|(courtesy USA Hockey)|
If you're an American fan then you have to like what USA Hockey did on Monday because it looks like they were building not for just one year but for two years with the Under-20 squad. The best move was naming Phil Housley as coach of Team USA.
Not to belittle being a coach of a high school program but it's nothing like trying to run a major division one NCAA program while trying to form a medal winning major team. I still look for the day when USA Hockey hires full-time coaches for the Under-20 team or even promote Danton Cole to run the Under-20 squad (Cole coaches the Under-18 squad which has won 4 straight gold medals).
It's an interesting squad starting with 2012 returnee and New York Ranger 2011 first-round pick JT Miller. Miller is one of only three players who were on last year's team.
Joining Miller this year will be 2011 third round pick Steven Fogarty of the Rangers and 2011 fourth round pick Robbie Russo of the New York Islanders. This will be Russo's second invitation and Fogarty's first.
Scott Mayfield was not eligible so my apologies for that mistake. But give some good credit to the folks running USA hockey as 22 of the 46 invited are 2012 draft eligibles (2 are 2013 draft eligibles).
The bigger surprise has to be the respect shown to the Penticton Vees (Steven Fogarty's team) as the BCHL team saw three members of last year's team earn invites. Give USA Hockey credit for really inviting a very diverse group of players to try out for the 2013 team. After the embarrassing performance for the 2012 team, it was clear that changes were needed and in this case one would have to be really picky to criticize the moves made on Monday.
It's hard not to like a team that they are apparently trying to build for two seasons and I have to wonder if they are thinking ahead by inviting those who for the most part won't be play professional hockey next season. It's hard enough to get the NHL to release some of the players who could have helped previous USA teams but this is a good solution in an attempt to avoid such problem.
Have to like that there are eight players on this roster that would look good wearing either a Ranger or Islander uniform. This is a very talented bunch and hopefully what is started here today will pay dividends over the next couple of years with medals for Team USA.
You can find the entire roster right here.
A look at the camp schedule can be found right here.
Just think there is only about 93 days before the Ranger's open training camp (sooner for the prospects IF there is a Traverse City)
Who is ready for some hockey?