Defenseman Alex Vlasic is among the 43 players invited to the 2020 World Junior Summer Showcase.
The eight-day event begins July 24 in Plymouth, Mich. at the USA Hockey Arena and allows invited players to audition for a spot on the U.S. National Junior Team that will compete at the 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship that begins Dec. 26, 2020.
Vlasic, a second-round pick (43rd overall) of the Blackhawks in the 2019 NHL Draft, is a native of Wilmette in Chicago’s northern suburbs and just completed his freshman season at Boston University. The 6-foot-6, 198-pound defenseman appeared in all 34 games for the Terriers and registered four assists while committing just five penalties and ranking sixth on the team with 31 blocked shots.
Vlasic was also selected for the 2019 Summer Showcase, appearing in a July 27 game against Finland and a July 28 game against Sweden. Team USA lost both games, with Vlasic notching one shot on goal and one minor penalty during those two appearances. He was one of 13 players cut from the roster July 29.
This year’s version of the showcase will be different, with the team unable to play games against international opponents due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. But team general manager John Vanbiesbrouck didn’t expect that to affect the event.
“With the current pandemic, we’ll be doing some things differently, and that’s okay. It’s exciting to see rinks opening back up throughout the country and we’re most appreciative of the efforts of Dr. Mike Stuart from the Mayo Clinic, our chief medical and safety officer, among others, for guiding us in best practices to ensure the safest possible environment for our players and everyone involved.” - John Vanbiesbrouck, US National Junior Team general manager
Chicago hasn’t had a prospect play for Team USA in the World Juniors since Evan Barratt in the 2019 edition of the tournament.
Illinois natives Owen Lindmark of Naperville (Panthers) and Alex Turcotte of Island Lake (Kings) were also named to the roster. Five former Chicago Steel players will also head to the camp: Jackson LaCombe (Ducks), Robert Mastrosimone (Red Wings) and 2020 NHL draft prospects Brendan Brisson, Sam Colangelo and Sean Farrell.