With the World Jr. A Challenge starting up on November 8 and the race for spots to play on the World Junior championship Team as the USA looks to recapture the gold in both events coming up. The race for spots is starting to heat up and Southwest Players are looking to wear the Red, White and Blue at both tournaments coming up. Here's the news on both Events.
World Junior Championship
The first major cut for the World Junior championship will be coming up in Mid-November and Chris Brown of Flower Mound, Texas is looking to get over that final hump as he was one of the final cuts for Team USA last year just before the tournament started.
So far this season for the Michigan Wolverines, he's been off to another good start he scored his first goal of the season against the University of New Hampshire back on October 16 and had an assist against Mercyhurst back on Opening Night on October 2.
Elsewhere, he's starting to look to be a contributor which includes being a better hitter, but make sure their clean and doesn't cost his team like he did at times last year by having not a single minor penalty so far in 6 games played this season.
In addition to his great play with the University of Michigan, Brown also was involved at the World Junior Evaluation Camp where he was involved in some very intense practices and played in 3 World Junior Camp Games in a mini-tournament with teams from Finland and Sweden where he had a point in their final Game of the Camp.
He's also very familiar on what it takes to make the Team USA as he made the U18 Team for the 2009 World U18 Championship where he averaged a point a game where he scored 7 points (4G 3A) in the tournament where the USA Won Gold when the tournament was in North Dakota and Minnesota.
He also spent two years with them at the USNTDP which is based in Ann Arbor, Michigan before joining the University of Michigan. So you know he's going to get a long look towards making this team.
The First cut should be no problem for Brown, but it will be the further cuts that will be made in late November/Early December to 25 where they will play a series of pre-tournament games against both NCAA Teams and a series of teams that will play in the WJC coming up around the Winter Holidays in Buffalo & Niagara, New York as the Americans look to both defend the Gold Medal and win on home soil for the first time in the tournament history.
Here's the list of USA WJC Hopefuls
2011 World Junior Championship Website
Chris Brown Michigan Wolverines Profile
The World Junior Championships has 10 teams competing with 2 groups of 5 to start the tournament. After the Group Stage ends, the first place teams get a by in the QFS and go straight through to the Semifinals. For the teams that finish 2nd and 3rd in the groups, they will face off where the groups will cross over (2A VS. 3B, 2B VS. 3A) where the winners will face the Group Winners in the Semifinals. Then SF Winners faceoff for the Gold Medal, while the losers play for Bronze.
For the bottom 4 teams, they will play in a relegation round where the matchup between the (4A VS. 5A & 4B VS. 5B) teams will go from the Group Round to the Relegation Rounds. After two more games against teams from the opposing groups.
The 1st & 2nd Place teams finish 7th and 8th and will keep their spot will next year, while the teams that finish 3rd and 4th will be 9th and 10th and will lose their spots to the 1st and 2nd place teams from the Division 1 Tournament.
Last year, the Americans won the WJC for only the 2nd time in tournament history and will be looking for a historic repeat. They were fortunate to miss out on the top 3 opponents in the Group Round.
However, a match with Switzerland who finished 4th and is a rapid riser in Junior Hockey will see an interesting game that is proven that they can win big games by beating Russia in the QFS last season where they eventually finished 4th. The rest of Group A will contain Finland, Slovakia and Germany.
Group B will be the group of death in the prelim round as Canada, Sweden and Russia are expected to play in some great games early on. Joining them will be the Czech Republic and Norway in Group B.
Most of the games of this year's tournament will be played at the HSBC Arena (Buffalo Sabres) with some of the games also being played at Dwyer Arena (Niagara Purple Eagles, NCAA).
It will be interesting to see if our own Chris Brown of Flower Mound, Texas will be joining Team USA at the WJC This season after just missing out last year. Check out the USA Hockey Website for the latest updates.
World Junior A Challenge
Even though were still a little over 2 months away from the WJC, the World Junior A Challenge will be starting on November 8. This event is one of the biggest of the year for players playing in US Juniors (Mostly the USHL), Canadian Jr. A & European Junior Programs for players who are looking for to get noticed by both NHL & NCAA Teams as well.
