Tkachuk takes a water break during practice at the World Junior Summer Showcase
After two seasons with USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program, Brady Tkachuk returns to USA Hockey Arena this weekend, but this time as an alumni.
“It hasn’t really sunk in yet because I was here just two months ago,” Tkachuk said. “I just got to the rink today (Thursday) and they already made changes, it’s becoming a beautiful rink.”
Several other NTDP alumni will soon be walking through the arena doors as Saturday, July 29, kicks off the games portion of the World Junior Summer Showcase in Plymouth, Michigan which will help determine teams for the World Junior Championship in December held in Buffalo, N.Y. During the event, the U.S. will take on Canada, Sweden and Finland.
The 6-2, left-hander is looking forward to playing great teams, from both birth years 1998 and 1999, and seeing his friends from the NTDP that haven’t been together for awhile. Spending the 2016-17 season as captain of the NTDP Under-18 Team, Tkachuk values the camaraderie that he helped create with his teammates.
Tkachuk believes getting to represent Team USA again, in the Summer Showcase, is a huge honor. His past experiences playing in international tournaments may be an edge for Tkachuk, as he has seen many of the opposing faces before.
One of his favorite memories was winning the 2017 International Ice Hockey Federation Under-18 Men’s World Championship held in Slovakia in April. Traveling home through the airports with their gold medals and trophy was something he said he will never forget.
“It was a special feeling with all 22 of us, my teammates,” Tkachuk said. “We’d been through so much and to win was such a relief and awesome to share with all of those guys.”
The St. Louis native has spent his summer in Boston preparing for his freshman season at Boston University.
“It’s been a different atmosphere, but a really great summer just working out and skating,” said Tkachuk.
Heading into his first college hockey season, Tkachuk said he feels his training this summer will help him on the ice. Playing his best every game is a personal goal he has set for himself.
“It’s an awesome campus and the coaches are great, we’re looking pretty good this year,” said Tkachuk. “It’s all really exciting and I’m looking forward with what’s to come.”