Portland Winterhawks center Keegan Iverson was among 42 players invited to the U.S. National Junior Evaluation Camp, an audition for a spot on the American team that will compete in the 2015 International Ice Hockey Federation World Junior Championship.
The one-week evaluation camp takes place August 2-9 in Lake Placid, N.Y. The world juniors, a showcase of future National Hockey
League talent, is Dec. 26, 2014 to Jan. 5, 2015 in Montreal and Toronto. USA Hockey officials invited Iverson to the evaluation camp two days ago.
“I was really excited to find out I have an opportunity to play for Team USA again,” said Iverson, a St. Louis Park, Minn., resident who skated for the U.S, Under-17 national team in 2012-13.
He drew the attention of USA Hockey officials with an excellent 2013-14 season with the Western Hockey League Winterhawks, tallying 22 goals, 20 assists and 70 penalty minutes in 67 games. Iverson, an alum of Canada’s Skillz Black Aces youth hockey teams, will have familiar faces around him at the U.S. evaluation camp. Three other Winterhawks – goaltender Brendan Burke and forwards Chase De Leo and Dominic Turgeon – are also auditioning in Lake Placid to audition for spots on the U.S. squad.
“The evaluation camp is an important step as the players try to earn spots on the U.S. World Junior Team,” Portland Winterhawks General Manager and Head Coach Mike Johnston said. “I am confident all four players will have strong showings and make positive impressions at the camp.”
The Winterhawks have been a talent incubator of sorts for junior championship teams. USA. Former Portland defenseman Seth Jones, who completed his rookie season with the Nashville Predators last April, played on 2011, 2012 and 2013 U.S. national junior squads. Winterhawks defenseman Mathew Dumba, the seventh overall pick in the 2012 NHL draft by the Minnesota Wild, played for Canada in the 2014 world juniors.
Iverson’s evaluation camp invite is part of what’s shaping up to be an excellent summer for him. Next weekend,
he’ll be glued to the television waiting to see which team selects him in the 2014 NHL Draft in Philadelphia. He’s ranked as the 85th-best North American skater by the NHL’s Central Scouting Service.
Iverson said watching the draft at home may be nerve-racking, but it’ll be a breeze compared to going through the grueling NHL Combine strength and endurance camp in Toronto last month.
“At the Combine, my teammates told me to be myself and everything will go well,” Iverson told reporter Lesley Dawson. “As for the draft process, they told me to be excited for when my name gets called, and be ready to work after.”