Jake Sanderson, an Ottawa Senators defenseman prospect, was named United States captain for the 2022 IIHF World Junior Championship.
The 19-year-old had two assists in seven games when the United States finished first at the 2021 World Junior Championship. He was selected by the Senators with the No. 5 pick of the 2020 NHL Draft.
“The strength of this team is its leadership, and we have a group of guys that have earned the letter on their jersey both on and off the ice,” United States coach Nate Leaman said. “There are even more leaders in our locker room. We’re excited about this group overall, and for us to be successful, every player will need to find a way to lead.”
Defenseman Brock Faber (Los Angeles Kings) and forwards Matty Beniers (Seattle Kraken) and Landon Slaggert (Chicago Blackhawks) were named alternate captains for the United States.
Sanderson, a left-shot defenseman, has scored 19 points (six goals, 13 assists) in 15 games as a sophomore at the University of North Dakota this season. He serves as an alternate captain.
Kaiden Guhle, a defenseman selected No. 16 by the Montreal Canadiens in the 2020 draft, was named Canada captain on Monday. The 19-year-old scored three points (one goal, two assists) in seven games for second-place Canada at the 2021 WJC.
Jake Neighbours (St. Louis Blues) and Cole Perfetti (Winnipeg Jets) were named alternates. Guhle and Perfetti are two of three returning players for Canada, along with goalie Dylan Garand (New York Rangers).
Sanderson, Faber, Beniers and Slaggert are four of six returning players for the United States, along with forward Brett Berard (Rangers) and defenseman Tyler Kleven (Senators).
Canada is the host country for the 2022 WJC, scheduled for Dec. 26 to Jan. 5 in Red Deer and Edmonton.
The United States will try to win back-to-back titles for the first time after defeating Canada 2-0 in the 2021 championship game. Canada was the last team to do so, winning five straight from 2005-09.
The United States is scheduled to play preliminary-round games in Group B at WP Centrium in Red Deer with Russia, Sweden, Slovakia and Switzerland. Canada’s preliminary-round schedule in Group A at Rogers Place features Finland, Czechia, Germany and Austria.
The top four teams in each group will play in the quarterfinals Jan. 2. The semifinals are Jan. 4, and the championship and third-place games are Jan. 5 in Edmonton.
All games will be broadcast on NHL Network in the U.S. and TSN and RDS in Canada.