After leading Team USA to a gold medal in 2017 in Montreal, St. Cloud State’s Bob Motzko will once again coach the U.S. National Junior Team in 2018 at the IIHF World Junior Championship Dec. 26, 2017-Jan. 5, 2018 in Buffalo, N.Y.
Motzko’s return to the Team USA bench as head coach is a bit of a surprise considering in mid-January, he said “other people are going to have to take their turn. I have to raise my family now and be forever grateful I got that opportunity.” Motzko and his wife, Shelley, have three children and missing Christmas to help get Team USA ready for the tournament was tough, said the 55-year-old Huskies coach. Now that the tournament is in Buffalo, Motzko tells the St. Cloud Times he hopes to have his family there with him for the holidays this time.
Minnesota Duluth freshman wing Joey Anderson was part of the group of Americans that won gold in 2017 and will be eligible to return for the 2018 World Junior Championship.
Other Bulldogs who are eligible to participate include current freshman wing Riley Tufte — who injured his hand during last summer’s U.S. National Junior Evaluation Camp — and incoming freshmen defensemen Scott Perunovich, Mikey Anderson (brother of Joey) and Matt Anderson (no relation). Tufte, Perunovich and Mikey Anderson have previous experience playing for USA Hockey in international tournaments.
USA Hockey will hold this summer’s U.S. National Junior Evaluation Camp in Plymouth, Mich. in August with a list of invitees expected in the coming months.