Friday, April 15, 2011

Preds Prospect Craig Smith Named to Team USA for the World Championships

In a release today from USA Hockey, Predator Prospect Craig Smith, a former teammate of  Blake Geoffrion at Wisconsin, was one of three players added to Team USA that will compete at the IIHF World Men's Championship starting later this month. Make the jump to see the full release.

Three Players Added to 2011 U.S. Men's National Team
Group Joins 16 Players Who Will Compete at IIHF World Men's Championship
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - USA Hockey today announced that three players have been added to the 2011 U.S. Men's National Team that will compete at the International Ice Hockey Federation World Men's Championship, April 29 - May 15, in Kosice and Bratislava, Slovakia.

The group includes defensemen Jake Gardiner (Minnetonka, Minn./Toronto Marlies/Univ. of Wisconsin) and Clay Wilson (Sturgeon Lake, Minn./Florida Panthers/Michigan Tech Univ.) and forward Craig Smith (Madison, Wis./Univ. of Wisconsin).

Wilson is currently with the National Hockey League's Florida Panthers, while Gardiner competed for the American Hockey League's Toronto Marlies following his collegiate career at the University of Wisconsin of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association. Smith recently finished his sophomore season as a teammate of Gardiner's at Wisconsin.

Gardiner will be making his second U.S. national team appearance, after helping Team USA capture the gold medal at the 2010 IIHF World Junior Championship in Regina and Saskatoon, Sask., while Smith and Wilson will both be making their Team USA debuts.

The first 16 players for the U.S. Men's National team were announced on April 13. Overall, 12 of the 19 players have U.S. national team experience, having competed in a combined six IIHF World Men's Championships (2004-06, 2008-10), 10 IIHF World Junior Championships (2001-07, 2009-11) and five IIHF World Men's U18 Championships (2000, 2002-03, 2005, 2007).

For Team USA's roster, go here.

NOTES: Six of the 19 players are alumni of USA Hockey's National Team Development Program, including Mike Brown (2001-03), Mike Komisarek (1999-2000), Al Montoya (2001-02), Kevin Shattenkirk (2005-07), Jack Skille (2003-05) and Mark Stuart (2000-02) ... Eighteen of the 19 members on Team USA played U.S. college hockey, including two current college players ... The average age of the 19 players is 25.1 ... The NHL's Atlanta Thrashers and St. Louis Blues each have three players on the roster, while the Florida Panthers have two ... The U.S. Men's National Team's fourth-place finish at the 2009 IIHF World Men's Championship was Team USA's best finish at the tournament since capturing the bronze medal in 2004 ... All teams at the 2011 IIHF World Men's Championship may begin the tournament with 20 skaters and three goaltenders, and can add two players after the first three games ... The 2011 U.S. Men's National Team is under the direction of the U.S. Men's National Team Advisory Group, including NHL general managers Brian Burke (Toronto), Paul Holmgren (Philadelphia), Dean Lombardi (Los Angeles), David Poile (Nashville), Ray Shero (Pittsburgh) and Dale Tallon (Florida); Atlanta Thrashers president Don Waddell; and Jim Johannson, USA Hockey's assistant executive director for hockey operations. Paul Fenton, assistant general manager of the Nashville Predators and general manager of the American Hockey League's Milwaukee Admirals, will serve as associate general manager of the 2011 U.S. Men's National Team ... As previously announced , Scott Gordon will serve as head coach for the second consecutive year after leading the 2010 U.S. Men's National Team, while Greg Cronin, Phil Housley and Barry Smith will serve as assistants ... USA Hockey's international council, chaired by Tony Rossi, vice president of USA Hockey, has oversight responsibilities for all U.S. national teams ... Versus will televise all Team USA games in the 2011 IIHF World Men's Championship. A final broadcast schedule will be available in the near future. For more information, visit .

Team USA 2011 IIHF World Men's Championship Schedule
April 29 - May 15 . Kosice & Bratislava, Slovakia

Date     Opponent        Location        Time (Local/EDT)  
Sat., April 30   Austria         Kosice  4:15 p.m./10:15 a.m.  
Mon., May 2      Norway  Kosice  4:15 p.m./10:15 a.m.  
Wed., May 4      Sweden  Kosice  8:15 p.m./2:15 p.m.   
Thu., May 5-Mon., May 9  Qualification Round     Kosice/Bratislava       TBD   
Thu., May 5-Sun., May 8  Relegation Round        Kosice/Bratislava       TBD   
Wed., May 11-Thu., May 12        Quarterfinals   Bratislava      TBD   
Fri., May 13     Semifinals      Bratislava      TBD   
Sun., May 15     Bronze-Medal Game       Bratislava      4:00 p.m./10:00 a.m.  
         Gold-Medal Game         Bratislava      8:30 p.m./2:30 p.m.   

Arena Locations: Orange Arena (Bratislava); Steel Arena (Kosice)

More Later...

Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass      

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