Williams Men's Ice Hockey to Host Swedish Junior National TeamWILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — And on the fifth day of practice for the upcoming season Williams College men's ice hockey
As a member of NESCAC, the Ephs are not permitted to begin preseason practice until Nov. 1 each season and this year, just four days after the start of the preseason, the Ephs will line up against one of the best teams to ever skate in Williamstown – the Swedish Junior National Team.
In the last three World Junior Championships the Swedes have medaled each time, winning two bronzes and a silver. Many of the players on the Swedish team have been seen numerous times by NHL scouts and it is quite likely that some NHL scouts will be on hand for the Nov. 5 contest.
"We feel this will be an opportunity for our players, as well as members of the Williams community, to see some world-class hockey right here in Williamstown," said Kangas.
The Swedes currently boast five NHL draft picks: Oscar Lindberg (Phoenix Coyotes), Petter Granberg (Toronto Maple Leafs), John Klingberg (Dallas Stars), Johan Gustafsson (Minnesota Wild) and Sebastian Owuya (Atlanta Thrashers). In addition, the Swedish roster is highlighted by at least seven players who will go through the draft for the first time in 2011. "Potentially a dozen future NHL players could be on the ice on Friday, November fifth," Kangas said.
The Ephs are ranked 13th nationally in the USCHO.com poll and return a solid nucleus from last year's team that finished with an overall record of 15-6-3 and were 13-5-1 in NESCAC, finishing third in the regular season.
The Ephs return nine of their top 10 scorers from last season. A quartet of seniors highlight the top offensive returnees for the Ephs with forward Conor Olvany coming off a season in which he scored 10 goals and assisted on 13. Forwards Matt Masucci (8 g, 11 asst.) and Ben Contini (9g, 7 asst.) also return up front along with offensive minded defender Brian Malchoff (5g, 10 asst.). Malchoff was a First Team All-NESCAC honoree in 2010.
The Ephs also return their top netminder from last season in junior Ryan Purdy. Purdy played 1,236 minutes a year ago and posted a .936 save percentage, while compiling a goals against average of 2.04.
Defending NCAA champion Norwich University is the top-ranked team in the USCHO preseason poll. Williams was the only team to defeat the Norwich last season and the Ephs will travel to Norwich Feb. 5., 2011.
"We are extremely excited to be hosting Sweden's Junior National team, which will compete for Gold at the 2011 World Junior Championships in Buffalo, New York," said Kangas. "The Swedes will play a series of four exhibition games against U.S. Colleges and we are ecstatic to be counted among them. In addition to Williams, Sweden will suit up against Harvard, Merrimack and UMass Amherst (all NCAA Division I). "
The opportunity to play Sweden came about through Kangas' friendship with Jim Tibbetts. "When approached last spring by Jim about the possibility of playing the Swedish Junior National Team, I saw a tremendous opportunity for our players, our school, and for all of Berkshire County to experience something truly unique," Kangas stated. "Tibbetts, the director of the French National Program, and former coach alongside, famed hockey icon, Herb Brooks in the 1992 Winter Olympics, has done an incredible job organizing the trip and we are grateful to him for his efforts."
The Swedish Junior National team will return to the United States for the World Junior Championships December 26, 2010 through Jan. 5, 2011. The United States will be attempting to defend their Gold Medal from the 2010 World Junior Championships won in Saskatoon and Regina, Saskatchewan.
Ticket prices range from $3 to $6 for the game. Tickets are available for adults for $6. Students and children younger than 12 years old can purchase tickets for $3 and children younger than 5 are free.
Because this event will sell out fast a schedule for purchasing tickets in advance has been established. Williams men's ice hockey assistant coach, Ryan Hardy, will be available on Friday, Oct. 29, in the Paresky Student Center from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 14, tickets will be on sale from 9 a.m. to noon in the Lasell Gym lobby (enter from Spring Street).
The doors to Lansing Chapman Rink will open at 6 p.m. for the 7 p.m. contest on Nov. 5.