Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


For defensemen, no place like Ottawa for holidays

Ryan McDonagh has something teammates Brendan Smith and Cody Goloubef want: a roster spot for this year’s World Junior Championship.

McDonagh, a sophomore defenseman from Arden Hills, Minn., was named to the U.S. Under-20 team earlier this month. Smith, a Mimico, Ontario, Canada native, and Goloubef, from Oakville, Ontario, begin their tryout process for Team Canada today in Ottawa.

For McDonagh, the second time was the charm. He tried out last year during his freshman season but was not chosen to join teammates Blake Geoffrion and Jamie McBain on the U.S. team.


After a good tryout and strong play during this season — his nine points on four goals and five assists are seventh best on the team in points — McDonagh was chosen to join the elite squad.

“Having gone through it for my second time now, I felt more confident at the camp,” McDonagh said. “I felt I had a good chance to make the team if I had a pretty good first half. When I got the news, I was pretty happy. I called my parents right away, and they were pretty excited too.”

Smith also tried out last season, but like McDonagh, didn’t earn a roster spot. The experience of going through the process once before is something Smith feels can only help this time around.

“I’m just trying to prove myself,” Smith said. “I had a good camp last year, which I impressed myself with. I’m just trying to do the same things this time. I think I’ve been playing better defensively, so I think it’s just going to help out.”

Smith and Goloubef have kept an eye on the annual tournament for years. Last season, they watched via Internet (the tournament is not broadcast in the U.S.) as former Badger teammate Kyle Turris won gold for Canada.

This year, they’re hoping they’ll be the ones representing their country.

“It’s a real big deal in Canada,” Goloubef said. “It’s a very well-respected tournament, so it’s definitely going to be an honor to put that jersey on if I make the team.”

“It’s huge,” Smith said. “The World Juniors is the most televised thing in Canada [during] Christmas time. Everybody watches it, all my friends at school — they all watch it. I’m so excited about it. Just to wear that Canadian jersey, no words can describe it.”

For McDonagh, the occasion is almost a bigger deal for his family — who will be making the nearly 20-hour drive from Minnesota to Ottawa — than it is to him.

“I think it’s more exciting for my family because they’ve done so much for me growing up, driving me to the rink and spending a lot of money and everything,” McDonagh said. “They’re going to drive up to Ottawa for the whole tournament, so for them to get a chance to go up there and watch it — my mom’s never been to an international tournament before, but my dad has so it’s going to be real fun for them.”

Last season, when Geoffrion, McBain and Turris took part in the event, Wisconsin had to play a two-game series against Colorado College during the same span. Without three of its best players, the Badgers were swept by the Tigers at home.

A new rule this year, however, makes it so WCHA games can’t be scheduled during the World Juniors.

“Colorado College is a great team. To miss some crucial players like we did with McBain and Geoffrion, just to miss some of those guys is so hard to play without them,” Smith said. “I think that’s a great rule for everybody. It just makes everything fair to every team.”

The Badgers will for sure be without McDonagh for the Badger Hockey Showdown Jan. 2 and 3 and a two-game series against Northern Michigan, and could miss the services of Smith and Goloubef as well if either make the team.

“Those are games that we’ve got to win, but it’s a really fun tournament,” Smith said. “I’m going to miss that, which I’m kind of disappointed about. I know the team’s going to pick up the slack for me.

Regardless of who it’s playing, UW could potentially have three holes on defense to fill. It’s likely that freshmen Eric Springer and Ryan Little — who have been splitting time — will both start, as will seldom-used Craig Johnson.

That will still leave one empty spot on the blue line.

“I’m pretty confident in the guys that will fill the roles,” McDonagh said. “Maybe it’ll be a forward if all three of us make it that will have to come back. Our coaching staff and our teammates will all help them out. They’ll get the job done.”

Johnson earned four starts in the four games missed by the UW trio and will very likely get the nod again.

Without first-round draft picks McDonagh and Smith, and the second

Leave a Comment
Donate to The Badger Herald

Your donation will support the student journalists of University of Wisconsin-Madison. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Badger Herald

Comments (0)

All The Badger Herald Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *