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NHL Network U.S. to broadcast USA quest for historic gold medal repeat at 2011 IIHF WJC @NHL
NEW YORK / COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- For the first time in six years, the IIHF World Junior Championship returns to U.S. soil, and NHL Network™ U.S. will be there every step of the way in host city Buffalo, N.Y., as Team USA attempts to defend its title. Last year, the U.S. team defeated Canada, 6-5, in overtime of a thrilling gold medal final in Saskatoon. If Team USA is able to repeat this year, it would be a first for them to achieve back-to-back titles, and a first to capture a championship on home soil.

NHL Network U.S. will provide exclusive live coverage of the U.S. National Junior Team games at the 2011 International Ice Hockey Federation World Junior Championship, Dec. 26 to Jan. 5. NHL Network also will televise all medal-round games and five additional preliminary-round match-ups, airing a total of 15 games in high-definition from the tournament, and provide nightly re-caps in its signature show "NHL On the Fly." All USA games will be NHL Network original broadcasts.

The tournament's popularity stems from its reputation as a showcase for the game's best up-and-coming young players from around the world. Many current NHL stars have played in the tournament; an abbreviated list includes Sidney Crosby, Mike Richards and Jarome Iginla for Canada; Patrick Kane, Zach Parise and Bobby Ryan for the United States; Alex Ovechkin, Evgeni Malkin and Ilya Kovalchuk for Russia; Nicklas Lidstrom, Henrik Zetterberg and the Sedin twins for Sweden; Martin Havlat, Milan Hejduk and Tomas Kaberle for the Czech Republic; Teemu Selanne and the Koivu brothers for Finland and Marian Hossa, Marian Gaborik and Jaroslav Halak for Slovakia.

Many players who will take to the ice in this year's tournament are very close to realizing their dream of an NHL career -- no fewer than 25 players who played in last year's competition already have made their League debut.

Broadcast team

Gary Thorne, Dave Starman, Fred Pletsch and Billy Jaffe will make up the broadcast team for the NHL Network's coverage of Team USA's games.

Thorne, who will handle play-by-play duties, boasts over 30 years of sports broadcasting experience. He served a 12-year stint (1992-2004) as the voice of ESPN's NHL telecasts and was also the lead hockey play-by-play voice of NBC's 2002 Olympic Winter Games coverage. Thorne currently serves as the play-by-play voice for Major League Baseball's Baltimore Orioles, and provides play-by-play for Major League Baseball on ESPN Radio.

Starman, who will serve as the analyst, is currently the lead analyst for CBS College Sports coverage of NCAA hockey. He served as the analyst for the NHL Network's coverage of Team USA's games at the 2009 and 2010 IIHF World Junior Championship, as well.

Pletsch, who will serve as the rinkside reporter in the preliminary round for the third straight year, is in his 11th season as an analyst on the Central Collegiate Hockey Association Game of the Week on Fox Sports Detroit. He has also worked as a sideline reporter for ESPN during the NCAA Men's Ice Hockey Championship and is currently the associate commissioner of the Central College Hockey Association.

Billy Jaffe, who will serve as the rinkside reporter for the medal round, regularly contributes the popular "NHL Live!" show simulcast on Sirius XM Radio and NHL Network, the Network's "NHL On the Fly," and serves as the color analyst and in-studio for NHL on VERSUS. coverage will cover all angles of the 2011 World Junior Championship, from an in-depth, country-by-country tournament preview to a look back at the 2005 WJC, when Canada invaded Grand Forks, N.D. to battle the defending champion Team USA on its home turf -- the last time the event was staged in the United States. also will unveil its all-time World Junior Championship team. will have live coverage of every game at the tournament, as well as an all-encompassing blog of all the happenings in Buffalo starting Dec. 26. Full coverage of the 2011 World Junior Championship can be found at as well as

A full NHL Network-U.S. / 2011 IIHF World Junior broadcast schedule is below.

2011 IIHF World Junior Championship - NHL Network-U.S. Broadcast Schedule
Dec. 26 - Jan. 5, Buffalo, N.Y.

Date Game Time (EST)
Sun., Dec. 26
Russia vs. Canada
Finland vs. USA
4 p.m.
8 p.m.
Tues., Dec. 28
Canada vs. Czech Republic
USA vs. Slovakia
4 p.m.
8 p.m.
Wed., Dec. 29 Norway vs. Canada 7:30 p.m.
Thurs., Dec. 30
Sweden vs. Czech Republic
Germany vs. USA
3 p.m.
7 p.m.
Fri., Dec. 31
Canada vs. Sweden
USA vs. Switzerland
4 p.m.
8 p.m.
Sun., Jan. 2
Quarterfinal #1
Quarterfinal #2*
3:30 p.m.
7:30 p.m.
Mon., Jan. 3
Semifinal #1
Semifinal #2*
3:30 p.m.
7:30 p.m.
Wed., Jan. 5
Bronze-Medal Game
Gold-Medal Game
3:30 p.m.
7:30 p.m.
*If qualified, USA will play at this time slot
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