Colorado Avalanche prospect Will Butcher is one of 42 players invited to the U.S. National Junior Evaluation Camp, USA Hockey announced Wednesday.
This marks the second consecutive year that Butcher has been invited to the camp, which serves as an audition for the United States team that will participate at the 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship from Dec. 26, 2014-Jan. 5, 2015 in Montreal and Toronto. Team USA has medaled at three of the last five World Junior tournaments.
The camp will be held Aug 2-9 at the Olympic Training Center in Lake Placid, N.Y., and will feature daily practices and exhibition games against Finland, Sweden and Czech Republic.
Butcher, 19, had a solid showing at last year's camp, as he finished second overall and led all defensemen in scoring with six points (two goals, four assists) in six games. He is one of seven returnees from the 2014 U.S. National Junior Team and is one of 24 players who have won medals at IIHF events.
At the 2014 World Junior Championship in Malmo, Sweden, Butcher provided steady offense from the back end with two goals and three assists in five tournament games. The United States was eliminated by Russia in the quarterfinals.
"It was an unbelievable experience," Butcher told ColoradoAvalanche.com in January. "… It was nice to see some old teammates that I used to play with in juniors, and other guys I've played against like Riley Barber (Miami-OH) and a couple of other guys from NCAA. It was really neat."
Selected by the Avalanche in the fifth round and 123rd overall in the 2013 NHL Draft, Butcher will enter his sophomore season at the University of Denver this fall looking to build on a successful 2013-14 campaign with the Pioneers. He had 16 points (eight goals, eight assists) in 38 games and finished tied for the team lead with six power-play goals.
Butcher capped his freshman season by helping DU to the inaugural National Collegiate Hockey Conference Tournament championship and a berth into the NCAA Tournament, the school's seventh consecutive appearance.
The Sun Prairie, Wis., native has strong USA Hockey roots, as he was a member of the U.S. National Team Development Program in Ann Arbor, Mich., for two seasons, playing for both the Under-18 and Under-17 teams. He helped Team USA to the gold medal at the 2012 Under-18 World Championship and to the silver medal at the 2013 Under-18 tournament.
"It is a great honor to do it," Butcher said of representing the United States at international events. "It's the one thing when you grow up, when you're little, and you watch the World Juniors and you watch the Olympics every four years, its just a thing that you always dream of doing, and when you actually get to do it, it is like no other feeling that you can describe."