale, Northeastern, Michigan and Boston University have two each. Forward Josh Norris and defenseman Quinn Hughes, both of Michigan, were on the most recent team as well.
Hughes’ brother, Jack, is the team’s top prospect for the 2019 NHL draft. A center for the under-18 U.S. national team, he is projected as the No. 1 pick.
The 29 players will take part in a training camp in Everett, Wash., from Dec. 15-17, before playing exhibition games against Russia and the Czech Republic.
Other defensemen on the roster are Michael Callahan of Providence; Ty Emberson of Wisconsin; Joey Kean of the Barrie Colts of the Ontario Hockey League (OHL); Phil Kemp and Jack St. Ivany of Yale; and Mattias Samuelsson of Western Michigan.
Other forwards are Penn State’s Evan Barratt, who leads the nation in scoring with 12 goals and 25 points; Sasha Chmelevski of Ottawa (OHL); Joel Farabee and Logan Cockerill of Boston University; Cole Coskey of Saginaw (OHL); Sean Dhooghe of Wisconsin; Jack Drury of Harvard; Tyler Madden of Northeastern; Jay O’Brien of Providence; Jason Robertson of Niagara (OHL); and Oliver Wahlstrom of Boston College.
Goalies are Kyle Keyser of Oshawa (OHL), Spencer Knight of the U18 U.S. team and Cayden Primeau of Northeastern.
Gophers freshman forward Sampo Ranta is on Finland’s roster for the tournament.