USA Hockey Wednesday named the 42 candidates for the World Junior Championship roster, and Cornell defenseman Clint Lewis was among those who will be getting a look at representing their country at the end of the year.
Lewis, who played 32 games for the Big Red in his freshman season and scored a goal and an assist, spent two years with USA Hockey’s National Team Development program before coming to Ithaca.
The Minnesota native will head to Lake Placid in August for the U.S. National Junior Evaluation camp, and will compete in games against other top prospects from Finland and Sweden.
The coaching staff will be looking to trim the number of candidates down to 22 by the time the tournament starts the day after Christmas. Lewis was part of the United States Under-18 team that won silver in Sochi in April 2013.
The World Junior Championship is the International Ice Hockey Federation’s tournament involving the top players in the world under the age of 20, and the tournament will be held in December and January in Montreal and Toronto, Canada.
The United States won the tournament two years ago in Ufa, Russia.
Cornell published a Q&A with Lewis in 2013:
Q: Why did you choose to come to Cornell?
A: When I played for the National Team, I got the opportunity to play in college hockey games. One of our games was against Cornell and we got to come out to Lynah. I got to visit the school while I was there, as well. During the game, the crowd was pretty crazy and it gets your fired up. I loved it. Walked around that day with the counselor and liked the campus. I just fell in love with it. Just talked to the coaches afterward and they offered me. The next week, I took the offer.
Q: We have a long line in NTDP alumni coming here with Andy Iles, Cole Bardreau and Gavin Stoick. Did you talk to any of those guys influence your decision?
A: I talked to Stoick a little bit when I was on the Under-17 team and he was on the Under-18s, about when he went up to visit Cornell. When they were interested in me, I talked to Stoick and asked him some questions. He said it was a great place. And then, obviously Andy Iles and Cole Bardreau are two great players going down a great path. I’d like to follow them.
Q: What are you studying at Cornell?
A: I’m a communications major.
Q: What are your plans with that?
A: Well, I might transfer into business or get a minor in business. My father owns a company of his own, and I’d like to work for him.
Q: He owns a car dealership, right? What sparks your interest in that?
A: In the family, we’re car enthusiasts. I just like working with cars. It’s a hobby of mine, so I feel like if I could make a career out of cars, I could enjoy what I do for a job.
Q: Minnesota’s obviously a big hockey state. Did you start playing at a young age?
A: Yeah, I started playing up in the Brainerd Lakes area when I was about 5 years old.