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By Chris Bayee, 12/11/19, 9:30AM PST


Longtime Anaheim Jr. Ducks players Ryan Johnson and Cam York are among 28 players who have been selected to the 2020 U.S. National Junior Team preliminary roster, USA Hockey announced Monday.

Team USA will cut five players to reach its roster limit of 23 for the 2020 World Junior Championships, which will be held from Dec. 26, 2019 through Jan. 5, 2020 in Ostrava and Trinec, Czech Republic.

“It’s a testament to both players, to their work ethic, their talent and their skills,” Jr. Ducks Director of Player Personnel Alex Kim said. “You can only go so far with God-given talent, you’ve got to have something else. In order for those skills to come out, you have to work and have a certain level of commitment, and both of those players have that.”

Johnson and York, defensemen who played together from Mites through Bantams for the Jr. Ducks, are in their freshmen seasons of NCAA hockey at the universities of Minnesota and Michigan, respectively. Each was a first-round draft choice in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft at Vancouver, British Columbia, in late June.

They were the Jr. Ducks’ first two alumni to be selected in the first round.

York went 14th overall to the Philadelphia Flyers and in the process became the highest-drafted California-born and –trained player. He leads all Wolverines defensemen in scoring with seven points in 12 games.

Johnson, who is the younger son of Jr. Ducks Director of Coaches Craig Johnson, went 31st overall to the Buffalo Sabres. He has played in all 18 of the Gophers’ games thus far and has five points.

“As an organization, you’re proud to have two members of your club have a chance to make the World Junior team,” Craig Johnson said.

The duo are part of what was a wildly successful 2001 birth year group for the Jr. Ducks. Eight players from that team already have made college commitments.

“It’s a testament to what (2001 coaches) Craig and Scott (Niedermayer) have done,” Kim said. “The kids are very coachable. They’re all good teammates. They’re not selfish. They don’t worry about points. The points just naturally come. It’s through their work ethic, their level of commitment. … They made a lot of sacrifices along the way to have this kind of success.”

York and Johnson are building extensive international resumes.

York led all defensemen in points (11), goals (4) and assists (7) at the 2019 Under-18 Men’s World Championship, and event Team USA won bronze at. He was named an All-Star at the event and set career tournament records for a defenseman with 17 points and 13 assists. In 2018, he helped the U.S. capture silver at the U-18 Worlds, leading all defensemen with six assists.

He also has won gold medals at the 2018 U-18 Five Nations, 2018 U-17 Four Nations and the 2017 World U-17 Challenge tournaments.

York finished his career at the U.S. National Team Development Program as the second-highest-scoring defenseman (103 points) and sits seventh in career assists (81) at the program. His 65 points last season set a record for his position.

Johnson, who helped the Sioux Falls Stampede win the USHL’s Clark Cup last spring, also has won gold in international competition, helping Team USA win the 2018 World Junior A Challenge and the 2017 U17 Five Nations tournament.

Johnson was an all-rookie defenseman in the USHL last season, and his 25 points were second among Stampede defensemen.

In addition, he twice helped Santa Margarita Catholic High School capture USA Hockey Youth National Championships, and he was part of the Jr. Ducks Midget 16U team that captured the club’s first medal (a bronze) at the 2018 Tier 1 Nationals