Wisconsin hockey update: Captains, awards, NHL Draft and World Championships

Photo Credit: Larry Radloff Photography

An end of the week update on the Badgers hockey program, including next season's team captains, team awards, an update on NHL Central Scouting and Badgers at the 2013 World Championships.

Frankie Simonelli Named 2013-14 Badgers Hockey Captain

The Wisconsin men's hockey team held its annual end of the season awards banquet last night, and at the end announced team captains for next season. Head coach Mike Eaves announced that defenseman Frankie Simonelli will wear the captain's "C" for the Badgers next season. The Bensenville, Ill., native was an alternate captain for the Badgers as a junior.

Also elected to leadership roles were Eau Claire, Wis., natives Jefferson Dahl and Jake McCabe, who were named alternate captains Thursday. Dahl won a state championship as a senior captain at Eau Claire Memorial high school, and McCabe recently captained Team USA to a gold medal at the 2013 World Junior Championships in Ufa, Russia.

Michael Mersch Named 2012-13 Team MVP

After leading the Badgers in both goals (23) and points (36), junior forward Michael Mersch was voted the Spike Carlson Most Valuable Player by his teammates. According to a release from the school, the last seven Badger MVPs, along with eight of the last nine and 10 of the last 12 team MVPs have gone on to reach the NHL.

Ryan Little was given the Ivan B. Williamson Scholastic Award for the second-consecutive season. Little was also named the named the Fenton Kelsey, Jr., Most Competitive Player for the second-consecutive season. The Fond du Lac Wis., native led the Badgers in hits with 230.

Dahl, who will be wearing an "A" on his sweater next season as an alternate captain, was named the Otto Breitenbach Most Improved Player. Dahl also won the WHA-TV Jim Santulli 7th-Man Award, which is voted on by Wisconsin Public Television viewers.

Freshman defenseman Kevin Schulze was named the Dr. Joseph Coyne Most Consistent Player for the Badgers. The White Bear Lake, Minn., native led the Badgers in plus/minus in his rookie season, finishing with a plus-21 rating.

Also winning awards were John Ramage, who blocked 121 shots on the season, and Brendan Woods, who won 61.6 percent of his faceoffs in 2012-13.

Grant Besse, Jedd Soleway Ranked By NHL Central Scouting

NHL Central Scouting released its final rankings this week, and two future Badgers made the list. Benilde-St. Margaret's winger Grant Besse was ranked No. 106. That's up from No. 124 in the mid-term rankings.

Center Jedd Soleway from the Penticton Vees (BCHL) also made an appearance on the list. Soleway checked in at No. 131 after going un-ranked on the mid-term list.

Both players were passed in the 2012 NHL Draft, but look like strong possibilities to be selected in the later rounds of the 2013 Draft that will be held at the Prudential Center in New Jersey, June 30.

Craig Smith, Jamie McBain named to Team USA for World Championships

Craig Smith of the Nashville Predators, and Jamie McBain of the Carolina Hurricanes were two of the 15 players announced by USA Hockey for the initial roster for the 2013 World Championships in Helsinki, Finland and Stockholm, Sweden.

Neither player is a stranger to pulling on a USA sweater. This will mark the third-consecutive season that Smith has played for Team USA at the World Championships. McBain played for Team USA at the NTDP before coming to Wisconsin, and also represented the red, white and blue in two World Junior Championships.

NBC Sports Network will air all of Team USA's games from the World Championships. Team USA is led by former Badger Jim Johannson, assistant executive director of hockey operations for USA Hockey.

The Badgers have been represented at the World Championships every year since 1978.

For more hockey coverage, follow Andy on Twitter --
You can also reach Andy via e-mail (AndyJohnsonB5Q@gmail.com)

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