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Demko aims to be starter for U.S. at World Juniors

by Adam Kimelman

PHILADELPHIA -- Thatcher Demko did more than just see the sights in Malmo, Sweden during the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship.

As the third goaltender for the United States at last year's tournament, he did not dress for a game. Instead, he kept a close eye on what was happening around him. He hopes to put that learning experience to good use when he goes to Lake Placid, N.Y. for the USA Hockey National Junior Evaluation Camp in August.

"I didn't play in any games, but I had a bird's-eye view from the tournament up there," Demko said. "You learn what the atmosphere is like and what to expect. I learned a lot from Jon Gillies, who was the starter there He's rubbing off some of his experiences on me and hopefully that can carry over this year."

Demko, who was selected at No. 36 by the Vancouver Canucks at the 2014 NHL Draft on Saturday, will be one of four goaltenders at the camp, but enters as the favorite to start for the U.S. at the 2015 WJC, which will be held in Montreal and Toronto.

"You want a guy to take the net," Jim Johansson, assistant executive director of hockey operations for USA Hockey and the general manager of the United States for the 2015 WJC told "You want him to command the net and show that it's his net and exude that confidence in his game. ... Thatcher has a great track record with the national team and the [World Juniors] presents the next challenge. There'll be other guys challenging him for that spot, but you have to look at his track record and hope he commands the net."

Demko said his expectation is to be the man in net, but knows it won't be handed to him.

"I have high expectations for myself," he said. "I want to be the starter, but I do know there are great goalies that are still in the running for it so you can't really just waltz in and expect to be the guy. You have to earn it."


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