World Juniors begins with significant NAHL presence
December 26, 2017
Six players with North American Hockey League (NAHL) experience, including four players that are currently playing in the league this season are participating in the 2018 International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) World Junior Championship in Buffalo, New York, which began on December 26th.
Three of the current players are playing for Denmark. Making their fourth consecutive appearance, and on the heels of their great performance last year in Canada, the Danes finished in second place of Group A. Despite losing to the Russians in the quarterfinals, Denmark proved to all they are indeed a hockey force to keep an eye on.
Two of the three players for Denmark are goaltenders as Topeka RoadRunners goalie Emil Gransoe and Austin Bruins goalie Mads Sogaard are two of the three netminders for the Danes. Both have put up respectable numbers this season in the NAHL and are expected to see time in the tournament.
The third NAHL player on the Danish roster is forward Valdemar Ahlberg, who is a teammate of Sogaard with the Austin Bruins. In 24 games with the Bruins this season, Ahlberg has 10 points (4 goals, 6 assists)
Current Johnstown Tomahawks veteran forward Samuel Solensky will be in the line-up for Slovakia. Solensky currently leads the Tomahawks in scoring this season with 23 points in 25 games played. Overall, he has recorded 46 points in 56 games played in the NAHL.
Danish forward and University of Maine commit Jacob Schmidt-Svejstrup played in 26 games for the NAHL’s Coulee Region Chill last season in 2016-17, recording 27 points in 26 games played.
Defenseman Nikolai Knyzhov, in not only an alum of two NAHL teams (Austin Bruins, Springfield Jr. Blues), but is also an NAPHL alum. Knyzhov is suiting up for Russia at the tournament and played in the NAHL for the Springfield Jr. Blues during the 2015-16 season and later the Austin Bruins during the 2016-17 season. He appeared in 21 career NAHL games. Knyzhov also spent the 2013-14 season in the NAPHL playing for the Phoenix Firebirds 16U and 18U teams.
Another NAPHL graduate, University of Maine goalie Jeremy Swayman, is one of three goalies on the United States of America roster.