Dec. 4, 2002

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Ohio State men’s hockey freshman forward Ryan Kesler (Livonia, Mich.) has been named to the 2002 U.S. Hockey National Junior Team, USA Hockey announced Wednesday. The team will compete in the 2003 International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) World Junior Championship. The 10-nation tournament, which features the world’s top players under 20 years old, will be held Dec. 26, 2002-Jan. 5, 2003 in the cities of Halifax and Sydney, Nova Scotia.

“It’s a great honor to be selected,” Kesler said. “I’m very excited to be a part of the team and help the squad win.”

Freshman forward Ryan Kesler

Kesler is tied for third in scoring for the Buckeyes with 13 points and is second on the team with 10 assists. He has seen action in all 13 games and is +4 on the year. Two of his three goals have been gamewinners to tie for the team lead. He earned CCHA Rookie of the Week honors Nov. 4 after a four-point performance in games against Cornell and Colgate. He had an assist on OSU’s lone goal against Cornell before posting a team-high three points, including the gamewinning goal for his first collegiate tally, against Colgate.

A member of the U.S. National Team Development Program for two years before coming to Ohio State, Kesler was a member of the U.S. squad that won the gold medal at the IIHF World Under-18 Championship.

Kesler will be the third Buckeye to compete for the U.S. in the world junior tournament. OSU juniors R.J. Umberger (Pittsburgh, Pa.) and Dave Steckel (West Bend, Wis.) were members of the team the past two seasons.

In all, 22 players were named to the team. Seventeen were selected from the college ranks, with three coming from the Central Collegiate Hockey Association.

The U.S. team, placed in Group A, opens play at the tournament against defending gold medalist Russia Dec. 26. The team also will play Switzerland (Dec. 28), Belarus (Dec. 30) and Slovakia (Dec. 31) in the preliminary round. After round-robin play, the second and third seeded teams in each group move to the qualification round Jan. 2, with the top seeds in each group advancing to the semifinal round Jan. 3. The medal round will take place Jan. 5. Group B is comprised of Canada, Finland, Sweden, the Czech Republic and Germany.