ANN ARBOR, USA Ė USA Hockey announced that Don Granato will guide the U.S. National Under-18 team after serving behind the bench for the Under-17 team last season.
Don Granato is the brother of former NHL player and current Pittsburgh Penguins assistant coach Tony Granato and of former womenís national team player Cammi Granato.
Nick Fohr will enter his second season as an assistant to Granato.
Also the centralized roster of the National Team Development Programís national U18 team was announced.
The squad, comprised of some of the top American-born players in the 1995 birth year, will compete against teams from the United States Hockey League and NCAA Division I and III schools, in addition to participating in three international competitions including the 2013 IIHF Ice Hockey U18 World Championship in Sochi, Russia.
Highlighting the 23-player roster are forwards J.T. Compher and Anthony Louis and defenseman Will Butcher, all who were a part of the U.S. Menís National Under-18 Team that captured the gold medal at the 2012 IIHF Ice Hockey U18 World Championship held in Breclav, Brno and Znojmo, Czech Republic.
Nineteen players on the roster are returning for their second year with the NTDP, including defensemen Gage Ausmus, Butcher, Trevor Hamilton, Clint Lewis, Steven Santini, Scott Savage and Keaton Thompson; forwards Evan Allen, Compher, Dawson Cook, Hudson Fasching, John Hayden, Tyler Kelleher, Kevin Labanc, Louis, Michael McCarron and Tyler Motte; and goaltenders Curtis Frye and Hunter Miska.
Defenseman Connor Clifton joins the squad after spending last season with the Eastern Junior Hockey League's New Jersey Hitmen. The defenseman was most recently named to the U.S. Under-18 Select Team that is currently competing in the 2012 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament in Breclav, Czech Republic and Piestany, Slovakia. Clifton also helped the U.S. National Under-17 Team and Under-17 Select Team claim the 2011 Four Nations Tournament title in both Balishikha, Russia, and Ann Arbor, Mich. respectively. Clifton also skated in eight games with the U.S. National Under-17 Team in USHL action.
Forwards Shane Eiserman and Sean Malone also earned a spot on the U.S. National Under-18 Team roster for the 2012/2013 season. Eiserman most recently completed a season with Cushing Academy (Mass.), accumulating 44 points (18-26) in 30 games. Eiserman also earned a title with the 2011 U.S. Under-17 Select Team at the Four Nations Tournament in Ann Arbor, Mich. Malone comes to the NTDP from Nichols School (N.Y.), where he posted 36 points (18-18) in 16 games with the Vikings. Malone is currently competing with the U.S. Under-18 Select Team at the 2012 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament.
Netminder Thatcher Demko joins the squad after splitting last season between the USHL's Omaha Lancers and L.A. Junior Kings Midget Minor team. Demko is currently playing for the U.S. in the 2012 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament and has also been part of U.S. teams that competed in the 2012 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge in Windsor, Ont. and the 2011 Four Nations Tournament in Ann Arbor, Mich.