MINSK, Belarus - Justin Abdelkader (Muskegon, Mich./Detroit Red Wings/Michigan State Univ.) was named captain of the 2014 U.S. Men’s National Team here today. Team USA begins the 2014 International Ice Hockey Federation Men’s World Championship tonight (May 9) against Belarus, the host nation, at Minsk Arena.
Additionally, Craig Smith (Madison, Wis./Nashville Predators/Univ. of Wisconsin) will serve as an alternate captain. The second alternate captain role will be shared by Colin McDonald (Wethersfield, Conn./New York Islanders/Providence College) and Tim Stapleton (La Grange, Ill./AK Bars Kazan/Univ. of Minnesota Duluth). McDonald will wear an ‘A’ when the U.S. wears its white jerseys, while Stapleton will don an ‘A’ when the U.S. wears its blue jerseys.
Abdelkader previously skated for the U.S. Men’s National Team at the 2012 IIHF Men’s World Championship in Helsinki, Finland, and Stockholm, Sweden. He had a goal and three assists in that tournament. Abdelkader also played for the 2007 U.S. National Junior that earned the bronze medal in Leksand and Mora, Sweden.
Smith is making his fourth consecutive appearance on the U.S. Men’s National Team. A year ago, he had a team-best 10 assists and had 14 points overall en route to Team USA’s bronze-medal showing. Stapleton is a member of the U.S. Men’s National Team for the third time in four years (2011, 2013). He had two goals and three assists during the bronze-medal run in 2013. McDonald is making his debut on a U.S. National Team.
Team USA faces Belarus today at 1:45 p.m. EDT in the tournament opener for both teams. NBC Sports Network will televise the game live, while NBC Sports Live Extra will provide live streaming coverage.