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Three players with SCSU ties will compete in the IIHF World Junior Championships

Huskies sophomore defenseman Jack Peart (Team USA) and recruits Verner Miettinen (Finland) and Martins Lavins (Latvia) will compete in the tournament Dec. 26-Jan. 5 in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick

St. Cloud State defenseman Jack Peart (23) moves the puck against Bemidji State in the second period Saturday, Oct. 29, 2022, at the Herb Brooks National Center in St. Cloud.
Jason Wachter / The Rink Live

ST. CLOUD, Minn. — For the first time, the St. Cloud State men's hockey team will have ties to three players competing in the IIHF World Junior Championships.

The tournament, which gathers the top Under-20 talent in the world from qualifying countries, will take place Dec. 26-Jan. 5 in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and Moncton, New Brunswick.

St. Cloud State defenseman Jack Peart has played on the top defensive pairing with Michigan's Luke Hughes for Team USA in its two pre-tournament games. Peart, a sophomore from Grand Rapids, Minn., was a member of Team USA in the 2022 World Junior Championships.

The Grand Rapids (Minn.) native also discusses fishing, what he learned from last season, what it was like to play for Grant Clafton and how the 10 new players on the Huskies roster are looking on the Huskies Hockey Insider podcast with The Rink Live's Mick Hatten. Plus a guest appearance by a teammate.

A second-round draft pick of the Minnesota Wild, Peart's play has taken a step forward this season. He is running the Huskies' top power-play unit and has 13 assists, 15 points, 20 blocked shots, 10 penalty minutes and is a plus-10 in 18 games. As a freshman, Peart had 15 assists, 17 points, 24 penalty minutes, 20 blocked shots and was a plus-3 in 32 games.

Peart is the third SCSU player to play for Team USA in two World Junior Championships (Mark Parrish, 1996, 1997; Ryan Poehling, 2018, 2019).


Recruits will play for Latvia, Finland

Peart is not the lone player with ties to St. Cloud State who will play in the tournament.

Forward Martins Lavins will play for Latvia and forward Verner Miettinen will play for Finland in the tournament. Lavins and Miettinen have both signed National Letters of Intent to play for the Huskies.

Lavins, a 19-year-old from Riga, Latvia, is playing in his second season of juniors for the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders in the United States Hockey League. Lavins has four goals, 11 points, 25 penalty minutes and is even in plus/minus in 18 games this season. He is averaging 16 minutes, 42 seconds per game, is winning 52% of his puck battles and 56% of his faceoffs for the RoughRiders. This will be the second World Junior Championships for Lavins, who is listed at 6-foot and 185 pounds.

Miettinen, a 19-year-old from Espoo, Finland, is playing his first season of juniors for the Fargo Force in the USHL. Miettinen has seven goals, 14 points, five power-play goals, four penalty minutes and is a plus-5 in 18 games. Prior to this season, he played three seasons for a junior team in Finland (Kiekko-Espoo). Miettinen is listed at 6-foot and 160 pounds, is averaging 15:52 per game and is winning 56% of his puck battles and 54% of his faceoffs. Miettinen is the younger brother of Veeti Miettinen, who is a junior forward for the Huskies .

This is the first time that the Huskies have had ties to three players in the tournament in one year. The previous most was two (1996 — Matt Cullen and Parrish, USA; 2018 — David Hrenak, Slovakia, and Poehling, USA).

A full schedule of the tournament can be found here .

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Huskies on USA World Juniors roster

  • 1991 — defenseman Tony Burns
  • 1996 — forward Matt Cullen
  • 1996, 1997 — forward Mark Parrish
  • 2003 — goalie Bobby Goepfert
  • 2006 — defenseman Casey Borer
  • 2010 — goalie Mike Lee
  • 2012 — defenseman Kevin Gravel
  • 2016 — defenseman Will Borgen
  • 2017 — defenseman Jack Ahcan
  • 2018, 2019 — forward Ryan Poehling
  • 2022, 2023 — defenseman Jack Peart

Huskies from other countries to play in World Juniors

  • 1999 — forward Peter Szabo (Slovakia)
  • 2004 — forward Andreas Nodl (Austria)
  • 2008 — defenseman Oliver Lauridsen (Denmark)
  • 2015 — defenseman Mika Ilvonen (Finland)
  • 2018 — goalie David Hrenak (Slovakia)
  • 2022 — forward Martins Lavins (Latvia)
  • 2023 — forward Verner Miettinen (Finland), forward Martins Lavins (Latvia)

Mick Hatten is a reporter and editor for Forum News Service and helps manage TheRinkLive.com, a website dedicated to hockey. He began working for Forum Communications in November 2018 and has covered St. Cloud State University hockey since 2010. A graduate of St. Cloud State, he has more than 30 years of experience as a journalist and has been a youth hockey coach since 2014. mhatten@forumcomm.com

For more coverage of St. Cloud and the surrounding communities, check out St. Cloud Live.
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