Team USA’s chances of getting back into the medals at the World Junior tournament took a hit on Monday as the IIHF announced it would uphold forward Stefan Noesen’s 10-game suspension from the Ontario Hockey League.
Noesen, 19, was Ottawa’s first-round selection (21st overall) at the 2011 NHL Entry Draft and pegged to be a key member of the American team for the upcoming tournament in Ufa, Russia.
Just one problem — on Dec. 8, Noesen was suspended 10 games for charging while playing for OHL Plymouth.
He’s since served three of the 10 games but, with the OHL on holiday break from Dec. 15-27, his suspension will still be ongoing when the WJC tourney begins on Dec. 26.
IIHF bylaws note that “player suspensions will apply to participation in both ice hockey and In-line hockey competitions irrespective of the competition in which the offense giving rise to the suspension occurred.”
Noesen was one of four Americans taken in the first round of the ’11 draft — J.T. Miller, Connor Murphy and Tyler Biggs were the others — and has been a solid contributor for the Whalers this season, leading the team in goals (17) while posting 26 points in 26 games.
The U.S. failed to medal at last year’s tournament and was dropped to the relegation round for the first time since 1999.