Odessa, Texas (March 3, 2016) – The Odessa Jackalopes, proud members of the North American Hockey League (NAHL), are extremely excited to announce that former goaltender Connor Hellebuyck has been named to team North America’s initial 16-man roster for the 2016 World Cup of Hockey in Toronto this fall.
The Tournament, which will be broadcasted on ESPN, will be played before the start of the 2016-17 NHL regular-season and includes eight teams (Team Canada, Team Czech Republic, Team Finland, Team Russia, Team Sweden, Team USA, Team Europe and Team North America) who will compete over a two-week span from September 17th to October 1st at The Air Canada Centre in Toronto.
Team North America is comprised of the best players from both the United States and Canada, 23 and under. The team will include the number one and two picks in the 2015 NHL Draft (Connor McDavid – Oilers, Jack Eichel – Sabres) among other young rising stars in the National Hockey League. Each roster will be set by June 1 and will include 20 skaters and three goalies.
In his first NHL action with the Winnipeg Jets in 2015-16, Hellebuyck went 13-11-1 in 26-games played with a .918 save percentage and 2.34 goals-against average. The 22-year-old, Hellebuyck was sent back down to the Manitoba Moose (AHL, Jets) in early February with the activation of Ondrej Pavelec from injured reserve.
Hellebuyck appeared in 53 games for Odessa in 2011-12, leading the Jacks to its lone post-season appearance, while going 26-21-8 with a 2.49 goals-against average and a .930 save percentage.
After Odessa, Hellebuyck went on to play two seasons at the University of Massachusetts-Lowell (NCAA D1) and was drafted by the Jets in the fifth round of the 2012 NHL Draft. At Umass-Lowell, Hellebuyck led River Hawks to a Hockey East Conference title, and their first Frozen Four appearance in school history during his freshman season, and was named Regional MVP for his postseason excellence, while ending his season with a 20-3-0 record, .952 save percentage, and 1.37 goals-against average. As a sophomore, Hellebuyck led the River Hawks to another conference title, going 18-9-2 with a 1.79 goals-against average, and .941 save percentage.
In 2015-16, the Odessa Jackalopes will embark upon their fifth season in the North American Hockey League and 19th in the Permian Basin. Season tickets are on sale now! To reserve your seats, contact the Jackalopes’ ticket office today at 432-552-7825 or log on to www.jackalopes.org for more information.
Be sure to follow the Jackalopes on Twitter @LetsGoJacks all year long and don’t forget to ‘Like’ the official “Odessa Jackalopes” fan page on Facebook.