COLORADO SPRINGS, United States – USA Hockey named its first 19 players that will compete at the 2009 IIHF World Championship in Switzerland, April 24-May 10.
“This is a skilled group of players who will represent the United States well,” said Jim Johannson, assistant executive director of hockey operations for USA Hockey. “It is a nice mix of veterans and newcomers to international competition that our National Team Advisory Group is looking forward to watching.”
Team USA’s roster features nine players whoare veterans of the World Championship: defensemen Keith Ballard, Jack Johnson and Ryan Suter; forwards Jason Blake, Dustin Brown, Patrick O'Sullivan, Drew Stafford and Lee Stempniak; and goaltender Robert Esche.
In addition, 12 of the 19 players are 25 years old or younger. The teams are allowed to begin the tournament with 20 skaters and two goalkeepers, meaning that more players will be added.
Team USA will face Switzerland on April 21 in a pre-tournament game before starting the World Championship on April 25 against Latvia. The team's other preliminary round opponents are Austria and Sweden.
USA Hockey also added Joe Sacco, the head coach of the AHL’s Lake Erie Monsters, as an assistant coach.
Team USA as of April 15
Goalkeepers: Robert Esche (SKA St. Petersburg, RUS), Al Montoya (Phoenix Coyotes).
Defencemen: Keith Ballard (Florida Panthers), Zach Bogosian (Atlanta Thrashers), Ron Hainsey (Atlanta Thrashers), Jack Johnson (Los Angeles Kings), Matt Niskanen (Dallas Stars), Ryan Suter (Nashville Predators).
Forwards: Jason Blake (Toronto Maple Leafs), Dustin Brown (Los Angeles Kings), Nick Foligno (Ottawa Senators), Peter Harrold (Los Angeles Kings), Kyle Okposo (New York Islanders), Patrick O’Sullivan (Edmonton Oilers), Ryan Shannon (Ottawa Senators), Drew Stafford (Buffalo Sabres), Lee Stempniak (Toronto Maple Leafs), Colin Stuart (Atlanta Thrashers), Colin Wilson (Boston University).