The United States of America and Canada will face off Thursday night for the International Ice Hockey Federation World Junior Championship.
While both teams have their sights set on the gold and worldwide domination, a couple familiar faces are hoping to help lead the American team to the promise land.
Two members of this years USA Junior team are former members of the Sioux Falls Stampede. One is Head Coach Bob Motzko and the other is forward Kieffer Bellows.
Bob Motzko is a St. Cloud, Minnesota native and the head coach of the St. Cloud State University men’s hockey team.
In 1999, Motzko came to the Sioux Falls Stampede and took the position of the teams General Manager. He spent two seasons with the Herd, and in his second season earned the United States Hockey League (USHL) General Manager of the Year award. It was his second time winning that honor. Motzko also won GM of the Year a decade earlier in the USHL with the North Iowa Huskies.
Kieffer Bellows from Edina, Minnesota also has ties with the Sioux Falls Stampede. Bellows was with the club during the 2014-15 championship winning campaign.
That year, Bellows was named Rookie of the Year for the United States Hockey League. He was also named to the USHL All-Rookie First Team and received All-Third Team honors. The Stampede capped off that season by winning the Clark Cup Championship.
Bellows was selected by the New York Islanders as the 19th overall pick of the 2016 NHL Entry Draft.
The United States and Canada will play Thursday night for the gold at 8 pm ET on NHL Network.