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Auston Matthews first player named to USA’s World Championships roster

Andreas Englund

United States’ Auston Matthews reacts to his team’s loss to Russia during semifinal hockey action at the IIHF World Championships in Helsinki, Finland, Monday, Jan. 4, 2016. (Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT


Well, here’s one way to make some noise.

In something of an unprecedented move, USA Hockey started its World Hockey Championships roster announcement with a bang, by naming 18-year-old Auston Matthews as the first -- and, right now, only -- player on the team.


Last year, Matthews skated in an exhibition game with the U.S. Men’s National Team prior to the 2015 IIHF Men’s World Championship, becoming the first player to play at that level before entering their draft-eligible season.

This will be the fifth time Matthews has represented the United States in IIHF competition. A two-time gold medalist with the U.S. Men’s National Under-18 Teams (2014, 2015), Matthews most recently, helped the U.S. capture the bronze medal in the 2016 IIHF World Junior Championship in Helsinki, Finland.

In his first professional season in Zurich, Matthews collected 46 points (24-22) in 36 games to earn the league’s Rising Star Award.

The consensus No. 1 overall pick at this year’s draft, Matthews is following in the footsteps of Buffalo rookie Jack Eichel, who -- as an 18-year-old -- helped the U.S. capture bronze at last year’s Worlds.

Eichel used the tournament to further cement his draft status, finishing with seven points in 10 games. That led to the Sabres taking him with the No. 2 overall pick, one spot behind Edmonton’s Connor McDavid.

The U.S. and Matthews begin this year’s Worlds on May 6, with a date against defending champion Canada.

Related: Agent: ‘No truth’ to rumor Matthews re-signs in Switzerland if he dislikes draft lottery winner