From ‘Miracle’ viewings to family ties, Team USA gears up for worlds

Alex Lyon, Luke Kunin, Brady Tkachuk and Zach Werenski are just a handful of the NHL players named to a star-studded Team USA roster at the IIHF World Championship.

From ‘Miracle’ viewings to family ties, Team USA gears up for worlds

Feature Photo: @USAHockey

NHL players suiting up for Team USA are eager to test their mettle in the quest for gold at the 2024 IIHF World Championship in Czechia.

When the U.S. takes on Sweden in their first game at this year’s tournament, it will represent Brady Tkachuk’s first time playing in the annual international event.

The captain of the Ottawa Senators is looking forward to the challenge.

“I’m really excited about going to worlds and having an opportunity to win alongside some great players,” Tkachuk told

Depth is in abundance on a balanced U.S. roster that is made up of several NHL standouts. Tkachuk will play alongside Senators’ teammates Shane Pinto and Jake Sanderson.

Alex Lyon, the netminder who recorded a career-best 21 wins for the Detroit Red Wings this season, was named to Team USA for his second world championship after dressing for the team in 2015.

“I’m excited to see so many talented players headlining the team,” said Lyon.

“I think it will be a good group on and off the ice and obviously we’re all hoping to do some damage in the tournament.”

The U.S. has earned three bronze medals since 2015 and are searching for their first gold at the tournament since 1933.

Tkachuk last played on the international circuit at the world junior championship in 2018, where he tallied nine points in seven games en route to a bronze medal. He is looking forward to donning the red, white and blue jersey once again.

“It’s always an honour to wear the USA crest and represent your country,” said Tkachuk, who won gold for his country at the IIHF U-18 Men’s World Championship in 2017.

Lyon, who played in an NHL career-high 44 games this season, might motivate himself by watching a certain movie ahead of the tournament.

“It’s hard to talk about Team USA without mentioning ‘Miracle’,” said the netminder, referencing the 2004 film chronicling the 1980 U.S. men's Olympic hockey team’s improbable gold medal run.

“That movie defined USA Hockey for a lot of young hockey players in the United States as I was coming through youth hockey.”

Over the years, the Minnesota native idolized some famous goaltenders who had success on the international stage.

“I’ve naturally had an affection for American-born goalies as well Ryan Miller, John Vanbiesbrouck and Robert Esche were a few of my favourites.”

Meanwhile Tkachuk has his own role model, one that is hardly a surprise.

His father, Keith Tkachuk, played 1,201 NHL games and was a staple on Team USA throughout his 18-year playing career.

Brady does, however, have some other names on his list of standout American players.

“Some of my fondest memories are John Carlson’s OT winner at the [2010] world juniors, T.J. Oshie’s shootout performance versus Russia at the 2014 Winter Olympics, and watching my dad play at the 2006 Olympics in Torino.”

Luke Kunin, who skated in his seventh NHL campaign and second with San Jose, captained the 2017 world juniors squad that took home gold and also played in the world championship in 2019.

The 26-year-old forward, whose fondest childhood memory of international hockey is Team USA’s 2010 world junior overtime gold medal win, is looking forward to lacing up the skates for his country again.

“It’s always an honour to play for the USA and something I never take for granted.”

Kunin was coached by Keith Tkachuk and played alongside Matthew Tkachuk, who also plays a lead role for the Florida Panthers, at one point in his minor hockey career. He is impressed by the depth of the U.S. world championship lineup.

“It’s a great roster with a lot of high-end talent. I’m excited to be a part of it.”

A sentiment shared by Zach Werenski of the Columbus Blue Jackets, who served as team captain for the 2016 world juniors, where his nine points led all tournament blueliners along the way to a bronze medal for Team USA.

“There is a lot of talent on our squad this year,” said the defenceman, who last played on Team USA at the 2019 worlds.

“It’s very exciting to be a part of it and play with some new guys. They put us in a position to succeed with this roster, so hopefully we can win the gold.

“Always an honour to wear the red, white, and blue, especially with the group we have this year. I haven’t worn the USA jersey since 2019 and that was only for two games so I’m really looking forward to it this time around.”

Tkachuk is aware of just how meaningful a win would be at this year’s worlds it’s been over 90 years since the U.S. struck gold at the tournament.

“For it to be a bigger opportunity to win gold for the first time since 1933 that would be really exciting to do.”