COLUMBUS, Ohio - Ohio State men's hockey sophomore forward Tom Fritsche has been named to the 2006 U.S. National Junior Team, USA Hockey announced Monday. The 22-player team, comprised of the top players under age 20, will compete at the 2006 International Ice Hockey Federation World Junior Championship in Vancouver, Kamloops and Kelowna, British Columbia, Dec. 26-Jan. 5, 2006.
Fritsche, a native of Parma, Ohio, leads the Buckeyes in assists (9) and points (14) this season and is tied for the team lead with five goals. He had a team-best 45 points as a freshman last season en route to earning CCHA All-Rookie Team and Inside College Hockey Freshman of the Year honors. He was drafted by the Colorado Avalanche in the second round of the 2005 NHL Entry Draft.
Fritsche, who played for the U.S. National Team Development Program before coming to Ohio State, is the fourth Buckeye to earn a spot on the U.S. squad for the World Junior Championship, joining Ryan Kesler (2003, 04), Dave Steckel (2001, 02) and R.J. Umberger (2001, 02).
Fritsche's brother, Dan, who plays for the Columbus Blue Jackets, competed in the World Junior Championship in 2004 and 2005.
This year, Team USA will compete against Canada, Czech Republic, Finland, Latvia, Norway, Russia, Slovakia, Sweden and Switzerland for the gold medal in the World Junior Championship.
Team USA will gather in Seattle, Wash., Dec. 18 before traveling to Victoria, British Columbia Dec. 19. The squad will play two exhibition games in British Columbia prior to the start of the tournament, facing off against Sweden Dec. 21 and Norway Dec. 22. Tournament play gets underway with the U.S. facing Norway Dec. 26.