Today saw USA Hockey announce who would be its Captain for the 2016 World Junior Championship in Helsinki, Finland, and that is none other than Zach Werenski (University of Michigan/Columbus Blue Jackets). Werenski is a Michigan-born defenseman, coming from Detroit-area suburb, Grosse Pointe Woods.
Werenski has had an impressive hockey resume thus far in his career. He played for one of the premier youth-level hockey teams in the state of Michigan, Little Caesar’s U18, when he was just 15 years old. Around the same age, Werenski was invited to be a part of the USA Hockey National Team Development Program. He was then selected 24th overall in the 2013 OHL Priority Selection Draft by the London Knights. He chose to forego the OHL staying with the US NTDP before going on to play his collegiate hockey for the University of Michigan Wolverines. It was a great choice as he has been nothing short of a massive success for the program. In his Freshman season, he led the Big Ten Conference in goals for a defenseman, as well as being named to the Big Ten All-Conference First Team and the All-Rookie Team.
Team USA coach, Ron Wilson, had some kind words to say about his leadership leading into the tournament, “We’re excited about our leadership group here in Finland,” and continued on to say “Zach (Werenski), Louie, Auston and Colin have led by example since day one in Lake Placid this August and have respect for everyone in the room.” And, another accomplishment to take notice of is that Zach, by being named Captain, has become the second youngest player ever to be named to the position for Team USA.
Werenski was selected 8th overall in the 2015 NHL Draft, and stands at 6’2″ and weighing in at 215 pounds. He is expected to continue his development and plays a major role in the future of the Blue Jackets. The Blue Jackets have found themselves a very talented young player and the future looks bright for the club, and Werenski, moving forward.