The Nashville Predators will be well represented at the upcoming 2014 IIHF World Championship being held May 9-25 in Minsk, Belarus, not only on the ice, but behind the bench and in the video room as well.
The United States were the first to announce their coaching staff and first round of players to the roster earlier this week. Predators Assistant Coach Phil Housley and Video Coach Lawrence Feloney being named to similar positions with the national team, and defenseman Seth Jones and forward Craig Smith being two of the first 16 players selected.
Housley is serving as an assistant coach for the U.S. Men’s National Team for the second year in a row and third time overall (2011). Last year, he helped Team USA win the Bronze Medal at the 2013 IIHF Men's World Championship and was the head coach of the U.S. National Junior Team that won the Gold Medal at the 2013 IIHF World Junior Championship in Ufa, Russia. This will be Feloney’s first time representing his country at an international competition.
Fresh off his rookie NHL season, Jones is set to appear in his first World Championships after previously winning gold at the 2013 World Junior Championship, and at both the 2011 and 2012 Under-18 World Championships, captaining the squad in 2012. This is Smith’s fourth consecutive World Championship tournament; he was one of only two collegiate underclassmen in 2011, and was named one of the United States’ top three players in both 2012 and 2013, earning a bronze medal in the latter competition.
Also confirmed for the tournament are defenseman Ryan Ellis and Roman Josi.
Ellis, one of the most decorated players in Canadian World Junior Championship history, heads to Worlds for the first time in 2014. Just 23 years old, the Freelton, Ont., native already has four medals in IIHF competition, claiming Gold at the 2008 Under-18 World Championship and 2009 World Junior Championship, and Silver at the 2010 and 2011 World Junior Championships.
For Josi, representing the Swiss is a given – he’s played in five of the past six World Championships, in addition to the 2014 Sochi Olympics, four World Junior Championships (2007-10) and a pair of Under-18 World Championships (2007-08). At last year’s edition of the World Championships, the Bern, Switzerland native was the first player from his nation to be named Most Valuable Player, Best Defenseman and a tournament All-Star, helping the Swiss to a silver medal, the nation’s first medal in 60 years. He led all tournament defensemen in goals (4) and points (9).
Several countries – including Sweden and Finland – have yet to name their teams, so more Preds could be joining Housley, Feloney, Jones, Smith, Ellis and Josi in the coming days.