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Five Gophers among the 25 plucked by USA Hockey for World Juniors roster

They will wear red, white and blue, but there will be a decidedly maroon and gold feel when the Americans take the ice in New Brunswick the day after Christmas for their World Juniors opener.

Ryan Chesley began playing hockey in earnest at age 7.
Contributed / USNTDP

PLYMOUTH, Mich. – If Team USA is looking for a special third sweater to wear at the 2023 World Juniors, aside from their traditional red, white and blue, they might want to consider something in maroon and gold. Of the 25 players headed to Canada later this month in hopes of bringing home a gold medal, fully one-fifth of them are current or former Minnesota Gophers.

The roster announced by USA Hockey on Friday afternoon, after five days of tryouts at the National Team Development Program headquarters in suburban Detroit, features two current Gophers defensemen – Ryan Chesley and Luke Mittlestadt – two current Gophers forwards – Logan Cooley and Jimmy Snuggerud – and former Gophers forward Chaz Lucius.

Three other players with ties to the region will also be headed north, under the guidance of Quinnipiac head coach Rand Pecknold, for the tournament opener on Dec. 26. St. Cloud State defenseman Jack Peart is on the squad, along with North Dakota forward Jackson Blake and Wisconsin forward Charlie Stramel.

The Big Ten has 11 players on the team with the NCHC next with six. In August's delayed World Junior Championship, the NCHC had nine players represented, the most of any conference.

The coaches started the week with 34 players, and made nine cuts. Officially, there are 23 players on the American roster, with two reserves available in case of injuries. Team USA will play a pair of pre-tournament exhibition games in New Brunswick before their first real WJC game on Monday, Dec. 26, versus Latvia in Moncton, New Brunswick. The gold medal game is on Thursday, Jan. 5, in Halifax, Nova Scotia.


The Americans will be seeking their fifth medal in the past seven tournaments. Since the World Juniors began in the 1970s, Team USA has claimed gold five times, most recently in 2021.

All games will be televised by NHL Network.

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Jess Myers covers college hockey, as well as outdoors, general sports and travel, for The Rink Live and the Forum Communications family of publications. He came to FCC in 2018 after three decades of covering sports as a freelancer for a variety of publications, while working full time in politics and media relations. A native of Warroad, Minn. (the real Hockeytown USA), Myers has a degree in journalism/communications from the University of Minnesota Duluth. He lives in the Twin Cities. Contact Jess via email at jrmyers@forumcomm.com, or find him on Twitter via @JessRMyers. English speaker.
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