The NHL shuts down on December 24 and 25 for the Christmas holiday, with neither games nor practices able to take place. However there will be some in the Sharks system taking to the ice. Prospects Charlie Coyle and Konrad Abeltshauser will be prepping each day in Buffalo for the December 26 opening of the World Jr. Championship. Coyle, a 2010 first round forward pick, will skate for Team USA, while Abeltshauser, a 2010 sixth round blueliner pick, will represent Germany.
With the tournament being played in Buffalo, Coyle’s family will be able to make the trek from the Boston area.
“We had a plan that if I did make the team, they were going to travel down together the 26th, my mom, dad and sisters, in time for the first game,” Coyle said of the almost eight hour drive.
The news of being selected for the prestigious tournament may be the best of Coyle’s young hockey career, but there were a few other people a bit more excited than him.
“I talked to my dad first and texted my mom because she was working,” Coyle said. “My sisters called me after that so I had talked to everyone. They are always waiting and don’t know right off the bat if you made it, they were excited.”
Personally, Coyle said his was a mix of emotions when he heard the good news.
“It was a little of both, you’re kind of nervous, hoping you had a good camp and you’re the right guy for them,” Coyle said. “It was a relief to have it over. Now we have a set team and can start the tournament.”
Team USA has already participated in a couple of pre-tournament games and is ready for the real action.
“We were in Rochester for an exhibition game with RPI and then we were in Jamestown where we faced the Czech Republic in an exhibition game,” Coyle said.
Last year at this time, Coyle was plotting out the game times to see if he could watch any of the action on television. This year, he is must see TV.
“I remember last year sitting in my house watching this tournament and watching them win the gold,” Coyle said. “Now I can be a part of it. It’s pretty exciting. We have a title to defend and we’ll do our best to do that.”
The Boston University Terriers will have to do without Coyle’s services while he skates for his country, but Coyle has been enjoying his freshman campaign at BU.
“We got off to a great start and were undefeated for the first seven games or so,” Coyle said. “We had a little period where we slipped. Overall we had a good first semester and we’ll bounce back next semester.”
The NHL Network will be carrying a bulk of Team USA’s games during the tournament.