USA Hockey has announced the 21-player roster for the 2008-09 U.S. National Under-17 Team within USA Hockey's National Team Development Program.
"We are looking forward to working with this team and helping develop young men, hockey players and representatives of USA Hockey in international competition," said John Hynes, head coach of the U.S. National Under-17 Team.
The roster includes two goaltenders, seven defensemen and 12 forwards.
Included on the team are three players with family ties to the NTDP, including forward Nick Shore (Denver, Colo.), who, along with brother Drew of the U.S. National Under-18 Team, becomes the first sibling duo to play at the NTDP at the same time. Also, forward Bryan Rust (Bloomfield Hills, Mich.) is the brother of Matt Rust who played at the NTDP from 2005-07. Forward Austin Czarnik (Washington, Mich.) is the cousin of recent NTDP alumnus, Robbie Czarnik (2006-08).
Beyond NTDP ties, the roster also includes a player with National Hockey League connections, as defenseman Jarred Tinordi's (Millersville, Md.) father, Mark, played 12 seasons in the NHL with the New York Rangers, Minnesota North Stars/Dallas Stars and Washington Capitals.
The state of California is well represented on Team USA's roster. Forwards Chase Balisy (Fullerton, Calif.), Emerson Etem (Long Beach, Calif.), Matthew Nieto (Long Beach, Calif.) and Shane Sooth (Canyon County, Calif.) will be familiar with each other. All four played youth hockey together at the L.A. Hockey Club.
Two players with prior Junior A hockey experience, at the Tier III level, will join the NTDP for the upcoming season. Defenseman Kevin Clare (New Rochelle, N.Y.) was a member of the Eastern Junior Hockey League champion and USA Hockey Tier III Junior A National Championship runner-up New Jersey Hitmen, while Tinordi skated for the Washington Jr. Nationals of the Atlantic Junior Hockey League.
Jason Zucker (Las Vegas, Nev.) is the first Nevada native to compete at the NTDP in its 12-year history.
Rounding out the 2008-09 U.S. National Under-17 Team roster are netminders Jack Campbell (Port Huron, Mich.) and Will Yanakeff (Jerome, Mich.); defensemen Adam Clendening (Niagara Falls, N.Y.), Justin Faulk (South St. Paul, Minn.), Stephen Johns (Wampum, Pa.), Jon Merrill (Brighton, Mich.) and Frankie Simonelli (Bensenville, Ill.); and forwards Jacob Fallon (Southlake, Texas), Stuart Higgins (Troy, Mich.), Michael Mersch (Park Ridge, Ill.) and Luke Moffatt (Paradise Valley, Ariz.).
NOTES: Hynes will begin his sixth season as a head coach at USA Hockey's National Team Development Program... John Wroblewski will serve as assistant coach of the U.S. National Under-17 Team... Michigan produced the most NTDP players with six, while California followed with four... The U.S. National Under-17 Team will open its season with a four-game set on the road at the sixth annual North American Hockey League Showcase from September 17-20.