Two UND incoming rookies make World Junior evaluation camp

UND defenseman recruits Tyler Kleven and Jake Sanderson stand in USA Hockey Arena on Friday afternoon. Photo by Brad Elliott Schlossman / Grand Forks Herald

They've been teammates for the last two years.

They'll be classmates at UND in the fall.

They'll be roommates in Walsh Hall.

The paths of UND incoming freshman defensemen Jake Sanderson and Tyler Kleven have mirrored each other, and they will again this summer.

Sanderson and Kleven, who are expected to go high in the 2020 NHL Draft, have both been invited to participate in USA Hockey's World Junior Championship Summer Showcase from July 24-Aug. 1 in Plymouth, Mich.


Unlike past summer showcase events, Canada, Finland and Sweden will not be present because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The event is used to evaluate players ahead of the World Junior Championship, a tournament that features the best under-20 hockey players in the world. This year's tournament is scheduled for Dec. 26-Jan. 5 in Edmonton and Red Deer, Alta.

"We're excited to have our players and staff together," general manager John Vanbiesbrouck said. "While Finland, Sweden and Canada won’t be joining us as we’ve been used to in past years, this will provide a great opportunity to have our players back on the ice and begin the process in earnest of building our team for the World Junior Championship.

"With the current pandemic, we’ll be doing some things differently, and that’s okay. It’s exciting to see rinks opening back up throughout the country and we’re most appreciative of the efforts of Dr. Mike Stuart from the Mayo Clinic, our chief medical and safety officer, among others, for guiding us in best practices to ensure the safest possible environment for our players and everyone involved."

Sanderson, a 6-foot-2, 186-pound defenseman from Whitefish, Mont., could be one of the highest-drafted players ever to play at UND . Several mock drafts have him going in the top 10 overall.

Kleven, a 6-foot-4, 200-pound defenseman from Fargo, is in the mix to be the highest-drafted North Dakota high school player of all time .

They both played at USA Hockey's National Team Development Program the past two seasons and will join UND's defensive core this fall.

Last year, UND had two players compete in the World Junior Championship. Shane Pinto led USA in goals, while Jacob Bernard-Docker won a gold medal with Canada.


Only one other National Collegiate Hockey Conference player was selected to participate in the camp -- Denver sophomore forward Bobby Brink.

Schlossman has covered college hockey for the Grand Forks Herald since 2005. He has been recognized by the Associated Press Sports Editors as the top beat writer for the Herald's circulation division four times and the North Dakota sportswriter of the year once. He resides in Grand Forks. Reach him at
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