COLORDO SPRINGS, Colo. – U.S. Men’s Junior and Senior National Team Head Coach Chris Clements has announced the athletes that will participate in the 2012 Junior Pan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico, September 10-23. The eighteen Under-21 athletes selected will face Barbados, Chile and Venezuela in pool play. If successful, the U.S. may face Pan American rivals, Canada or Argentina en route to a podium finish. The top two countries will automatically qualify for the International Hockey Federation’s 10th Men’s Junior World Cup, with third place being a first reserve for the premier tournament.
The U.S. Junior Men’s Team participated in a 3-Nations Tournament in Vancouver, British Columbia, featuring Canada and Chile and recently returned from Auckland, New Zealand, where they faced top men’s regional development squads and the North Harbor National League Team in preparation for the Junior Pan American Games. In addition, since June, 23 young men entered a centralized training program in Ventura County, Cali. While living with host families, the Junior Squad has trained full-time, including regular friendly competitions against current and former National Squad members. This style of training has been extremely beneficial in furthering their skills and gaining experience from senior athletes.
“We are 11 weeks into the Junior Squads centralized training program, with athletes training and living with host families in the Ventura County area full-time,” said Clements. “This has been a huge benefit to the program and I am very grateful for the families and the squads commitment to making this intensive program work. Having this number of players training and competing on a daily basis has allowed us to lay the foundation for the future of the program.”
Accompanying the Junior Squad to Guadalajara are two U.S. Men’s National Team members that participated in the XVI Pan American Games last October, Ajai Dhadwal and Tyler Sundeen.
“The experience that Ajai and Tyler will bring to the squad from the Pan American Games will be valuable as their knowledge of what is required to perform on a higher stage will elevate the level of this group,” said Clements.
The U.S. Junior Men’s Team is hoping their commitment to the centralized training program over the last several months will pay off by providing an extra edge and full cohesiveness as they prepare to for a top finish and qualify for the Junior World Cup.The following athletes have been selected to the 2012 Junior Pan American Team: Michael Barminski (Ventura Cali.), Sean Cicchi (thousand Oaks, Cali.), Ajai Dhadwal (Agoura Hills, Cali.), Mohan Gandhi (Ventura, Cali.), Alex Grassi (Brookville, MD), Austin Groeneveld (Jenkintown, Pa.), Hans Aki Kaeppeler (New York City, N.Y.), Brandon Karess (Allentown, Pa.), Ja Ja Kentwell (Spring City, Pa.), Ranveer Kundi (Chino, Cali.), Christian Linney (La Jolla, Cali.), Johnny Orozco (Ventura, Cali.), Rutger Pruijs (Glendale, Cali.), Chris Rea (San Diego, Cali.), Ranjot Sangha (Sacramento, Cali.), Paul Singh (Yuba City, Cali.), Tyler Sundeen (Simi Valley, Cali.), Liam Walsh (Sedro Woolley, WA)