USA Hockey camp set to begin in Everett

Twenty-nine American players will train at Angel of the Winds Arena for four days.

On Saturday, 29 up-and-coming American hockey players will congregate in Everett for USA Hockey’s selection camp for the World Junior Championships. The four-day camp is the first stop for Team USA before it travels north of the border for its pre-tournament camp and exhibition games at the Sandman Centre in Kamloops, British Columbia. Tournament group play for the Americans starts Dec. 26 in Victoria, British Columbia.

Here’s what else you need to know:

When are practices?

Saturday’s practice will start at 11 a.m. and end at 1 p.m. Sunday’s practice will start at noon and end at 2 p.m. There will be two practices Monday, with the first starting at 9:15 a.m. and ending at 10:15 a.m. and the second beginning at 3:15 p.m. and finishing at 4:15 p.m.

Where is it?

On the main ice at Angel of the Winds Arena.

Can I go?

Yes. All practices are open to the public.

Does it cost any money?

No.

What is Team USA preparing for?

The World Junior Championships are the premier international junior hockey event, a 10-team tournament comprised of players 20 years old and younger.

The event is immensely popular in Canada, with 17.2 million Canadians tuning in to watch the United States top Canada — with former Everett Silvertips player Carter Hart in net — in the 2017 gold medal game. It’s not as prominent in the United States, but the aforementioned final was the most watched program in NHL Network history at the time, according to sports media reporter Richard Deitsch.

Team USA has captured the gold medal four times since the tournament’s inception in 1977, the most recent top finish coming in 2017 when the Americans bested the Canadians 5-4 in a shootout in the finals.

Team USA will take on Slovakia, Kazakhstan, Sweden and Finland in their their group. The bronze medal and gold medal games take place on Jan. 5 at Rogers Arena in Vancouver.

Who will be there?

The headliner of the selection camp roster is 17-year-old forward Jack Hughes, who is expected to be selected No. 1 overall in the upcoming 2019 National Hockey League draft. His older brother, defenseman Quinn Hughes, was taken No. 7 by the Vancouver Canucks in last summer’s draft and is one of five returners from last year’s 2018 World Junior Championships played in Buffalo, N.Y.

Six other NHL first-round picks will also be present: defenseman K’Andre Miller (No. 22 to New York Rangers in 2018) and forwards Joel Farabee (No. 14 to Philadelphia Flyers in 2018), Jay O’Brien (No. 19 to Flyers in 2018), Oliver Wahlstrom (No. 11 to New York Islanders in 2018), Ryan Poehling (No. 25 to Montreal Canadiens in 2018) and Joshua Norris (No. 19 to San Jose Sharks in 2017).

Why is Everett hosting this camp?

The short-term answer is the city’s close proximity to British Columbia and the burgeoning hockey scene in the Pacific Northwest. But in the long term, Everett is posturing itself for potentially hosting a bigger USA Hockey event in the future, potential a joint venture with Seattle for the 2025 World Junior Championships, according to Silvertips chief operating officer and Team USA general manager John Vanbiesbrouck.

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