Notre Dame Fighting Irish - Official Athletics Website

Three Irish Veterans Among Candidates For USA Hockey Summer Challenge

July 31, 2000

NOTRE DAME, Ind. — Three Notre Dame sophomores-to-be are among 53 players currently being considered to compete in the USA Hockey Summer Challenge, representing the second-most players from any Division I hockey school.

Irish defenseman Evan Nielsen (Evanston, Ill.) and right wing John Wroblewski (Neenah, Wis.) are among 44 invitees to the USA Hockey National Junior Team Evaluation Camp, which will be held Aug. 2-5 at the Olympic Center in Lake Placid, N.Y. Immediately following the evaluation camp, Lake Placid will play host to the 2000 USA Hockey Summer Challenge (Aug. 7-12), featuring round-robin competition between under-20 select teams from Finland, Switzerland and the United States.

The U.S. squad for the Summer Challenge will be selected from the 44 players attending the evaluation camp, in addition to the nine eligible returning members of the 1999-2000 U.S. National Junior Team-with Notre Dame center Connor Dunlop (St. Louis, Mo.) among that veteran group.

Other top returnees include a pair of recent first-round NHL draft picks: goaltender Rick DiPietro (Boston University) and defenseman Ron Hainsey (UMass-Lowell). The other six returnees from the junior national team all are forwards: Michigan center Andy Hilbert, Harvard’s Brett Nowak, Wisconsin’s Brad Winchester, Minnesota’s Jeff Taffe, BU’s John Sabo and New Hampshire’s Pat Foley.

The list of summer challenge candidates includes 20 veteran college players, led by five from the University of Minnesota, three each from Notre Dame and the University of Wisconsin and two from BU.

The invitees also include a number of players who have signed to play with Division I programs during the upcoming season. A full release and complete roster of candidates is available on the United States Hockey website, at:

Dunlop and Wroblewski are two of 30 invitees who are products of the USA Hockey National Team Development Program.

The official roster for the 2000-2001 U.S. National Junior Team will be announced in December, with that team then competing in the World Junior Championship (Dec. 26-Jan. 5, in Moscow and Podolsk, Russia).

The past four seasons have seen Notre Dame players selected seven times for the U.S. National Junior Team: center Ben Simon in 1996-97, Simon and right wing Joe Dusbabek in ’97-’98, current senior-to-be left wing Dan Carlson in ’98-’99, and three players from last year’s team: Dunlop and junior-to-be forwards Brett Henning and David Inman.