"Puts USA hockey a little bit more on the map. After you win one of these tournaments, people become a little bit more aware of hockey, and hopefully 3 or 4 more kids will go out there and put some gear on," said Eau Claire native and current Badger, Jake McCabe after leading the U.S. National Junior Team to a gold medal at the World Junior Hockey Championship.
"I was privileged to wear that USA sweater and have been lucky enough to wear the USA jersey for a few year now and every time it's a little different," adds McCabe.
Another Eau Claire native and former Badger, Jake Dowell, won the gold in 2004. Now getting back on the ice this week in a Minnesota Wild jersey, Dowell expressed his happiness for McCabe.
"It's a heck of a tournament for him to be a captain is a big honor and for them to win and him to step up and score the goals when they needed was a huge thing for him to do," says Dowell. "And so I was as excited as anybody and happy the U.S. had such a good showing there."
McCabe ranked third in the tournament amongst defenseman with six points earning a spot on the All-Star team. He hopes this international experience can immediately contribute to his current Badger team.
"He will bring into the locker room that level of play that I hope will rub off," says Badgers head coach Mike Eaves. "Because you watch those games and the pace that those games are played is phenomenal."
"Just keep doing what we're doing. We're playing good defensive hockey, our goalies have been playing outstanding all year," says McCabe. "I think we're going to start finding net a little bit more and just keep trucking on, I guess you could say."