The Texas Tornado has announced forward Jack Prince and defenseman Ralfs Freibergs will participate in the 2011 International Ice Hockey Federation Division I World Junior Championship, which will be held from Dec. 13-19 in Babruysk, Belarus.
“This is a great opportunity for both Jack and Ralfs to showcase their skills and have an experience they'll remember forever,” said Tornado head coach and general manager Tony Curtale. “They're both veterans of international hockey and we're very proud that both will be representing the Texas Tornado and the North American Hockey League while competing at these prestigious World Championships.”
Prince will be a member of the team from Great Britain and Freibergs will skate for his native Latvia. Great Britain and Latvia will play in Pool A, which includes teams from Belarus, Italy, Japan and Ukraine. Pool B consists of Austria, Croatia, Denmark, Kazakhstan, Lithuania and Croatia.
Prince and Freibergs will miss the next four Tornado games on Dec. 10, 11, 17 and 18. In a strange twist of fate, the Tornado teammates will face off against one another in the very first game of the tournament on Monday, Dec. 13 in Belarus at 9:30 a.m. CST.
View the schedule and rosters for Pool A can here.
“It’s going to be a true honor to play for my native country of Great Britain,” said Prince, who was born in Leicester, England, and grew up playing youth hockey in Nottingham. “I've played with a lot of the players on the World Junior team before, so there's some great chemistry there and I think we have a great chance to be successful at this tournament.”
This isn’t Prince’s first stint with the National Team in England. He scored both goals in the 16U championship final against Latvia and was a member of the team that won the European championship in Tilburg, Holland.
Meanwhile, this will be the fourth international tournament for Freibergs, who, at just 19 years old, is a seasoned competitor for Latvia. He played for the Latvian 18U World Junior team in 2008 and 2009, followed by an appearance in last year’s top-level World Junior Championships in Ottawa against the likes of Canada and the United States, where he registered a goal and assist in six games.
“It’s always fun to play for your country,” said Freibergs. “I feel like these experiences help me to become a better player and I look forward to facing Jack in the opening game.”