Colorado College defenseman Jaccob Slavin was still surprised, even a day after finding out he may play for the United States.
On Tuesday, the 19-year-old was named to the 29-man preliminary roster for the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship tournament in Malmo, Sweden Dec.?26-Jan. 5.
"God has blessed me with a wonderful opportunity to represent my country," said the Erie native, who is tied for the team lead with seven points (six assists) headed into this weekend's nonconference series at No. 15 Wisconsin. "It's still unbelievable."
Not for his teammates and coaches.
The freshman's maturity could help him stand out among a talented group.
"This is a big opportunity for him," CC assistant Joe Bonnett said. "Those coaches will get to see how he handles himself on the ice and in the locker room. That is where he will shine."
The 2012 fourth round draft pick of Carolina garnered his opportunity after a strong performance (three assists) before U.S. scouts last weekend.
"He is a mobile and versatile player that can play all situations and plays the big ice well," general manager Jim Johannson said in a news release. "His steady and consistent play as a freshman has been very impressive."
Training camp is from Dec.?15-18 at Minnesota's Mariucci Arena and includes a road exhibition game against Minnesota State on Tuesday.
Slavin has a good chance to make the team.
"He is an excellent addition," Tigers coach Scott Owens said. "He does a lot of things well."
If the 6-foot-3, 195-pounder makes the initial cut, he would head to Sweden for exhibition games against Finland on Dec. 20 and Sweden on Dec.?22. The final 23-man roster is announced Dec. 23.
Slavin is looking forward to Dec. 22. Gustav Olofsson, his friend since club hockey and CC teammate, was named to Team Sweden last week.
"It would be unbelievable to play Goose," Slavin said. "I love Goose. He is like a brother to me."
Slavin can play for CC this weekend. Olofsson would play Friday before heading overseas Saturday.
They aren't the only ones excited for their opportunities.
"It would be cool to have two defensemen represent their countries in the same year," junior blue-liner Aaron Harstad said. "As a team, we're all excited for them."