The disappointment of the NHL not participating in the 2022 Winter Olympics quickly turned to excitement for a handful of U.S. players at the world junior championship.

Matty Beniers, Jake Sanderson and Brock Faber were together in Red Deer, Alberta, when USA Hockey’s John Vanbiesbrouck asked them to go to Beijing.

“I was kind of blown out of my shoes,” Beniers said.

All three said yes. While Connor McDavid, Auston Matthews and Nathan MacKinnon will not get the chance to play in their first Olympics, the men’s hockey tournament in Beijing could be a showcase for the next generation of talent, with 2021 top pick Owen Power expected to suit up for Canada and Beniers, Sanderson and Faber among eight U.S. players under the age of 21.

Read more