U.S. Names Captains For Hlinka Team

By: 
Trish Bradle

The U.S. has named its captains in preparation for pool play at the 2015 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Cup.

Mitch Eliot, a Grosse Pointe, Mich., native who played defense last year with the Muskegon Lumberjacks of the USHL, was named captain of the team that will play its first game on Aug. 8 against Finland in Bratislava, Slovakia.

Sam Rossini, a defenseman from Inver Grove Heights, Minn., and William Knierim, a forward from Skokie, Ill., were named assistant captains.

The U.S. will be in a bracket with Finland, Russia and Slovakia. The other pool, which will play its games in Breclav, Czech Republic, includes Canada, the Czech Republic, Sweden and Switzerland.

The Ivan Hlinka Memorial Cup has been held annually since 1991 and features players under the age of 18, and includes talent from all over the world. It is a premier showcase for talent and has helped introduced players such as Alex Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby to the international stage.

Formerly known as the Junior World Cup and Pacific Cup, the tournament was named after Ivan Hlinka, a Czech hockey legend who was killed in a car crash in 2004.

The U.S. squad will be going for its second gold medal in the tournament. Last year the Americans captured the bronze medal with a thrilling 5-4 overtime victory over Sweden.

Players were selected at the conclusion of the 17 & Under Player Development Camp in Amherst, N.Y. At the weeklong festival, Eliot tallied 6 points (2 goals and 4 assists), while Knierim had 1 goal and 6 assists, and Rossini pitched in with 3 assists.

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