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Kessel Makes USA Jr. National Team

by Staff Writer / New York Islanders

Blake Kessel
Islanders sixth-round 2007 draft pick Blake Kessel will represent the United States at the upcoming 2009 World Junior Championship in Ottawa.

Kessel, a defenseman, currently plays for the University of New Hampshire in the NCAA's Hockey East. He has recorded a goal and two assists in 14 contests.
"The Islanders are excited for Blake and the chance he has to play for his country in Ottawa," said Assistant GM/Director of Amateur Scouting Ryan Jankowski. "He is in elite company with an extremely strong blueline. Blake will fit in very well with his well-balanced play."
Last season, Kessel was named Defenseman of the Year in the USHL––the United States' only Tier 1 junior league. He led USHL defensemen in scoring with 19 goals and 57 points. His Waterloo team came within one game of winning the league championship.
Kessel is following in the footsteps of older brother, Phil, of the Boston Bruins. Phil Kessel led the 2005 World Junior Championship in scoring with 11 points (1-10).
North of the Border, two Islanders draft picks are still in the hunt to make the Canadian Junior National Team. Travis Hamonic and Jared Spurgeon were among the 38 players invited by Hockey Canada on Wednesday to the National junior team selection camp. They will vie for one of the 22 positions on Canada’s National Junior Team, which will be going for a 5th consecutive gold medal in Ottawa.

"Jared and Travis deserve this opportunity to fight among the top 14 defensemen in Canada," said Jankowski. "Their play this year has been solid. They will both need to keep up to make an impression at a very competitive camp in Ottawa."
Hamonic is currently playing for Moose Jaw of the WHL. A second-round pick by the Islanders in 2008, Hamonic has three goals and 11 assists so far this season.

Spurgeon is playing for Spokane of the WHL. A sixth-round pick, Spurgeon has one goal and 11 assists so far this season.

The selection camp runs from December 11-15, in Ottawa, with the roster of 22 players being announced on the final day of camp.
In November, Islanders 2008 fourth-round draft pick David Ullstrom was selected to the Swedish Junior National Team to compete at the 2009 World Junior Championship, which takes place in Ottawa from December 26, 2008 to January 5, 2009.
Watch Blake Kessel Mic'd up from Prospects Camp this summer on IslandersTV.

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