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Luke Strand Ready To Lead Team USA At The Hlinka Gretzky Cup

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Luke Strand Ready To Lead Team USA At The Hlinka Gretzky Cup

Luke Strand is prepared to captain Team USA at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup despite having had a hectic summer.

The new bench coach from Minnesota State is grateful and eager for the chance to represent his nation, beginning on Monday against Czechia.

This summer, Luke Strand hasn’t had a lot of time to breathe deeply. Three months have flown by for Minnesota State’s new head coach as he adjusts to Mankato and learns his new system.

With the start of the season less than two months away, Strand joked that he hasn’t even settled into his new house yet.

The next two weeks will also keep him busy because Strand will now travel abroad to represent Team USA at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup.

He wouldn’t want it any other way, though.

First off, I just want to say how grateful and thrilled I am to have the chance to lead this squad, said Strand, who assumed his new position as squad USA’s bench manager on June 5. “The opportunity to represent my country was the main draw for me, hands down. The age group was the second factor.

These young players have a fantastic chance to establish themselves and become well-known, so I’m thrilled to be able to support them. I’m also quite forward to start working with this staff. Everyone has excellent experience, and it’s enjoyable to be with everyone.

While still an assistant at Ohio State, Strand claimed he was first contacted about the position last season, and the chance was a “no-brainer.”

Nick Oliver, Karl Goehring, Jimmy Mullin, and Chad Kolarik will sit with him on the bench as they try to give USA Hockey its first gold medal at the competition since 2003 and just the second in programme history. Team USA has finished in second place eight times since the tournament’s inception in 1991.

Strand has experience coaching junior athletes and is familiar with the significance of the occasion for the young players on the rink. But this time, he’s looking forward to having a closer perspective from behind the bench.

“The Hlinka Cup has grown so much,” he declared. It is actively scouted on the collegiate scene as well as by the NHL, many of the teams of which will send their European directors. There is a lot of potential, therefore it’s a tremendous opportunity for these young people.

“I know these people don’t take that lightly, but it’s always nice to represent your country on the international stage. So there was a lot of appeal, and I know that myself and every member of our staff wants to do whatever we can to support these kids.

Regarding that talent, Strand will have access to one of Team USA’s most robust squads in recent memory.

The Plymouth training camp last weekend began with 38 players and eventually reduced to 23 over the course of the four-day programme. The final roster was announced on Monday morning.

When it came to making any final roster decisions, Strand jokingly said he preferred to “shop for the groceries and just let him cook” with GM Marc Boxer and the rest of his crew. He is content with the team they have put together, though.

To get there, there must be many difficult decisions taken, according to Strand. There is undoubtedly a lot of talent on exhibit during the main camp, and Buffalo was a fantastic backdrop and a tremendously competitive environment. So all you can do is hope that the guys’ inherent talents come through.

The question for us is if we can combine the greatest players with the best fit and ensure that we fill all of the roles and tick the necessary boxes since many of these men were the top players in their previous teams and are here for a reason. And I believe we have achieved it.

On Monday, July 31, Team USA will play the Czech Republic in the tournament opener. The puck drops in Monday’s game at 12:00 (CDT), and NHL Network will broadcast it.

All of Team USA’s games will be recapped and covered by The Rink Live throughout the week.

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