RALSTON, NE - USA Hockey has unveiled the preliminary roster for the 2019 U.S. National Junior Team that will compete in the 2019 International Ice Hockey Federation World Junior Championship. Two Ex-Lancers have earned the honor of representing their country in the annual tournament that will be played this year in Vancouver and Victoria, B.C., from Dec. 25, 2018 - Jan. 5, 2019.
Team USA will be under the direction of Head Coach and Ex-Lancers Head Coach, Mike Hastings. Hastings was the bench boss for the Omaha Lancers for 14 seasons from 1994-2008. During his career with the Lancers, Coach Hastings lead the Lancers to a 533-217-6-52 record, three Clark Cups Championships (1998, 2001, 2008) and three Anderson Cups Championships (2002, 2006, 2008), and Hastings was named USHL Coach of the Year twice (1997, 2002) and USHL General Manager of the Year five times (1997, 2002, 2005, 2007, 2008). Following his legendary career with the Lancers, Hastings was named an Assistant Coach at the University of Minnesota. He then went on to be Associate Head Coach at the University of Nebraska - Omaha before becoming Head Coach of the Minnesota State Mavericks in Mankato, MN where he is currently in his 7th season on the job. The 2019 World Junior Championship marks Hastings' first time as the head coach for the U.S. National Junior Team and third time overall behind the bench, as he previously served as an assistant coach in 2003 and 2005.
Noah Cates will be representing the United States flag as well for the IIHF WJC. Cates, a native of Stillwater, MN, spent the 2017-18 season with the Lancers. During his time in Omaha, the forward compiled a total of 55 points (21-34-55) and was one of the league's leading scorers. Cates currently plays at the University of Minnesota-Duluth and in 14 games played has recorded 6 points (3-3-6). Noah was drafted in 2017 by the Philadelphia Flyers in the 5th round, #137 overall.
Team USA will also be under the direction of Assistant Coach, Jerry Keefe who played for the Lancers from 1994-1996. Keefe recorded 119 points in two seasons with the Lancers before his NCAA career with Providence College.
The 2019 U.S. National Junior Team Training Camp will be held from Dec. 15-17 in Everett, Wash. The camp will serve as part of the selection process in determining the final Team USA roster for the 2019 IIHF World Junior Championship.
Following its camp in Everett, Team USA will travel to Kamloops where it will train from Dec. 18-20 at Sandman Centre. During its time in Kamloops, Team USA will face off against Russia in a pre-tournament game at Sandman Centre on Dec. 20. The U.S. will then travel to Langley, B.C., to meet the Czech Republic in its final pre-tournament game at George Preston Recreation Centre on Dec. 22. Faceoff for both tilts are set for 7 p.m. local time (10 p.m. ET).
Mike Hastings (Crookston, Minn./Minnesota State) is the head coach of Team USA and joined by assistant coaches David Lassonde (Durham, N.H./Dartmouth College), Steve Miller (Columbus, Ohio/Ohio State University), Scott Sandelin (Hibbing, Minn./University of Minnesota Duluth) and Jerry Keefe (Saugus, Mass./Northeastern University).
NHL Network is the official U.S. broadcaster of the 2019 IIHF World Junior Championship. The United States enters the tournament having medaled in three-straight World Junior Championships for the first time in U.S. history after earning gold in 2017 and bronze in 2018 and 2016. Team USA will play its preliminary round games in Victoria against Group B opponents Kazakhstan, Finland, Slovakia, and Sweden. Quarterfinals will be split between the Vancouver and Victoria. The semifinal and medal games will be played at Rogers Arena in Vancouver. For more information about the tournament, click here.