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Prospect Jake Gardiner Headed To Worlds

by Staff Writer / Toronto Maple Leafs

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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - USA Hockey today announced that three players have been added to the 2011 U.S. Men's National Team that will compete at the International Ice Hockey Federation World Men's Championship, April 29 - May 15, in Kosice and Bratislava, Slovakia.

The group includes defensemen Jake Gardiner (Minnetonka, Minn./Toronto Marlies/Univ. of Wisconsin) and Clay Wilson (Sturgeon Lake, Minn./Florida Panthers/Michigan Tech Univ.) and forward Craig Smith (Madison, Wis./Univ. of Wisconsin).

Wilson is currently with the National Hockey League's Florida Panthers, while Gardiner competed for the American Hockey League's Toronto Marlies following his collegiate career at the University of Wisconsin of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association. Smith recently finished his sophomore season as a teammate of Gardiner's at Wisconsin.

Gardiner will be making his second U.S. national team appearance, after helping Team USA capture the gold medal at the 2010 IIHF World Junior Championship in Regina and Saskatoon, Sask., while Smith and Wilson will both be making their Team USA debuts.

The first 16 players for the U.S. Men's National team were announced on April 13. Overall, 12 of the 19 players have U.S. national team experience, having competed in a combined six IIHF World Men's Championships (2004-06, 2008-10), 10 IIHF World Junior Championships (2001-07, 2009-11) and five IIHF World Men's U18 Championships (2000, 2002-03, 2005, 2007).

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