Leadership will come in many forms for the U.S. National Junior Team at the 2013 World Junior Championship in Ufa, Russia.
Just hours before boarding a charter flight to Ufa from Helsinki, Finland, on Sunday, University of Wisconsin defenseman Jake McCabe received word that he would be named the team's captain for this year's tournament.
Additionally, forward Cole Bardreau of Cornell University and defenseman Jacob Trouba of the University of Michigan will serve as alternates in one color jersey. Defenseman Seth Jones of the Portland Winterhawks in the Western Hockey League and J.T. Miller of the Connecticut Whale in the American Hockey League will serve as alternates in another color, to be announced.
McCabe, a second round draft pick (No. 44) of the Buffalo Sabres in June, ranks third on the Badgers with nine points, including two power-play goals, in 16 games. He played a part in a gold medal-winning performance for Team USA at the 2011 Under-18 World Championship. He also won a title with the United States at the 2010 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge, and skated for the Americans at the 2009 Under-17 Five Nations Tournament in Germany.
Trouba (Winnipeg Jets) and Miller (New York Rangers) are two of three returning players from last year's WJC team that finished a disappointed seventh -- goalie John Gibson (Anaheim Ducks) is the other. Hard-hitting Bardreau will likely center the team's top checking line alongside 2013 draft-eligible right wing Ryan Hartman and left wing Blake Pietila (New Jersey Devils).
Ultra-talented Jones is considered to be a top-two pick at the upcoming NHL Draft in Newark, N.J. Last summer, the 6-foot-4, 205-pound blueliner served as captain for the United States at the World Under-18 Championship, totaling eight points in six games as the U.S. team earned the gold medal.
Follow Mike Morreale on Twitter at: @mike_morreale