Jake McCabe has had a few tastes of international play, and now he’s got a chance to be part of the main course in one of the world’s most prestigious tournaments. The 19-year-old defenseman was among 27 players named by USA Hockey today as part its preliminary roster for the 2013 U.S. National Junior Team that will compete at the IIHF World Junior Championship in Ufa, Russia from Dec. 26, 2012-Jan. 5, 2013.
A second-round pick (44th overall) of the Sabres this past June in Pittsburgh, McCabe is currently in his sophomore season patrolling the blueline for the University of Wisconsin Badgers. In 12 games with the Badgers this season, the 6-foot-1 McCabe has collected six points and 14 penalty minutes. Both of McCabe’s goals have been scored on the power play, and he also leads the team with nine blocked shots.
McCabe participated in USA Hockey’s National Junior Team Evaluation Camp in Lake Placid last August, seeing two games of action against Finland as part of the three-team round-robin that also included Sweden. The lefthanded-shooting McCabe was also part of USA’s gold-medal winning team at the 2010 World Under-17 Challenge, defeating Canada-Ontario 2-1 in the championship game in Timmins, Ont. The Americans finished that tournament with a perfect 6-0-0 record, and were coached by current Rochester Americans head coach Ron Rolston.
Prior to the World Junior Tournament, McCabe and the 27 players will attend training camp December 16-18 at the New York Rangers’ Madison Square Garden Training Center in Tarrytown, N.Y. An additional camp will follow in Helsinki, Finland, with the final 23-man roster announcement scheduled for Sunday, December 23.
“We have a young, but talented group of players,” said Jim Johannson, general manager of the 2013 U.S. National Junior Team and also the assistant executive director of hockey operations for USA Hockey. “There will be some tough choices to get to the final roster, but that's certainly a good problem to have.”
Three invitees were members of the 2012 U.S. National Junior Team, including goaltender John Gibson (Kitchener/OHL); defenseman Jacob Trouba (Michigan/NCAA); and forward J.T. Miller (Connecticut/AHL).
Former Sabres defenseman Phil Housley is the head coach of the 2013 U.S. National Junior Team. Team USA will compete in a group with Canada, Germany, Russia and Slovakia at this year’s tournament, and all of their games will be shown live on NHL Network.