Hello everyone and happy holidays!
I don’t know where to begin as I’ve had a busy couple of weeks and months. We at the U.S. National Under-18 Team have taken a short break from the collegiate competition we’ve been facing to take on a slew of games in the United States Hockey League. We had some ground to make up in the standings and went 4-1-1 in our most recent stretch. The U.S. National Under-17 Team went 3-1-1 and it seems as if both teams are coming together quite nicely.
Away from the rink, National Team Development Program staff and players all participated in the Salvation Army bell ringing campaign throughout Ann Arbor, Mich. in early December. This is a great time for us to give back to the community and bond off the ice. Each location has a friendly competition to see who raises the most money and we do our best to fundraise by singing carols (we are not the best of singers…but we get an “A” for effort), doing cartwheels and such and helping people with their groceries. We always have a good time and it’s for a good cause.
As you all know, the 2012 World Junior Championship is coming up and I am ecstatic to be a part of Team USA. When I first found out that I was named the preliminary roster and received an invite to camp, I was pumped up. Once I was there with the other players, it was ironic how I was the one being picked on because I was one of the smallest defensemen. At the NTDP, I’m one of the biggest. Now I know how (Under-18 Team defensemen) Matt Grzelcyk and Connor Carrick feel.
Coming into camp, I didn’t know what to expect really. I just wanted to play my game. Being a physical player, I wanted to showcase my gritty, tenacious side while still showing my worth as a defenseman with some offensive tools.
I was also really excited to be sharing the camp experience with my teammate at the NTDP and fellow invitee, Seth Jones. There’s no doubt in my mind that Seth would have made this team and contributed greatly on the blue line. When I found out he was injured and would not play for Team USA, I felt terrible. He deserved to make this team and show the world his skills and talent. With Justin Faulk staying with the Carolina Hurricanes and Seth out, this opened the door for the defensemen on the roster and I made the most of my opportunity and made the squad.
Not only is the WJC taking place this holiday season, the 2012 World Under-17 Challenge is taking place as well. I want to wish the U.S. National Under-17 Team the best of luck in the tournament. Take everything in and enjoy every moment of the games in Windsor. Last year was a truly amazing experience for my teammates and I. I’ll never forget the final game against Canada’s Team Ontario at the sold-out MTS Centre in Winnipeg and getting booed every time I touched the puck. The atmosphere was electric.
Happy holidays and safe travels to everyone visiting family and friends. I hope the next time I write I’ll be doing so with a gold medal around my neck.
Follow Jacob Trouba for Team USA during the 2012 WJC at: @jacobtrouba