The Blackhawks’ last two second-round picks will reportedly not be joining Team USA for its training camp ahead of this year’s World Junior Championship in Canada.
Goaltender Drew Commesso and defenseman Alex Vlasic, who both play for Boston University, will no longer be members of Team USA for the upcoming tournament, according to this tweet from Jeff Cox, a hockey prospects analyst for the New England Hockey Journal. The training camp was set to begin on Sunday in Plymouth, Mich., with the roster being finalized one week later.
Cox also reported that the news involves COVID-19 protocols, which appear to now be affecting Boston’s hockey team. Cox later tweeted that the Terriers will not be able to play in a game until Jan. 8.
The report comes three days after Boston announced that its men’s ice hockey program had halted all athletic activities and canceled its scheduled season opener on Saturday, Dec. 5 against Connecticut after a positive test result from a member of the team’s Tier 1 personnel, which includes the players on the team.
Commesso, an 18-year-old who is a freshman at Boston after moving on from USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program, was the Blackhawks 46th overall in the 2020 NHL Draft. Vlasic, a 19-year-old native of Wilmette in Chicago’s northern suburbs, was set to begin his sophomore year at Boston after the Blackhawks drafted him 43rd overall in 2019. Both players remain unsigned.
The news comes as a blow for the development paths of both players, as the stage provided by the World Juniors typically allows burgeoning hockey prospects a platform to showcase their skills.