The Chicago Blackhawks are still off until Tuesday thanks to the NHL’s extended Christmas break, but fans who are craving some hockey action will be able to catch some of the team’s top prospects in the World Junior Championships, which begin on Sunday in Canada.
The Blackhawks will have a trio of players on Team USA’s roster, as the American squad looks to secure its second consecutive championship in the yearly event. The Blackhawks will also have a player on Czechia’s squad for the tournament, and fans will be able to catch all the games on NHL Network.
Here is a breakdown of who will be playing in the tournament:
Drew Commesso (USA) Sports
The Blackhawks’ second round draft pick in the 2020 NHL Draft, Commesso has been named Team USA’s starting goaltender for their opening game against Slovakia on Sunday.
Commesso has played the last two seasons at Boston University. This season he has a 6-7-3 record, but has a 2.82 goals against average and a .900 save percentage in 17 total appearances.
Wyatt Kaiser (USA) A third-round pick of the Blackhawks in 2020, Kaiser is in his sophomore season at the University of Minnesota-Duluth. He has a goal and six assists in 14 games, and is developing a reputation as one of the most steady blue liners on his team.
Landon Slaggert (USA) An alternate captain for the American squad, Slaggert has five goals and five assists in his sophomore season at Notre Dame.
He has scored 13 goals and dished out 19 assists in 42 collegiate games, and was a member of the 2021 World Junior championship squad that won the gold medal.
Michael Krutil (Czechia) This will mark the second consecutive year that Krutil has suited up in the World Juniors, and he’ll hope to improve on a first go-round that saw him held off the scoresheet in four games.
Krutil has appeared in 28 games over the last two seasons with the Rockford IceHogs, with three assists to his credit in those games.
The U.S. will kick off their tournament on Dec. 26 against Slovakia. Puck drop is at 8:30 p.m. The Czechs will open up against Canada on Dec. 27 at 6 p.m.
Here is the rest of the U.S. preliminary round schedule:
Dec. 28: vs. Switzerland, 3:30 p.m.
Dec. 29: vs. Sweden, 8:30 p.m.
Dec. 31: vs. Russia, 8:30 p.m.
The quarterfinal round will take place on Jan. 2, while the semifinals will be contested on Jan. 4. The third-place game and the championship game will be played on Jan. 5.
All games of the tournament will air on NHL Network.