Oh mama don't you cry, Cole Hults is headed to Columbus this month to join the rest of Team USA's preliminary roster for the upcoming World Junior Championship. It's one of the most fun tournaments in the sport and for the first time, a current Nittany Lion will be participating in the pre-tournament camp with a chance to represent his country.
Hults, a fifth-round 2017 draft pick by the LA Kings, has been a standout for Penn State this year with 12 points in 18 games. Paired mostly with Erik Autio, he also has replaced the spot Vince Pedrie left open on the powerplay. Hults has size and skill and displays both in his two-way game, which surely was a factor in his invitation to the team camp at Nationwide Arena.
Last year, Team USA won gold with then-Penn State commit and current freshman Evan Barratt on the roster. That tournament was held in Canada and this year, it's in Buffalo from December 26 to January 5. Before the tournament starts, Team USA will play Belarus in Jamestown, NY and Sweden in Erie, PA. Those games take place on December 20 and 22 respectively.
“This is a tournament that I've watched ever since I can remember," Hults said in a Penn State Athletics release. "I remember watching guys like Will Butcher in this tournament the last few years and to be given a chance to make the team is very surreal for me. I'm excited and can't wait to get started."
Penn State's series against Robert Morris this weekend is its last until January 5-6 with Wisconsin, so Hults won't miss any time unless he makes the roster and advances to the gold medal game.
We wish Cole the best of luck, and if you plan on tuning in, make sure to wear red along with your usual blue and white.