Zach Werenski to Captain U.S. World Junior Team

USA Hockey has named the Team USA captain for the 2016 World Junior Championship and it will be Columbus Blue Jackets prospect Zach Werenski of the University of Michigan.

Serving as alternate captains will be Minnesota Wild prospect Louie Belpedio, ZSC Lions forward and 2016 draft eligible Auston Matthews and Ottawa Senators prospect Colin White.

With Belpedio the only 19-year-old among them and Matthews currently playing in his draft season, it’s a young leadership group for the U.S. squad. In fact, Werenski is the second youngest captain for a U.S. team ever, according to The youngest was last year’s captain, Jack Eichel.

Coach Ron Wilson had nothing but praise for the entire group, “We’re excited about our leadership group here in Finland. Zach, Louie, Auston and Colin have led by example since day one in Lake Placid this August and have the respect of everybody in the room.”

The 6-foot-2, 221 pound Werenski was a part of last year’s team that had their tournament come to an end all too soon. That disappointment has stuck with him as he hopes to lead the team to a better result this year.

“What I learned about last year was that you can’t come home without hardware,” the 2015 eighth overall draft pick said. “That’s the one thing I learned last year after finishing in fifth place, which wasn’t good enough. That’s what has been in the back of my mind, making sure I come home with a medal.”

The tournament gets underway on Boxing Day, December 26, in Helsinki, Finland.

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