ANN ARBOR, Mich. - USA Hockey's National Team Development Program, which enters its 18th season on ice in 2014-15, today announced the roster and schedule for its U.S. National Under-18 Team. The squad, comprised of some of the top American-born players in the 1997 birth year, will compete as a member of the United States Hockey League and also against NCAA Division I and III schools, in addition to participating in three international competitions.
Highlighting the 22-player roster is forward Auston Matthews (Scottsdale, Ariz.), who was a part of the U.S. Men's National Under-18 Team that captured the gold medal at the 2014 International Ice Hockey Federation Men's Under-18 World Championship held in Lappeenranta, Finland.
Eighteen players on the roster are returning for their second year with the NTDP, including defensemen Nicholas Boka (Plymouth, Mich.), Christian Evers (Waukee, Iowa), Casey Fitzgerald (North Reading, Mass.), Caleb Jones (Frisco, Texas), Joseph Masonius (Spring Lake, N.J.) and Charlie McAvoy (Long Beach, N.Y.); forwards Jeremy Bracco (Freeport, N.Y.), Christian Fischer (Wayne, Ill.), Michael Floodstrand (Hinsdale, Ill.), Jordan Greenway (Potsdam, N.Y.), Luke Kunin (Chesterfield, Mo.), Matthews, Jack Roslovic (Columbus, Ohio), Matthew Tkachuk (St. Louis, Mo.), Brendan Warren (Carleton, Mich.) and Colin White (Hanover, Mass.); and goaltenders Michael Lackey (Washington, D.C.) and Luke Opilka (St. Louis, Mo.).
Defensemen Grant Gabriele (Brighton, Mich) and Steven Ruggiero (Kings Park, N.Y.) were added to the U.S. National Under-18 Team for the 2014-15 season. Gabriele spent last season split between the U.S. National Under-17 Team and the Victory Honda midget major program of the Tier I Elite Hockey League. Ruggiero played for the United States Hockey League's Youngstown Phantoms over the course of the 2013-14 season. Ruggiero also helped the U.S. Under-17 Select Team capture the 2013 Under-17 Five Nations Tournament in Trnava, Slovakia.
Forwards Troy Terry (Highlands Ranch, Colo.) and Tage Thompson (Oyster Bay, N.Y.) also earned a spot on the U.S. National Under-18 Team roster for the 2014-15 season. Terry most recently completed a season with the Colorado Thunderbirds midget minor program of the Tier 1 Elite Hockey League. Thompson comes to the NTDP from the P.A.L. Junior Islanders. The forward led his team in goals and ranked second on the squad in points. Thompson was also selected to the U.S. Premier Hockey League All-Star Team.
Don Granato (Downers Grove, Ill.) will guide the U.S. National Under-18 Team in 2014-15, after serving behind the bench for the Under-17 Team last season. Nick Fohr (Grand Forks, N.D.) will enter his third season as an assistant to Granato.
The U.S. National Under-18 Team opens the season on the road at the USHL Atlantic Challenge in East Meadow, New York, with tilts against the Muskegon Lumberjacks (Sept. 5) and Lincoln Stars (Sept. 6). Team USA opens its USHL regular-season schedule Sept. 27 versus Youngstown at the Ann Arbor Ice Cube. The team's first collegiate game will come at Miami University Oct. 4. The U.S. National Under-18 Team will compete in the 2014 Four Nations Tournament from Nov. 5-9 in Sweden, and the 2015 Five Nations Tournament from Feb. 4-8 in the Czech Republic. The season culminates with the 2015 International Ice Hockey Federation Under-18 Men's World Championship April 16-26 in Zug and Lucerne, Switzerland.
Tickets for home games played at the Ann Arbor Ice Cube are $7 for adults and $5 for children, seniors and active military members. Youth hockey players wearing their team jerseys are admitted for just $1 and group rates are available. Tickets can be purchased by calling the NTDP at (734) 327-9251.