Four players with Los Angeles Jr. Kings ties - forward Brendan Brisson; defensemen Drew Helleson and Jackson LaCombe; and goaltender Dustin Wolf - were named to the 2021 U.S. National Junior Team that will compete in the upcoming International Ice Hockey Federation World Junior Championship, which will be showcased in Edmonton from Dec. 25, 2020-Jan. 5, 2021.
Brisson (pictured), who was selected by the Vegas Golden Knights in the first round of this year’s NHL Entry Draft (29th overall), is in his freshman season at the University of Michigan.
Last season, Brisson skated for the United States Hockey League’s (USHL) Chicago Steel and was named the USHL Rookie of the Year and to the All-USHL First Team.
Wolf, who signed an entry-level contract with the Calgary Flames in May - the team that selected him in the seventh round of last year's draft (214th overall) - capped off an award-laden 2019-20 season himself with the Western Hockey League’s (WHL) Everett Silvertips, earning a spot on the WHL Western Conference First-Team while also being named the WHL Western Conference Goaltender of the Year and ultimately the league’s Goaltender of the Year and Canadian Hockey League Goaltender of the Year.
A member of last year's U.S. World Junior Team, Wolf was also named the recipient of the USA Hockey Dave Peterson Goaltender of the Year award.
LaCombe, who was selected by the Anaheim Ducks in last year's draft (second round, 39th overall), is in his sophomore season at the University of Minnesota. A second-round draft pick of the Colorado Avalanche last year (47th overall), Helleson is in his sophomore campaign at Boston College.
All four players are 2001 birth years.
“Our players and staff have done everything we’ve asked of them, all of the safety protocols and considerations, in order to make hockey the focus of our training camp,” said John Vanbiesbrouck, general manager of the 2021 U.S. National Junior Team and also the assistant executive director of hockey operations for USA Hockey. “We had a great week of camp and have certainly faced adversity, but we believe in these 25 players and we all have the same goal.”
Team USA will face Russia in its first preliminary matchup on Dec. 25 at Rogers Place with opening faceoff set for 7:30 p.m. local time. In its 13th year televising the tournament, NHL Network will provide live game telecasts of all U.S. games, including the team’s two pre-tournament matchups, plus comprehensive previews, highlights, analysis and interviews within its studio programming.
The United States enters this year’s World Junior Championship seeking its fifth medal in six years after earning a record four-consecutive medals: gold in 2017; silver in 2019; and bronze in both 2018 and 2016.