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Guerin pushes Team USA hopefuls to attend worlds: ‘I want to see commitment’


Set to serve as Team USA's general manager for the NHL's 2025 4 Nations Face-Off and the Olympics in 2026, Bill Guerin is encouraging bubble players to represent their country at the IIHF world hockey championship in May.

“I think it’s important for guys to go,” Guerin, who is general manager of the Minnesota Wild, told Michael Russo of The Athletic. “Hey look, there’s some guys that are going to be a lock for both teams. But there are going to be guys that are on the bubble. If they haven’t played in the playoffs or meaningful games in a long time — or ever — I want to see how they perform.

“So, in that respect, I think the world championships are extremely important.”

Taking place from May 10-26 in Prague and Ostrava, Czech Republic, the worlds will be out of the question for players whose teams advance team into the playoffs. Guerin understands that and other valid reasons will keep some players out of the event, but he wants to see a strong turnout from the Americans where possible. 

“I want to see commitment, and if a trip to the Caribbean is more important than the world championships, then you’re not really committed,” Guerin said. “Our player pool is pretty substantial now. I’m not going to say, black and white, ‘If you do this, then yes. If you do this, then no.’ But we’re trying to put the best team on the ice that we possibly can. But we also want guys that are committed.

“I get there are situations, like guys are getting married, guys are having babies, guys are injured. I get that. But if you’re not?”

The United States have finished fourth at the worlds in each of the past two years after winning bronze in 2021. The Americans last won gold at the event in 1960, when the worlds were considered part of the Olympic Games. That was also the last time Team USA reached the final.

The Americans have fared better at the Olympic tournament in recent history. While the team finished off the podium at the 2014 Olympics, when NHL players last competed, the United States won silver at both Vancouver 2010 and the Salt Lake City Games in 2002. 

While it remains to be seen who will answer Guerin's call, the possibility exists that Team Canada could have a roster at the tournament this spring headlined by two generational stars.

"There's a tantalizing possibility here with the fact that you have Connor Bedard – obviously the Chicago Blackhawks are not going to be in the postseason – and the Pittsburgh Penguins don't appear going there with Sidney Crosby," TSN Hockey Insider Chris Johnston said Tuesday on Insider Trading. "That is a very intriguing possibility, two first-overall picks 18 years apart. The past, the present and the future all rolled into one. And remember, Crosby had a great experience in Prague at the 2015 worlds. That's where he entered the Triple Gold Club.

"Bedard, of course, has had success at the World Junior level. We're not at the point where these players are being asked, but we know they will be in due course and there's at least a possibility, the way their seasons went, that they could be playing together in the Czech Republic."