Thursday, April 25, 2013

Heeter goes international 4/25

The Adirondack Phantoms’ season is over, but Cal Heeter’s isn’t.

The rookie goalie was one of the first 15 players named to the roster of the U.S. Men’s National Team bound for the International Ice Hockey Federation World Championships next month.

Heeter, 24, was the most-played goaltender on the Phantoms this season, and posted a 12-16-3 record with a 2.92 goals-against average and a .908 save percentage in 32 appearances. He also backed up Ilya Bryzgalov during a one-game call-up to the parent Philadelphia Flyers this month.

Heeter is in both the minority and the majority on the red, white and blue’s roster.

He has never played in an NHL game, and he is one of just two players (along with Montreal Canadiens prospect Danny Kristo) who can say that. But Heeter is also one of three players on the team from St. Louis, Mo., the city that has produced the most national team players this year.

Other players from Heeter's hometown include Colorado Avalanche center Paul Stastny, who won a silver medal with the U.S. at the 2010 Olympics, and Calgary Flames defenseman Chris Butler.

Some of Heeter’s other teammates announced Thursday are Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Ben Bishop, Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Jamie McBain, and former Albany Devils winger Bobby Butler, who is now a member of the Nashville Predators.

USA Hockey is expected to name more players to the national team’s roster in the coming days, potentially as the NHL concludes its season and more teams are eliminated from the playoffs.

The roster selection committee includes, among others, Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren.

The U.S. Men’s National Team is set to begin its seven-game tournament schedule May 4, when it takes on Austria in Helsinki, Finland. The tournament’s semifinals and medal games, if the United States advances that far, will be played May 16-19 in Stockholm, Sweden.

UPDATE:  The Phantoms also announced Thursday that rookie forward Marcel Noebels is being considered for the German squad in the same tournament, though that country’s roster has not been finalized.

Noebels, 21, had 13 goals and 10 assists in 43 games with the Phantoms after he was called up in January from the ECHL’s Trenton Titans.

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