Kearney, NE. – The Tri-City Storm will once again be well represented at next month’s World Junior A Challenge. Last year, Storm Head Coach Anthony Noreen led USA to a Gold Medal at the event, with Isaiah Saville, Zac Jones, and Ronnie Attard making key contributions to the team during the tournament. Today, USA Hockey unveiled the roster for this year’s tournament as USA attempts to secure back to back victories in the event. Tri-City Storm Head Coach Anthony Noreen will serve as the team’s Head Coach for the second consecutive year in the event. Storm defenseman Mitchell Miller has been named to the team for the second consecutive year. Storm defenseman Mike Koster has also been named to the roster and will represent USA at the event for the first time. Storm forward Matthew Knies has also been named to the roster and will make his first appearance in the event.
The 2019 World Junior A Challenge in Dawson Creek, British Columbia will mark the second straight year that Tri-City Storm Head Coach Anthony Noreen has been chosen to lead USA in the tournament. Previously, Noreen served as an Assistant Coach for USA at the 2017 World Junior A Challenge. Last year’s win in the event marked the second time in the last three years, and the eighth time in the last eleven years that USA has captured a Gold Medal at the tournament. Noreen’s staff of Assistant Coaches will include various coaches from across the USHL including; Assistant Coach David Wilkie (Head Coach Omaha Lancers), Assistant Coach Shane Fukushima (GM/Associate Head Coach Waterloo Black Hawks), Assistant Coach Mark Abalan (Associate Head Coach Sioux City Musketeers). In total, this year’s USA roster is comprised of twenty-two players, all of whom play for USHL member clubs.
“I don’t know if there is a bigger honor in sports than to represent your country on a world stage. In a league where you’re surrounded by peers who you have a ton of respect for, to be able to lead a group like this, its humbling and it’s not something I take lightly. Mitchell Miller was part of the Gold Medal winning team last year, and not only has he taken tremendous steps since then both physically and mentally, but he’ll also be able to draw on experience from last year and be an impactful player and leader. Mike Koster is a guy who we think adds exactly what you need from a defenseman in an event like this. He defends hard, defends well, will be able to get the puck up to a forward group who we believe is very strong, and a guy who will also be able to help on special teams. Matthew Knies is a player who we feel has taken a huge step from the beginning of the year and he’s trending in the right direction. He can play up and down the lineup on a team line this, he’s got high end skill, he’s highly competitive, and a great teammate. We know that he will accept whatever role we put him in, his body of work has made him deserving to be a part of this group.” Head Coach Anthony Noreen
The World Junior A Challenge is an annual under-20 international tournament hosted by Hockey Canada. The 2019 edition of the event will be held in Dawson Creek, British Columbia next month. The tournament will take place at the Encana Events Centre December 7th-15th. Since the event’s inception in 2006, more than 300 NHL draft picks have played in the tournament, including 39 first-round selections.
Mitchell Miller, 17, of Sylvania, Ohio returns to the World Junior A Challenge as a Gold Medalist from last year’s USA roster. Miller appeared in six games with USA during the 2018 tournament. Miller was acquired by Tri-City via trade on May 29th. Miller also previously represented his country at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup, where he recorded five assists in five games played. Last season, Miller skated in forty-eight regular season games with the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders. He scored four goals and recorded twelve assists for sixteen total points. Through the first seventeen games of the 2019-2020 regular season, he has recorded six assists for Tri-City’s offense. Miller previously announced a commitment to play collegiate hockey at the University of North Dakota.
Mike Koster, 18, of Chaska, Minnesota is set to make his first appearance with USA at the World Junior A Challenge after previously representing his country at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup. Koster was drafted by the Storm 2nd overall in the 1st Round of the 2017 USHL Phase I draft. Koster split time with Chaska High School and Tri-City during the 2017-2017 and 2018-2019 seasons. Koster was a member of Tri-City’s 2019 Anderson Cup Championship team and has appeared in ten games with the team this season. Koster has netted one goal and recorded three assists to this point in the 2019-2020 regular season. In June, Koster was one of five Storm players to be selected at the 2019 NHL Draft. Koster was drafted 146th Overall in the 5th Round of the 2019 NHL Draft by the Toronto Maple Leafs and previously announced a commitment to play college hockey at the University of Minnesota.
Matthew Knies, 17, of Phoenix, Arizona will skate for USA for the first time in his career as the Storm’s lone forward representative on the roster. Knies was selected 38th Overall by Tri-City in Round 3 of the 2018 USHL Phase I draft and appeared in two games with the team last season as an affiliate list callup. Previously, Knies skated for the Phoenix Jr. Coyotes program in Phoenix, Arizona. Through the first seventeen games of the 2019-2020 regular season, Knies has scored four goals and recorded eight assists for the Tri-City offense. He scored his 1st Career USHL Goal on October 10th in Tri-City’s 4-1 defeat of the Sioux Falls Stampede at the Viaero Center. Knies previously announced a commitment to play college hockey at the University of Minnesota.
The official tournament schedule kicks off with a pair of rivalry match-ups on Dec. 7, with Team Canada East taking on Russia at 2 p.m. MT and Team Canada West facing off against the United States at 7 p.m. MT. Teams will wrap up the preliminary round on Dec. 13 before the tournament concludes with the bronze and gold medal games on Dec. 15. The schedule will also feature one preliminary-round game between Team Canada East and the United States to be played at North Peace Arena in Fort St. John, B.C., on Dec. 11.