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Groll second Jr. Ducks player in two years chosen for Team USA U18 Selects

 

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For the second summer in a row, the Anaheim Jr. Ducks had a player selected to USA Hockey’s Under-18 Select Team.

Forward Josh Groll, who played for the Jr. Ducks 16U AAA team that reached the semifinals at USA Hockey Youth Nationals in April, was one of 23 players chosen for Team USA’s entry at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup, which took place Aug. 6-11 in Edmonton and Red Deer, Alberta. The tournament features the top Under-18 teams in the world.

This year, Team USA finished fourth.

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Jr. Ducks alum Slava Demin, a fourth-round selection by the Vegas Golden Knights in the 2018 NHL Draft, made the U18 Select Team last summer.

“I’m really excited and happy for the opportunity, but it’s also really surreal,” said Groll, who committed to the University of Michigan last season, earlier this summer. “I had no indication it was coming, but I was hopeful.”

Groll was among eight players with ties to the Jr. Ducks at USA Hockey’s Boys Select 17 camp, a group that included defensemen Ryan Johnson, Nicholas Kent and Jerrett Overland, goaltender Tyler Shea and forwards Joseph Harguindeguy, Jackson Niedermayer and Ethan Wolters.

Johnson, who was on Team USA’s gold medal-winning team at last summer’s U17 Five Nations Cup with Groll, was unable to participate due to a leg injury. He also recently committed to the University of Minnesota.

All but Kent were part of this past season’s 16U team, co-coached by Alex Kim and Craig Johnson.

“It was a good year, and the coaches and my teammates pushed me into a good position for this summer,” Groll said. “The coaches helped me prepare for these camps and get me to the level where these opportunities would come up.”

Johnson said Groll often provided a spark for the team.

“Josh was a big part of it,” the Jr. Ducks’ director of coaches said. “When you bring that work ethic and intensity to practice every day, others respond.

“It’s a great honor and one that’s well deserved. He can play anywhere in the lineup, and he proved in the Tier 1 (Elite Hockey) league that he can play with elite players.”

Other California natives on the U.S. Hlinka Gretzky Cup team included goaltender Dustin Wolf (Tustin) and Nick Robertson (Los Angeles).

— Chris Bayee

(Aug. 14, 2018)