RALSTON, NE - Friday morning, USA Hockey released their roster for the team that will compete for the United States at the 2018 World Junior A Challenge. Head Coach David Wilkie and Travis Mitchell will represent the US, and the Omaha Lancers in the yearly tournament that will take place this year in Bonnyville, Alberta December 9th - 16th. Jan Kern was also named to the Czech Republic WJAC roster.
Mitchell, a USHL veteran, has played in all 16 games with the Lancers this season. The Defenseman is committed to Cornell University. Last season, Mitchell combined for 14 points in 52 games played. In 2018, Mitchell was named to the USHL/NHL Top Prospects game and was credited with 1 assist.
Kern, a top scorer for the Lancers, will represent his home country of Czech Republic. Kern currently has 11 points with the Lancers in 15 games played this season. This will be Kern’s fifth appearance in international play. Kern spent last season with the Dubuque Fighting Saints where he totaled 13 points in 54 games played.
"The Omaha Lancers are also extremely happy for and proud of Travis Mitchell and Jan Kern on being selected to compete in the Tournament for their respective countries," Head Coach David Wilkie said. "They have sacrificed and worked hard to gain these selections and it will be a tremendous opportunity for them individually in Alberta”.
The 2018 U.S. Junior Select Team will be led by Tri-City Storm head coach Anthony Noreen. Assistant coaches include Omaha Lancers head coach David Wilkie, Waterloo Black Hawks assistant coach and director of scouting and player personnel Shane Fukishima and Sioux City Musketeers assistant coach Mark Abalan.
Lancers Head Coach and General Manager, David Wilkie will be making his international debut as an assistant Coach. Wilkie is in his second-year with the Lancers and skated for Team USA at the International Ice Hockey Federation World Junior Championship, and in the World Junior Championships in 1993 and 1994. Coach Wilkie led the Lancers to a 39-16-2-3 record last season and brought the team to the Clark Cup Playoffs for the first time in three seasons.
“Any opportunity to represent the Flag of the United States in competition is an honor, privilege and not something that comes along every day," Wilkie said. "I look forward to the experience and challenge."
The World Junior A Challenge is in its 13th year, and the United States is competing for the 12th time. The United States will once again be joined by Canada East, Canada West, the Czech Republic, and Russia. The United States has captured the World Junior A Challenge title seven times, including four gold medals in the last six years (2012-14, 2016).
A tournament schedule and more information about the 2018 World Junior A Challenge can be found HERE.
12 different USHL teams are represented on the roster, including six teams with multiple players: Cedar Rapids RoughRiders (3), Sioux City Musketeers (3), Tri-City Storm (3), Central Illinois Flying Aces (2), Fargo Force (2) and Waterloo Black Hawks (2).