Cole Hults named to 2018 U.S. National Team Preliminary Roster

Penn State's Cole Hults (2) celebrates his goal during the game with American International College. No. 11 Penn State topped American International College, 7-5, in non-conference action to open the 2017-18 home slate this evening from Pegula Ice Arena. Photo by Mark Selders

COLORADO SPRINGS – Freshman defenseman Cole Hults (Stoughton, Wis.) has been named to the preliminary roster for the 2018 U.S. National Junior Team that will compete in the 2018 International Ice Hockey Federation World Junior Championships in Buffalo, N.Y. from December 26, 2017 through January 5, 2018 as announced earlier Tuesday evening.

“Cole plays a very mature game which has enabled him to have a quick transition to Division I hockey,” mentioned Penn State Head Coach Guy Gadowsky. “He has really impressed the coaching staff with his unique ability to make plays and generate offense without taking risks. We congratulate him on his selection to Team USA’s camp and believe he would be an excellent addition to the team and a great representative of Penn State.”

The U.S., which is aiming for back-to-back gold medal finishes for the first time ever, will begin camp at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio from December 15-19 and play a pair of pre-tournament games on December 20 at Northwest Arena in Jamestown, N.Y. against Belarus and on December 22 against Sweden at Erie Insurance Arena in Erie, Pa. Puck drop for both contests is set for 7 p.m.

Hults has impressed early in his Nittany Lion career as he has appeared in all 18 games so far this season and ranks tied for fifth on the team with a pair of goals and ten assists for 12 points. The freshman currently ranks fifth in the Big Ten in points by defensemen and second among rookies while also being tied for third nationally among freshman blue-liners in points.

At the beginning of November, riding a career-best eight-game point-streak, Hults led the entire nation in freshman scoring and his plus-9 rating ranks tied for third among Big Ten defensemen and tops for first-year players.

“It’s an extreme honor to be going to a camp like this to represent not only your country but Penn State at a national level,” mentioned Hults. “I wouldn’t be in the position without my teammates and my coaches so I’m very thankful for them.”

Hults becomes the first Nittany Lion ever to be named to the Team USA preliminary roster and invited to their pre-tournament camp.

“This is a tournament that I’ve watched ever since I can remember. I remember watching guys like Will Butcher (2017 Hobey Baker Award Winner and current New Jersey Devil defenseman) 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,” concluded Hults.