For the first time in program history, Penn State will be represented at Team USA’s preliminary camp for the World Junior Championships. Freshman Cole Hults is one of 10 defensemen named to the camp’s roster, which takes place December 15-19 in Columbus, Ohio.
“Cole plays a very mature game which has enabled him to have a quick transition to Division I hockey,” head coach Guy Gadowsky said via press release. “He has really impressed the coaching staff with his unique ability to make plays and generate offense without taking risks.”
Hults will look to secure a spot in the lineup of the defending gold medalists as the team plays a pair of pre-tournament games in Jamestown, N.Y. on December 20 against Belarus and in Erie, Pa. December 22 against Sweden.
At the team’s weekly presser Monday afternoon, Gadowsky discussed the importance of the Tournament and what it would mean to have a Nittany Lion named to the roster.
“I’d be very excited. If that was to happen, it would have to happen to someone who is very deserving,” he said. “I would, first of all, tell them, ‘Congratulations,’ for putting themselves in a position to succeed. I think that would be a wonderful thing for the individual for sure, and I don’t think it’s a bad thing for our program. That’s too special an experience to do anything but be very supportive, and we would be.”
The Tournament has produced plenty of classic moments that have vaulted individuals into stardom. At last year’s event, Denver star Troy Terry netted three goals on three shootout attempts to lead Team USA over Russia in the semifinals, then notched the lone goal in a shootout against Team Canada to give Team USA the gold medal.