Tyler Kleven nearing spot on final U.S. World Junior Championship roster
The UND defenseman is expected to be on the squad, shooting for his second gold medal.
GRAND FORKS — Tyler Kleven is one step closer to making the final U.S. World Junior Championship roster.
USA Hockey made a round of cuts this week, but as expected, Kleven remained with the team.
The U.S. has two cuts left to go before setting its final roster for the event that will be strangely held later this month.
The World Junior Championship, which features the top under-20 players in the world, is held annually in December and January. But last year's event was postponed because of COVID-19 positives after the tournament already started.
While the U.S. is expected to keep much of the roster the same, there will be a few players missing, like former UND defenseman Jake Sanderson. After the season, Sanderson signed a pro deal with the Ottawa Senators.
Kleven opted to return to school for his junior season, keeping him available to return to the World Juniors.
The Fargo product first played in the World Juniors during the 2020-21 season. Kleven and the Americans won gold in that event.
If the U.S. wins gold again, Kleven will join Jonathan Toews as the only two UND players ever to win two gold medals at the World Junior Championship.
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Three current UND players recently participated in evaluation camps for the 2022-23 World Juniors, which will be held in December and January in Halifax, N.S., and Moncton, N.B.
Freshman forwards Jackson Blake and Owen McLaughlin skated with Team USA in Plymouth, Mich. Freshman forward Dylan James skated with Team Canada in his hometown of Calgary. The rosters for the winter World Juniors won't be revealed until December.
After losing players for extended time periods during the last two seasons due to international play — both the World Juniors and Olympics — it's possible the Fighting Hawks won't have any players out for international play this season.
The summer World Juniors will be over before fall practices start and no regular-season games are scheduled during the winter World Juniors.
The winter World Juniors are scheduled to end Jan. 5. UND opens second-half play Jan. 6-7 against Lindenwood in Grand Forks.
Strathmann shining at Hlinka
UND defenseman commit Andrew Strathmann flew under the radar last season as one of the youngest players on a dominant Tri-City Storm team in the United States Hockey League.
He will not be flying under the radar this season.
Strathmann, who is eligible for the 2023 NHL Draft, kicked off his campaign with a one-goal, three-point performance for the U.S. against Germany at the Hlinka-Gretzky Cup this week.
The Beach Park, Ill., product is expected to be a strong prospect for the draft before coming to campus next fall.
Strathmann also will be playing for a new USHL team this season. He was traded to the Youngstown Phantoms last month.
Recruiting period kicks off
Men's hockey players headed into their junior year of high school were allowed to receive scholarship offers and make verbal commitments to schools beginning Monday.
According to Chris Heisenberg's recruiting page, more than 20 players committed on Day 1.
It was a quiet opening day in the National Collegiate Hockey Conference, though.
Only one NCHC team landed a commitment on Day 1 — Chicago Mission forward James Reeder committed to Denver.
Three players on the Herald's list of 20 to watch committed Monday. Defenseman John Whipple committed to Minnesota, forward Matthew Frost committed to Boston College and defenseman Will Skahan committed to Wisconsin.