Santini, Labanc, Malone Named to U17 Team USA

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    USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program, which enters its 16th season on ice in 2012-13, today announced the roster and schedule for its U.S. National Under-18 Team. The squad, comprised of some of the top American-born players in the 1995 birth year, will compete against teams from the United States Hockey League and NCAA Division I and III schools, in addition to participating in three international competitions.

    Highlighting the 23-player roster are forwards J.T. Compher (Northbrook, Ill.) and Anthony Louis(Winfield, Ill.) and defenseman Will Butcher (Sun Prairie, Wis.), all who were a part of the U.S. Men’s National Under-18 Team that captured the gold medal at the 2012 International Ice Hockey Federation Men’s World Under-18 Championship held in Breclav, Brno and Znojmo, Czech Republic.

    Nineteen players on the roster are returning for their second year with the NTDP, including defensemenGage Ausmus (East Grand Forks, Minn.), Butcher, Trevor Hamilton (Grosse Pointe Farms, Mich.), Clint Lewis (Burnsville, Minn.), Steven Santini (Mahopac, N.Y.), Scott Savage (San Clemente, Calif.) andKeaton Thompson (Devils Lake, N.D.); forwards Evan Allen (Sterling Heights, Mich.), Compher,Dawson Cook (Cadillac, Mich.), Hudson Fasching (Burnsville, Minn.), John Hayden (Greenwich, Conn.), Tyler Kelleher (Longmeadow, Mass.), Kevin Labanc (Staten Island, N.Y.), Louis, Michael McCarron (Macomb, Mich.) and Tyler Motte (St. Clair, Mich.); and goaltenders Curtis Frye(Northwood, N.H.) and Hunter Miska (North Branch, Minn.).

    Defenseman Connor Clifton (Matawan, N.J.) joins the squad after spending last season with the Eastern Junior Hockey League’s New Jersey Hitmen. The defenseman was most recently named to the U.S. Under-18 Select Team that is currently competing in the 2012 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament in Breclav, Czech Republic and Piestany, Slovakia. Clifton also helped the U.S. National Under-17 Team and Under-17 Select Team claim the 2011 Four Nations Tournament title in both Balishikha, Russia, and Ann Arbor, Mich. respectively. Clifton also skated in eight games with the U.S. National Under-17 Team in USHL action.

    Forwards Shane Eiserman (West Newbury, Mass.) and Sean Malone (West Seneca, N.Y.) also earned a spot on the U.S. National Under-18 Team roster for the 2012-13 season. Eiserman most recently completed a season with Cushing Academy (Mass.), accumulating 44 points (18-26) in 30 games. Eiserman also earned a title with the 2011 U.S. Under-17 Select Team at the Four Nations Tournament in Ann Arbor, Mich. Malone comes to the NTDP from Nichols School (N.Y.), where he posted 36 points (18-18) in 16 games with the Vikings. Malone is currently competing with the U.S. Under-18 Select Team at the 2012 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament.

    Netminder Thatcher Demko (San Diego, Calif.) joins the squad after splitting last season between the USHL’s Omaha Lancers and L.A. Junior Kings Midget Minor team. Demko is currently playing for the U.S. in the 2012 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament and has also been part of U.S. teams that competed in the 2012 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge in Windsor, Ont. and the 2011 Four Nations Tournament in Ann Arbor, Mich.

    Don Granato will guide the U.S. National Under-18 team in 2012-13, after serving behind the bench for the Under-17 team last season. Nick Fohr will enter his second season as an assistant to Granato, while Josh Brown will serve as intern assistant coach for the first time this season.

    The U.S. National Under-18 Team will begin its home schedule, and play its first competition, on Sept. 15 with a pre-season tilt against the Youngstown Phantoms at the St. Mary’s Athletic Complex in Orchard Lake, Mich. The team’s first collegiate game will come at the University of Wisconsin on Oct. 6, while its opening regular-season USHL contest will take place on Oct. 16 at home against Youngstown. The U.S. National Under-18 Team will serve as the host country in its first international competition of the season, as the 2012 Four Nations Tournament will be held in Ann Arbor, Mich, Nov. 6-11. In addition, the U.S. National Under-18 Team will compete in the 2013 Five Nations Tournament Feb. 5-10 in Jonkoping, Sweden. The season culminates with the 2013 IIHF Men’s World Under-18 Championship April 7-22 in Sochi, Russia.

    Tickets for home games played at the Ann Arbor Ice Cube are $7 for adults and $5 for children, seniors and active military members. Youth hockey players wearing their team jerseys are admitted for just $1. New this season, the NTDP is offering a Family Four Pack, good for four tickets, four hot dogs and four sodas. Family Four Packs are $25 prior to the day of the game. Tickets can be purchased by calling the NTDP at (734) 327-9251.

    The complete schedule and roster can be found at www.usahockey.com

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