International Badgers: 12 players with Wisconsin ties set to represent U.S., Canada

Former Badger Andy Wozniewski (right) will represent the U.S. at the Deutschland Cup. - Alexander Hassenstein

12 former, future or current Badgers will lace up their skates internationally at the U-17, U-18, Junior and men's and women's national levels this week for the United States and Canada.

It's international week in the hockey industry as multiple tournaments are taking place across the globe. A remarkable 12 former, current or future Badgers are in action between five tournaments representing the United States and Canada.

Starting on the women's side, former Badgers Hilary Knight, Brianna Decker, Meghan Duggan and Jessie Vetter are all skating on the U.S. side, while Meaghan Mikkelson will don the red, white and black for Canada. Future Badger Annie Pankowski is also suiting up for the United States.

The big news this week on the women's side was the announcement from USA Hockey that Duggan would captain the U.S. Women's National Team.

"Meghan has been a valuable leader for our team and exemplifies all aspects of what we expect from our players," said Katey Stone, head coach of the 2013-14 U.S. Women's National Team and the 2014 U.S. Olympic Women's Ice Hockey Team. "She has earned this opportunity with her effort on the ice and by the example she sets for her teammates."

Team USA is 1-0 at the Women's Four Nations Cup this week, as it started off play with a 10-0 win over Sweden Tuesday night. Knight had a goal and an assist in the game, Decker had two assists and Duggan chipped in a goal. Vetter stopped all four shots she saw between the pipes in two periods of work.

The U.S. squad will face off vs. Canada in an Olympic preview 6 p.m. CT Wednesday.

Moving over to the men's side, five different UW recruits are skating in international competition between three different tournaments. Seamus Malone is playing with Team USA at the World Junior A Challenge; Ryan Wagner and Jack Dougherty are with the U.S. squad at the U-18 Four Nations Cup; and Luke Kunin and Luke Opilka are rocking the red, white and blue at the U-17 Four Nations Cup.

In Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, at the World Junior A Challenge, 2015 forward recruit Malone and Team USA are 1-0 after an 8-3 win over Russia Tuesday. The U.S. squad will be back on the ice to face Canada East 6 p.m. CT Wednesday.

2014 recruits Wagner and Dougherty are at the U-18 Four Nations Cup in Turku, Finland. The United States dropped a 5-4 pre-tournament result to Finland Wednesday, with Dougherty and Wagner both picking up goals in the exhibition. The U-18's will open up tournament play 8 a.m. CT Friday vs. Sweden.

Over in Prievidza, Slovakia, Opilka, a 2015 goalie recruit, and Kunin, a 2016 forward recruit, are representing the U.S. at the U-17 Four Nations. Team USA is 1-0 in the tournament after beating Slovakia 8-2 Wednesday. Opilka stopped seven of the eight shots he saw between the pipes, as he and Princeton recruit Michael Lackey each played one half of action in the opener.

The U.S. U-17 squad will take a day off before facing Switzerland Friday.

One former Badger on the men's side is in action this week as well, as Andy Wozniewski will skate for the U.S. Men's National Team at the Deutschland Cup in Munich, Germany. Wozniewski is currently playing pro hockey in Munich for EHC Red Bull München, so he should be able to make a smooth transition into international play. The U.S. squad kicks off the tournament Friday, when it drops the puck against Slovakia.

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

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