Badgers men’s hockey: Trent Frederic seeks to make his own World Juniors success story
The way Trent Frederic sees it, everyone who joins the USA Hockey National Team Development Program has a spot in the World Junior Championship somewhere in his mental list of desired accomplishments.
The University of Wisconsin sophomore is about to make a check mark there.
Frederic was revealed Saturday as a member of the final, 23-player U.S. roster for the World Juniors, a yearly under-20 tournament that’s a collection of high NHL draft picks and top draft-age talent.
The 19-year-old forward, like many who have come through the American development system in the past few years, has memories of watching the post-Christmas tournament on TV, especially highly publicized games between the U.S. and Canada.
Starting at the Michigan-based national team program three years ago put Frederic on track for this assignment.
“When you’re 16 and you show up, it’s kind of a long shot or a long ways away,” Frederic said. “But it’s something that they make that team for.”
The tournament starts Tuesday in Buffalo, New York, and runs through Jan. 5 — the same day the Badgers return from a three-week break by playing at Penn State.
While Frederic is fulfilling a long-held desire by playing in the World Juniors, the U.S. is looking to have a few of its wishes come true. The Americans have never won consecutive gold medals in the tournament; they beat Canada in Montreal in a championship-game shootout last January with a team led by captain Luke Kunin of UW.
And none of their four titles has been won in the U.S.
St. Cloud State coach Bob Motzko is back to lead the team for a second straight season, and this year’s event has a showcase with an outdoor game at Buffalo’s New Era Field on Dec. 29.
A month after becoming a first-round draft pick of the Boston Bruins in 2016, Frederic took part in the evaluation camp for the U.S. World Junior team but wasn’t selected for the roster.
“I had a lot of friends (on the team), and it would have been cool to say I was part of that team and win it,” Frederic said. “But I can make my own story now.”
Frederic, the Big Ten Conference’s top freshman last season, is tied for the UW lead with eight goals and is second on the team with 16 points after an uneven first half of the season.
He’s the 54th Badgers player to compete in the World Juniors since 1978. Former UW skater Jim Johannson is the team’s general manager for the ninth straight year.
Usually a center for the Badgers, Frederic played as a wing in the first exhibition game with the U.S. team, which has a glut of talent down the middle. He was the 13th forward on the line chart and scored an empty-net goal in Friday’s 3-1 pre-tournament victory over Sweden.
Frederic said recently he’d play whatever role was asked of him to be part of the team.
“If they want me to be the 13th forward, I’ll be the 13th forward,” he said. “If they want me to be the first forward, I’ll be the first forward. So that’s just the mentality I’ll be taking.”
Recruits get gold
Three players who have given the Badgers oral commitments won gold medals with the U.S. at the 2017 Under-17 Four Nations Tournament.
Alex Turcotte scored the only goal in a shootout to give the Americans a 2-1 victory over host Russia in the Dec. 16 championship game.
Turcotte, Cole Caufield and Owen Lindmark all are forwards on the team.
Caufield was the tournament’s scoring leader, with a regulation goal in the championship game giving him six in three games.