Dec. 5, 2001

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Ohio State men’s hockey sophomore centers Dave Steckel (West Bend, Wis.) and R.J. Umberger (Pittsburgh, Pa.) were two of 22 players named to the 2002 U.S. National Junior Team, USA Hockey announced today.

The team will compete in the 2002 International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) World Junior Championship. The tournament, which features the world’s top players under 20-years old, will be held Dec. 25-Jan. 4 in Pardubice and Hradec Kravlove, Czech Republic.

Steckel and Umberger were both selected to the team last season as well, when they became the first players from Ohio State to ever compete for the U.S. in the championship.

The team will assemble in Ann Arbor, Mich., Dec. 16 to prepare for the championships. The squad then travels to Switzerland for exhibition games against Switzerland (Dec. 21) and Sweden (Dec. 22). The team will begin play in the World Junior Championships Dec. 25 against host country and defending champion, the Czech Republic.

Steckel and Umberger are joined on the roster by six other Central Collegiate Hockey Association student-athletes. In all, 14 of the 22 players on the roster are currently playing college hockey.

Umberger leads OSU with 14 points (6G-8A) in 14 games. He also leads the Buckeyes in shots with 74 and is tied for second with one gamewinning goal. Steckel is tied for third on the team with eight points (2G-6A) and conference scoring with six points (1G-5A).

After a week off for final exams, the No. 12 Buckeyes (9-4-1 overall, 6-3-1 CCHA) return to action on the road at Ferris State. The Buckeyes and the Bulldogs will meet at 7:35 p.m. Friday, Dec. 14 and at 7:05 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 15.