Whitefish native Jake Sanderson has been named to the 2021 U.S. National Junior Team for the World Junior Championships in hockey later this month.
Sanderson, who was selected fifth overall in the 2020 NHL Entry Draft, is an 18-year-old who stands at 6-foot-2, 186 pounds.
The 29-player preliminary U.S. National Junior Team roster was cut down to 25 players during a training camp on Dec. 6-13 at USA Hockey Arena in Plymouth, Michigan. The 2021 World Junior Championship will run from Dec. 25-Jan. 5 in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.
Sanderson, currently a freshman defenseman at North Dakota, became the first Montana-born player to be drafted when the Ottawa Senators selected him in October’s draft. He played for the U.S. Under 18 National Development Team Program in Plymouth, Michigan, before he went to North Dakota.
North Dakota’s regular season runs through March 5, and the NCAA championship game is set for April 10.
The U.S. National Junior Team features eight members of the 2020 U.S. National Junior Team, including both goaltenders Spencer Knight (Darien, Connecticut) and Dustin Wolf (Gilroy, California), defenseman Cam York (Anaheim, California), and forwards Bobby Brink (Minnetonka, Minnesota), Cole Caufield (Stevens Point, Wisconsin), Arthur Kaliyev (Staten Island, N.Y.), Alex Turcotte (Chicago) and Trevor Zegras (Bedford, N.Y.). Knight was also a member of the silver medal-winning 2019 U.S. National Junior Team.
“Our players and staff have done everything we’ve asked of them, all of the safety protocols and considerations, in order to make hockey the focus of our training camp,” said John Vanbiesbrouck, general manager of the 2021 U.S. National Junior Team and assistant executive director of hockey operations for USA Hockey. “We had a great week of camp and we have certainly faced adversity, but we believe in these 25 players and we all have the same goal.”
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