COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – The National Collegiate Hockey Conference (NCHC) will be well represented at the 2021 World Junior Summer Showcase, with 10 current or incoming NCHC student-athletes from six different NCHC schools named to the U.S. roster announced by USA Hockey Monday. The 10 are among 44 American players invited to the Showcase, which is set for July 24-31 at USA Hockey Arena in Plymouth, Mich.
Four of the 10 NCHC representatives are rising sophomores in North Dakota defensemen Tyler Kleven and Jake Sanderson, as well as Minnesota Duluth blue liners Wyatt Kaiser and Connor Kelley. Joining that quartet in Michigan are a trio of incoming Denver Pioneers in defensemen Sean Behrens and Shai Buium and forward Carter Mazur, as well as Miami incoming forward Red Savage, Omaha incoming forward Cameron Berg and St. Cloud State incoming defenseman Jack Peart.
The Showcase serves as an evaluation for the athletes as they look to make the 2022 U.S. National Junior Team and compete at the 2022 International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) World Junior Championship. Kleven and Sanderson, who are both Ottawa Senators draft picks, each won a gold medal with the U.S. National Junior Team at the 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship, which took place in Edmonton, Alta. The 2022 World Junior Championship is set to return to Edmonton and Red Deer, Alberta and will run from Dec. 26, 2021 through Jan. 5, 2022.
Sanderson (Whitefish, Mont.) and Kaiser (Ham Lake, Minn.) made up the NCHC All-Rookie Team blue line in 2020-21. Sanderson led freshman defensemen in the conference with 15 points (2g, 13a) in 22 games, while Kaiser, a Chicago Blackhawks draft pick, doled out 10 assists in 28 games for the Bulldogs and led NCHC rookies with 40 blocked shots. Sanderson and Kleven (Fargo, N.D.), who finished with a NCHC rookie defensemen-best five goals in 22 games and totaled seven points, also helped North Dakota become the first team to win both the Penrose Cup and Frozen Faceoff in the same season. Kelley (Maple Grove, Minn.) chipped in five points (3g, 2a) in 25 games from the blue line in his rookie season, as he and Kaiser helped the Bulldogs return to the Frozen Four.
Buium (San Diego, Calif.), who played last season with the Sioux City Musketeers, and Peart (Grand Rapids, Minn.), who was with the Fargo Force, each earned USHL All-Rookie Second-Team honors in 2020-21. Peart also was named Minnesota's Mr. Hockey Award winner in 2021.
Behrens (Barrington, Ill.) and Savage (Scottsdale, Ariz.) were teammates with the U.S. U-18 National Team Development Program last season, with Savage captaining Team USA at the 2021 IIHF U-18 World Championship and Behrens serving as an assistant captain at the tournament.
Berg (West Fargo, N.D.) spent the last two seasons with the Muskegon Lumberjacks, garnering Third-Team All-USHL honors in 2020-21 after a career-best 58 points in 51 games this past season. Mazur (Detroit, Mich.) completed his second season with the Tri-City Storm this past season, racking up 44 points in 47 USHL games.
The Showcase will also feature teams from Finland and Sweden and includes 11 games across eight days. Team USA invitees will be split into two squads for the Showcase and compete against the Finns and Swedes. The final 2022 U.S. National Junior Team roster will be announced in December.
NCHC Student-Athletes on 2021 U.S. World Junior Summer Showcase Roster
Sean Behrens, Fr., D, Denver
Cameron Berg, Fr., F, Omaha
Shai Buium, Fr., D, Denver
Wyatt Kaiser, So., D, UMD
Connor Kelley, So., D, UMD
Tyler Kleven, So., D, UND
Carter Mazur, Fr., F, Denver
Jack Peart, Fr., D, SCSU
Jake Sanderson, So., D, UND
Red Savage, Fr., F, Miami