Union defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere is excited about trying out for the United States World Junior team. But that opportunity almost got derailed a couple of weeks ago.
Gostisbehere, who will begin his sophomore season with the Dutchmen in the fall, will be attending the U.S. National Development camp beginning Saturday in Lake Placid. Gostisbehere is one of 46 players invited to the camp, and the first Dutchman ever to earn that honor.
The Margate, Fla., native was injured in a scrimmage at the Philadelphia Flyers’ prospect camp on July 14. He was checked by center Scott Laughton, who was the Flyers’ top pick in the NHL entry draft June 22, early in the first period of a scrimmage. Gostisbehere left the ice and didn’t return.
“I just got hit weird,” said the 19-year-old Gostisbehere, who was selected by the Flyers in the third round of the draft. “It was a weird spot on the ice. There was a stanchion by the bench where the padding is. I got kind of hit over the bench, and my head just smacked it. I got a little dazed and confused.”
Gostisbehere said he got his bell rung, while the Flyers said it was a mild concussion. Either way, knowing that he had the U.S. Development camp coming up, Gostisbehere decided to sit out the final scrimmage the next day.
“I took a couple of days off, and then got right back to it,” Gostisbehere said.
Since then, Gostisbehere has been working out in preparation for the Development camp.
“I’m fine, though, now,” Gostisbehere said. “I did everything last week perfectly fine. I’m good to go.”
Gostisbehere will be one of 17 defenseman trying to impress U.S. World Junior head coach Phil Housley and his assistants, Mark Osiecki and Grant Potulny. The final roster won’t be selected until mid-December. The World Junior Championship takes place Dec. 26 to Jan. 5 in Ufa, Russia.
“I can’t wait,” Gostisbehere said. “I’m counting down the minutes. I just want to get out there and play. I was antsy to get out to the Flyers’ camp. I’m even more antsy to get out there. It’s your country, and you’re trying to make the team. I’m want to make it real bad.”
Certainly, battling with 16 other defensemen for a spot will be a challenge for Gostisbehere. But the ECAC Hockey All-Rookie team member, who had five goals and 17 assists last season, is ready for it. All he wants to do is keep things simple.
“I’m just going to play my game,” Gostisbehere said. “Yeah, kids have done stuff before, but it matters what you do at the camp. That’s what I’m focusing on, just having a good camp and giving it my all, showing them how I play the game. But, more importantly, having fun out there.”
The 46 players will be divided into two teams, Blue and White. They will have intrasquad scrimmages Saturday and Sunday, then play games against Finland and Sweden. On Monday, Blue will face Finland at 1 p.m., and White takes on Sweden at 4 p.m. . . .
There will be player cuts made by the U.S. coaching staff by Tuesday. The remaining players will be on one team. The U.S. faces Finland on Wednesday and next Saturday, and plays Sweden on Friday. . . .
Gostisbehere scored his first collegiate goal in Lake Placid, when the Dutchmen beat Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, 5-2, in the Festivus Faceoff Dec. 10. . . .
Three other ECACH players will also be in camp — defenseman Joakim Ryan and forward Cole Bardreau from Cornell, and Harvard forward Colin Blackwell. Two incoming Harvard forwards — Brian Hart and Jimmy Vesey — will also be in the camp.