UMD men's hockey: Bulldogs' James, Kaiser heading to 2022 World Junior Championship with Team USA

Minnesota Duluth freshman forward Dominic James and sophomore defenseman Wyatt Kaiser will make their first World Juniors appearance as the U.S. National Junior Team attempts to defend its 2021 gold medal.

Minnesota Duluth forward Dominic James (17) celebrates a power-play goal against North Dakota during the first period on Friday, Nov. 19, 2021, at Ralph Engelstad Arena in Grand Forks, North Dakota. Clint Austin / File / Duluth News Tribune

Three members of the Minnesota Duluth men’s hockey program departed Sunday for Plymouth, Michigan, to take part in the 2022 U.S. National Junior Team camp that officially got underway Monday at USA Hockey Arena.

On Tuesday, two of those three were named to Team USA.

Bulldogs freshman forward Dominic James and sophomore defenseman Wyatt Kaiser are among the 25 players who will represent the United States at the 2022 IIHF World Junior Championship in Edmonton and Red Deer, Alberta, over the holidays.

They all depart from Michigan on Wednesday for Alberta, with a pair of pre-tournament games against the Czech Republic scheduled for Monday, Dec. 20 in Red Deer and against Finland on Wednesday, Dec. 22, in Edmonton. The tournament officially gets underway on Dec. 26 and runs through Jan. 5.


Minnesota Duluth defenseman Wyatt Kaiser (5) and Michigan forward Luke Morgan (25) compete for the puck during the second period on Friday, Oct. 15, 2021, at Amsoil Arena in Duluth. Clint Austin / File / Duluth News Tribune

This will be the first World Junior Championship for both James and Kaiser, and the first international competition with Team USA for James.

Kaiser, a 2020 third-round NHL draft pick of the Chicago Blackhawks, has previously played for Team USA at the 2019 Hlinka Gretzky Cup and 2018 Under-17 Five Nations Tournament. A member of the NCHC All-Freshman Team last season, the Ham Lake, Minnesota-native has one goal and six assists with a minus-5 rating in 14 games with the Bulldogs this season. He missed four games between Nov. 26 - Dec. 4 due to illness.

James, who is undrafted but eligible for the 2022 draft, has two goals and seven assists in 17 games centering what has been the Bulldogs' most explosive offensive line featuring sophomore wing Blake Biondi and junior wing Quinn Olson.

James played his way into camp and now onto the roster after not getting invited to the World Junior Summer Showcase over the summer. When the preliminary roster was announced at the end of November, James said it was special just to be attending the camp in Plymouth, which is his hometown.

Minnesota Duluth forward Dominic James (17) controls the puck against Minnesota on Saturday, Oct. 23, 2021, at Amsoil Arena in Duluth. Clint Austin / File / Duluth News Tribune

“I just worked my way up after not being invited to camp,” James said back on Dec. 1. “It’s always been my dream to play in the World Juniors and to wear the USA sweater. It’s great. I’m super happy.”


The 2022 U.S. National Junior Team also includes Grand Rapids native Jack Peart, a St. Cloud State freshman defenseman who was a late addition to the camp roster on Sunday . Bulldogs sophomore defenseman Connor Kelley was among the five players who were cut Tuesday.

The U.S. will play its five preliminary round games in Red Deer, starting with Slovakia on Dec. 26. The quarterfinals get underway on Jan. 2, the semifinals are Jan. 4 and medal games take place on Jan. 5.

2022 U.S. National Junior Team World Junior Championship Schedule

  • Monday, Dec. 20: Czech Republic, 8:30 p.m., at Red Deer (pre-tournament)

  • Wednesday, Dec. 22: Finland, 9 p.m., at Edmonton (pre-tournament)

  • Sunday, Dec. 26: Slovakia, 8:30 p.m., at Red Deer (preliminary)

  • Tuesday, Dec. 28: Switzerland, 3:30 p.m., at Red Deer (preliminary)

  • Wednesday, Dec. 29: Sweden, 8:30 p.m., at Red Deer (preliminary)

  • Friday, Dec. 31: Russia, 8:30 p.m., at Red Deer (preliminary)

  • Sunday, Jan. 2: Quarterfinals (Edmonton and Red Deer)

  • Tuesday, Jan. 4: Semifinals (Edmonton)

  • Wednesday, Jan. 5: Bronze and gold medal games (Edmonton)

The U.S. is the defending gold medalist from the 2021 World Juniors in Edmonton. Only six players return from that team, however, the entire coaching staff returns, led by Providence head coach Nate Leaman.
The Bulldogs will be without Kaiser and James for a home-and-home nonconference series against No. 1-ranked Minnesota State over the New Year’s weekend. The Mavericks host the Bulldogs at 7:07 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 30 in Mankato, before the series wraps up at 6:07 p.m. on Jan. 1, 2022, at Amsoil Arena in Duluth.

Both are expected back to Duluth in time for an NCHC series Jan. 7-8 at St. Cloud State.



This story was updated at 5:18 p.m., Dec. 14, 2021, with additional information on the U.S. National Junior Team selections. It was originally posted at 3:03 p.m., Dec. 14, 2021.

Co-host of the Bulldog Insider Podcast and college hockey reporter for the Duluth News Tribune and The Rink Live covering the Minnesota Duluth men's and women's hockey programs.
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