As the 2019 IIHF World Championship gets underway this weekend, FloHockey dives into the international side of the NCAA and its alumni present in the tournament.
While college hockey continues to be heavily built on American players, the developmental upside of the NCAA has started to welcome a larger array of international athletes.
This growth is evident in the 2019 World Championship, where NCAA players from seven different nations will compete for their country on the always-exciting international stage.
The 16-team tournament will take place in Slovakia and will be streamed live, right here on FloHockey from Friday, May 10, through Sunday, May 26.
A total of 33 NCAA alumni—15 forwards, 13 defensemen, and five goalies—are entering the tournament, 22 of whom played in the NHL during the 2018-19 season. They represent 20 NCAA programs from seven different conferences. Boston College leads the way with six alumni, bulking up Hockey East’s conference lead of 14 alumni.
Two such alumni include former Hobey Baker winners Johnny Gaudreau (Boston College) and Jack Eichel (Boston University), notable faces of collegiate dominance turned NHL success. The pair will be vital parts of Team USA, a team hoping to build on a bronze-medal finish in last year’s tournament.
“Our player pool of elite players is growing.” @USAHockey Head Coach Jeff Blashill talks about #TeamUSA’s star-studded roster ahead of the #MensWorld.— NHL Network (@NHLNetwork) May 6, 2019
Watch the full #NHLNow interview here: https://t.co/wEWr8GADqx pic.twitter.com/shfp7duxxn
Gaudreau and Eichel are joined by 17 other NCAA alums who shape Team USA, as the United States leads the way with 19 total alumni, followed by Canada and Latvia with four each, Germany (two), and Austria, France, and Slovakia each with one.
Other notable names respresenting their countries include former Boston University defenseman Dante Fabbro (Canada), Minnesota State forwards Marc Michaelis (Germany) and Teddy Blueger (Latvia), as well as Gustavs Davis Grigals (Latvia), who just finished his freshman season as the Alaska Nanooks netminder in the WCHA.
The international stage often welcomes annual breakout performances from undrafted players, late bloomers, and the like; 2019 should be no different as young, upcoming players look to leave an impression for their country and their future in front of the world.
So don’t miss a second of the action, tune in live, right here on FloHockey this Friday to catch the opening weekend.
Have a question or a comment for Jacob Messing? You can find him on Twitter @Jacob_Messing.