Camping has taken on a new meaning this August Long Weekend.
USA Hockey’s National Junior Team Evaluation Camp kicks off this Saturday, Aug. 1 at the site of the 1980 Miracle on Ice, the Lake Placid Olympic Center's Herb Brooks Arena, and three of the 39 players (22 forwards, 13 defencemen and four goaltenders) attending are 2015 Winnipeg Jets draft picks: Left-wing Kyle Connor (17th overall), centre Jack Roslovic (25th) and left-wing Erik Foley (78th) — all of whom have committed to the NCAA for the upcoming 2015-16 campaign, representing the University of Michigan, Miami University (of Ohio) and Providence College, respectively.
Over the next week, Team USA will train and participate in a series of exhibition games against their Nordic rivals, Finland and Sweden. The Americans will be divided into two groups (Blue and White), each playing twice before the roster is trimmed on Tuesday, Aug. 4. A single squad will skate the final five days before parting ways on Saturday, Aug. 8.
The 2016 World Junior Championship begins on Boxing Day in Helsinki, Finland
Last year with the Youngstown Phantoms of the United States Hockey League, Connor set a single-season franchise record with 80 points (34G, 46A) in only 56 games, breaking the previous mark of 74 he set the previous year. Capturing Player and Forward of the Year honours, Connor and the Phantoms went on to win the franchise’s first Anderson Cup as regular-season champs after rattling off a league-record 17 consecutive wins, truly emerging as one of the USHL’s all-time dominant teams.
Connor won gold with Team USA at the 2014 Under-18 World Junior Championship, tallying seven points (4G, 3A) and tying for the tournament lead in plus/minus with a +8 rating in only seven games. He was also part of the gold medal-winning teams at the 2013 and 2014 World Junior A Challenges, in addition to the 2013 Ivan Hlinka squad that fell just short of the first-place prize, capturing silver.
The Michigan-born winger left off the 2015 National Junior Team, which finished fifth after a disappointing quarterfinal loss to the Russians.
Roslovic had 11 goals and 38 points last season with the U.S. Under-18 Team, finishing fourth overall in team scoring, but pacing all skaters with eight power-play markers. The Columbus native has twice donned the red, white and blue, scoring 2–4-6 in as many games at the 2014 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge, and 6-5-11 in only seven games at the 2015 Under-18 World
In 55 games with the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders — also of the USHL — Foley recorded 27 goals and 54 points, along with 80 penalty minutes and a +12 rating. The 6-foot, 185-pound product of Mansfield, Mass., has one appearance on the international stage, helping the Americans win
bronze with a three-point (2G, 1A) effort at the 2014 Ivan Hlinka Tournament.
Stay tuned to WinnipegJets.com throughout the week as we’ll have stories, video, exclusive interviews & more from Lake Placid.
-- Ryan Dittrick, WinnipegJets.com