With just a couple of weeks before the WJAC Tournament, teams are getting busy releasing their rosters as 5 of the 6 teams have released their rosters. The Americans are the 2 defending champions of this event and has medal ed all 3 times where the USA won Bronze in their debut back in 2007.
6 teams compete in this event as the group round will be divided into 2 Groups of 3. Group A will have the defending champion Team USA as well as Canada East who finished 4th and a Sweden team who's looking to improve after finishing last at this event last year.
Group B will have last year's Silver Medalist who has been the only team to medal in all 4 years of this event's short history, including winning Gold in 2006 (The Tournament's first year) and in 2007. The last two years the Western Canadians have added a pair of Silver Medals as well.
The Russians got back on the podium for the first time last year after beating Canada East, marking the first time in the tournament's history where both Canada teams failed to Medal and a team in Switzerland who's making their debut and will be looking to make a strong showing, especially after a 4th Place Finish at the WJC and a 5th place Finish at the U18's last season.
Can Switzerland continue their success at the Junior Level which hopefully will include winning Medals? Only time will tell and this event would be a good start for that.
The format begins with a 2 game group stage where the 3 teams will faceoff within the group. After the Groups wrap up, the 1st Place Teams like the WJC get QF Round Byes while the 2nd & 3rd Place Teams will play cross over for the QF Games. The QF Losers will face off for 5th Place, while the QF Winners will advance to the Semifinals. Then the SF Winners will play for Gold, while the Losers will play Bronze.
Even though they are no Southwest Players that made the team, they are a couple of guys to watch for if they is reinforcements needed due to injury or any other reason. Some possible players include Blake Coleman who's a player with the Indiana Ice who's a 2011 Commit to Miami University which is in Ohio and is currently leading the Ice in scoring with 7 points in 7 games so far (2G 5A).
Also watch out for defensemen Ian Young's name to be possibly involved who's a Colorado College Commit for 2011, he's among one of the top scorers in defensemen in the young season with 5 points (2G 3A).
Even though the chances are long, these players should be on notice if they needed for possible call ups for the WJAC which will be in Pentiction, BC at the South Okanagan Events Center which is home of the Pentiction Vees (BCHL).
BTW, Pentiction was also where Dallas Stars Prospect Austin Smith played his Junior Days in the season after he was drafted by the Dallas Stars.
Here's a look at the tournament info which goes from November 8-14.
Team Rosters from the Hockey Canada Website
Info on the Team USA Coaching Staff
Blake Coleman Profile
Ian Young Profile
Team Canada East
Team Canada West
Upcoming International Events
Here's a look at some of the upcoming international events later this season where players from the Southwest could be playing.
A few of the notables include Seth Jones who's with the USNTDP and will be fighting for a spot for the U17 Team at the U17 World Challenge and Colin Jacobs I would expect to be looked at for the U18 World Championship in the spring.
2011 U17 World Challenge
December 29 through January 4 2011 in Winnipeg and Portage Prairie, Manitoba
Teams Involved: CAN Atlantic, CAN Ontario, CAN Pacific, CAN West, CAN Quebec , Czech Republic, Finland, Germany, Slovakia, USA
Seth Jones Profile
2011 U18 World Championship
April 14 through April 24 in Crimmitschau and Drisden, Germany
Teams Involved: Canada, Czech Republic, Finland, Germany, Norway, Russia, Slovakia, Switzerland, Sweden, USA
Colin Jacobs Profile
2011 World U18 Women's Championship
January 1 through January 8 in Stockholm, Sweden
Teams Involved: Canada, Czech Republic, Finland, Germany, Japan, Switzerland, Sweden, USA
2011 Women's World Championship
April 16 through April 25 in Zurich and Winterthur, Switzerland
Teams Involved: Canada, Finland, Kazakhstan, Russia, Switzerland, Slovakia, Sweden, USA
2011 World Championship
April 29 through May 15 in Braislava & Kosice, Slovakia
Teams Involved: Austria, Belarus, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Latvia, Norway, Russia, Slovenia, Slovakia, Switzerland, Sweden, USA
Preview: Blue Jackets Can Match Season-high Win Streak - The Columbus Blue Jackets have ridden their hot goaltender to three-straight victories. They aim to match their season-best, four-game win streak tonigh...
15 hours ago