After leading the Eden Prairie boys’ hockey team to a state championship in 2021, Jackson Blake and Luke Mittelstadt may soon be representing the entire U.S. in a hockey sweater.
USA Hockey recently announced a list of 60 players invited to its annual National Junior Evaluation Camp. The event, which begins July 24, will help decide which players are a part of the 2022 and 2023 U.S. National Junior Team.
This camp, which takes place from July 24-Aug. 3 at USA Hockey Arena in Plymouth, Michigan, includes players competing for spots on the U.S. team that will compete at the 2022 IIHF World Junior Championship in Edmonton and help determine the roster for the 2023 tournament, which will start in December 2022.
Mittelstadt, the younger brother of Casey, spent last season playing for the Madison Capitals of the United States Hockey League (USHL). He is set to play for the University of Minnesota this fall after being named to the All-USHL first team. Mittelstadt played 60 games for the Capitals last season, tallying 19 goals and 36 assists.
Blake, the son of 13-year NHL veteran Jason Blake, is off to North Dakota this fall but certainly left an impact on EP hockey as Blake scored the game-winning goal in the state championship game against Lakeville South in 2021. He was taken in the 2021 NHL Draft in the fourth round by the Carolina Hurricanes.
Team USA enters this tournament as the defending champions after capturing the 2021 crown. The 2022 tournament was started and then halted due to COVID-19 concerns and will resume on July 24 with a roster formed from this camp. The 2023 tournament is still scheduled from its regular time of December into January.
Mittelstadt and Blake would not be the first members of the U.S. Junior Team with connections to EP hockey. Others include Danny Kristo (2009-10), Jackson LaCombe (2021), Nick Leddy (2011), Casey Mittelstadt (2018), Kyle Rau (2012) and the first, Landon Wilson (1995).
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