For five Notre Dame athletes, news came this week of the opportunity to trade in their precious blue and gold jerseys for ones consisting of the colors red, white and blue.
On Thursday, the university announced a quartet of hockey players that were invited to join 36 other skaters to the 2011 U.S. National Junior Evaluation Camp in Lake Placid, N.Y., on Aug. 6-13 in preparation for the 2012 International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) World Junior Championship.
The championship will be held in Calgary and Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, from Dec. 26 to Jan. 5. Irish players attending will be sophomore defenseman Stephen Johns (Wampum, Pa.), sophomore right wing Bryan Rust (Novi, Mich.), sophomore center T.J. Tynan (Orland Park, Ill.) and incoming freshman defenseman Robbie Russo (Westmont, Ill.).
It’s the second camp for Johns and Rust. The evaluation will feature practices, scrimmages and international games against Finland and Sweden.
Johns played in all 44 games for Notre Dame, which advanced to the Frozen Four last season, and finished with 11 assists and two goals en route to CCHA all-rookie honorable mention. Rust tied for eighth on the team in scoring with six goals and 13 assists and is a product of the National Team Developmental Program. He was also a member of the gold-medal winning U.S. Under-18 Team that won a world title in Belarus.
Tynan was the top freshman in the nation last season after scoring 23 goals and registering 31 assists. He was named the Hockey Commissioner’s Association National Division I Rookie of the Year in April.
Russo is coming off a year with the U.S. National Team Developmental Program’s U-18 squad where he finished sixth on the team in scoring with 30 points (four goals).
Since 1976, Notre Dame has had 13 players play in the World Junior Championships. Kyle Palmieri was the last to make the squad in 2010 and 2011.
On Wednesday, it was announced that Notre Dame men’s basketball forward Tim Abromaitis was one of 22 players invited by the USA Basketball Men’s Junior National Team Committee to attend the 2011 USA Basketball Men’s University World Games training camp from July 29-Aug. 7 in Colorado Springs, Colo.
Twelve players will be selected to represent the U.S. in Shenzhen, China in August. Abromaitis is one of six current Big East Conference players on the list and finished as Notre Dame’s second-leading scorer with 15.4 points per game.
The U.S. Team will be coached by Purdue’s Matt Painter, who previously served as an assistant on the 2009 USA U-19 World Championship team.
The World University Games are held every other year and are organized by the International University Sports Federation (FISU). The World University Games is a multi-sport competition open to men and women who are between the ages of 17 and 24 (born between Jan. 1, 1987 and Dec. 31, 1993) and who are or have been with the past year, a student at a college or university.
The United States, which has claimed a medal in every World University Games since beginning play in 1965, has captured a record 13 gold medals, three silvers and three bronze medals in the 19 World University Games in which a USA Basketball men’s squad has competed. Overall, the USA owns a 131-8 won-loss record in World University Games play.