Leaman sees preparation as key to U.S. win at World Junior Championships

Nate Liman, who will coach Team USA at the 2022 IIHF World Junior Championships, said that while winning back-to-back titles at the event would be a great feat, it’s certainly not the motivation his team is trying to repeat as champions .

“I think it’s always there, over your head and in the clouds,” Leaman said. “But last year we didn’t win the game by talking about it every day. We won the gold by preparing and working and that’s our focus now. If we’re ready for the game, we’re going to be good at the game, it’s all about us the key of.”

WJC 2022 will take place August 9-20 at Rogers Square in Edmonton. The competition was originally scheduled to run from December 26 to January. 5, but was postponed after four days of competition as the United States, Czech Republic and Russia each had to drop a preliminaries after players tested positive for COVID-19. When the competition restarts, the results of the December competition will not be counted.

The United States will join Sweden, Germany, Switzerland and Austria in preliminary rounds in Group B; Canada, Finland, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Latvia will be in Group A.

All tournament games will be broadcast live in the United States via the NHL Network.

The U.S. has won the WJC Championship five times (2004, 2010, 2013, 2017, 2021), but never in a row.

Canada was the last team to win the championship in a row, five straight from the 2005-09 season.

Leaman is entering his 12th season as a coach at Providence College. He was a two-time Frozen Final Four and won the NCAA Championship in 2015.

Four players from the 2021 team on the 2022 WJC roster: Forwards Brett Bellard (New York Rangers) and Landon Slagert (Chicago Blackhawks) and defensive players Brock Faber (Minnesota Wild) and Tyler Craven (Ottawa Senator).forward Marty Beniers (Seattle Kraken) and defenders Jack Sanderson (Ottawa Senators) are also part of the 2021 WJC and played in December, but will not be playing when games resume, each opting to prepare for training camps for NHL teams.

“We didn’t discuss who wasn’t here … that didn’t come up at all,” Leaman said. “I’m proud of the players we have; they all want to represent their country. They’re playing for their country and I think they’re going to be a really ruthless bunch.”

Leaman discusses the upcoming tournament, what to expect from his team and which players can make an impact in this Q&A with NHL.com.

How hard is it to narrow this roster, and how important is it to have four returnees?

“Our 2023 WJC team is running concurrently with the 2022 WJC training camp (July 24-August 3), so a lot of people are really just here for the 2023 team. We only brought 28 for our team people, but it was really great to have these two groups because you could see some people belong to our group. It was a fun process. It was a tough process when running two camps, but I think there was another group To be around and to be able to evaluate them. As far as our returning players are concerned, they have played and been successful in the games, so they will be the leaders of our team.”

Will the goalie be the biggest question mark going into the tournament? Who might be the front runner now?

“I think we have two guys in Kaidan Mberek (eligible for the 2023 draft) and Andrew Oak (Eligibility for the 2023 draft) Whoever comes through the camp. Before the game, the two were in Edmonton for our exhibition game. So we’ll make more decisions after those games. “

Were there any players who surprised you during the development camp?

“Goalie Andrew Oak definitely surprised us. I don’t think any of us knew him very well. He’s been very positive and he’s played some pretty good games with Saginaw in the Ontario Hockey League so far. hockey. So for a when we know, one of the last members of our camp [goalie] Drew Commesso (The Blackhawks) won’t be here, which is a real positive. “

You know who you might have at center, can you provide a top six in the forward group?

“Our five centres may include Dominic James (Blackhawks), Logan Cooley (Arizona Coyotes), Thomas Bodlow (San Jose Sharks), Charlie Strammell (eligible for the 2023 draft) and redmond barbarian (Detroit Red Wings). We’ve been doing a lot of mixing and matching of line combinations. The top six could include Bordeaux, Matthew Kernes (Toronto Maple Leafs), Matt Coronato (Calgary Flames), Cooley… Carter Mazur (red wings), Macky Samoskovich (Florida Panthers) and Sluggett are among them. “

If… the United States will be world junior champions again

“We’re ruthless. I just think it’s got to be a team, stick together as a team, play as a team, and not hold back over anything. They just keep coming and going.”

You’re entering your 12th season as a coach at Providence. Do you consider yourself a lifelong college coach? Or are you open to other opportunities?

“I’m always listening. As I said last year, you’re always inspired at the highest level.”

Photo: Mike Caples, USA Hockey

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