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Trouba talks Four Nations triumph

by Jacob Trouba
Jacob Trouba is a defenseman for the U.S. Under-18 National Team Development Program of the United States Hockey League. The 6-foot-2, 194-pound native of Rochester, Mich., recently helped the U.S. Under-18 Team earn the Four Nations tournament title in Switzerland. He was also ranked the No. 1 skater within the United States Hockey League by NHL Central Scouting on its preliminary release of draft eligible players. Trouba, who participated in the 2011 NHL Research, Development and Orientation Camp fueled by G Series in August, has offered to maintain a monthly blog for that will chronicle his season leading up to the 2012 NHL Entry Draft.

What’s up hockey world? I’m only a month into the season and there have already been some ups and downs.

This young season has been eventful to say the least. We are 10-6-1 at this point and 2-5 against NCAA teams. In my mind, one of the greatest advantages of playing at the US NTDP is playing older competition. We are always up against a challenge. In my first year we played USHL teams as a group of 16 year olds. We were playing guys up to 20 years old. It was hard to go into a corner with a guy that has 4 years of maturity on you. Now in my second year we feel that we can play with every USHL team, so we put NCAA teams on our schedule. That is playing against a 25 year old grown man. We know we need to bring our best game against every D-1 team. If we don’t we will get embarrassed every time. The problem our team has found out early this year is the D-3 teams are just as hungry to beat us. There is no room for a preparation let down or we will come out slow and be down 3 goals before we know it. We learned that early this year in a 6-4 loss to Adrian College.

Hands down the best part of playing for Team USA is competing in the international tournaments. It is one of the best feelings in the world. There’s the great feeling every time you put on the jersey, but then there is a whole different feeling when you are in a foreign country and you are representing your country. We were just in Switzerland this past week for our Four Nations Cup. The trip started off terrible, I was stuck on a 8 hour plane ride in between a  5-10, 210-pound Frank Vatrano (@Vatcher13) and 6-4, 215-pound Gavin Stoick (@GavinStoick). There is nothing worse than getting your boarding pass and seeing that you have seat C.  Besides that the trip was a blast. We ended up winning the Cup, in big part to Nic Kerdiles, who had 5 goals. We literally brought home the hardware, we got a bell and a bear head carved from a tree trunk for winning. We stayed in Leysin, but played our games in Monthey.

The country is beautiful; we were surrounded by mountains and had great weather. We played Switzerland twice, Finland, and Sweden also. On our off day a group of guys took a bus up the mountain and made a 10 minute hike to see Lake Geneva. That was my favorite part of the trip; I’ve never taken so many pictures in my life. The trip was only made better when I found out I was rooming with Matt Grzelcyk (@M_Grzelcyk7 ). Overall it was a great trip. Also, it was great to hear the U17 won their Four Nations in Russia.

One very cool moment this year was playing the University of Michigan at Yost. I was actually nervous before a hockey game for the first time in a long time.  It was an awesome atmosphere and I can’t wait to play there next year. More great news came this month when I heard Jared Rutledge (@JaredRutledge1 ) committed to Michigan. He’s a great team mate and I can’t wait to spend 4 more years in front of him keeping pucks out of the net.

It was great to hear the draft was going to be in Pittsburgh. It is some place I have never been, but Riley Barber (@rileybarber94 ) is always bragging about how sweet his hometown is. I know it is a great hockey city and should be a very fun place to visit. I hope it is a city I will always remember as a great memory in my career.

You can follow me on twitter at: @jacobtrouba, and stay up on the U18 NTDP and our road to the U18 World Championship. Thanks for reading and check back next month.

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