Donovan and Nelson Named to US Team at World Championships
/ New York Islanders
Brock Nelson and Matt Donovan impressed the New York Islanders coaches and management during their rookie season’s and seemingly made an impact on the USA Hockey brass as well.
After stellar first seasons, the Isles youngsters were both named to Team USA for the upcoming IIHF World Hockey Championships taking place from May 9-25 in Minsk, Belarus.
“It’s a pretty big honor any chance you get to represent your country,” Nelson, a native of Warroad, MN, said. “I remember taking a part in the world juniors and it was pretty special. Looking back on that, I am expecting something pretty similar, maybe even a little bit more special.”
Nelson scored 26 points (14 goals, 12 assists) in 72 games as a rookie, finishing fifth on the team in goals by the end of the season. The 22-year-old scored twice in the final three games of the season, including the game-tying and game-deciding shootout goals in the Islanders season finale.
Donovan, a native of Edmond, OK, is the second Oklahoma-born player to be selected – and first defenseman – to a World Championship squad following Oklahoma City native Tyler Arnason in 2007. The Islanders defenseman scored 16 points (two goals, 14 assists) in 52 games on the Islanders blueline and was also a standout player in his limited time in the American League this season, scoring 21 points (seven goals, 14 assists) in 21 games. Despite playing a quarter of the season, Donovan finished sixth in team scoring.
“I am just excited to be able to get the call and represent my country again,” Donovan said. “I was privileged enough to win a gold medal at the world junior championships. To wear the USA jersey was an unforgettable experience.”
Both players have previously suited up for Team USA at the World Junior Hockey Championships. Donovan took home gold in 2010, while Nelson won bronze in 2011. Donovan becomes the first Islanders defenseman since Jack Hillen to play for the team at the Worlds, while Nelson is the first Isles forward since Kyle Okposo suited up for Team USA in 2012. Donovan and Nelson are the first Islanders duo to play for Team USA since Hillen and Okposo went together in 2010.
“I’ve never done anything overseas or played in any sort of international tournament aside from the World Juniors [in Buffalo],” Nelson said. “It would be really cool to go over together and share this experience.”