If you scan the Team USA roster at this week's World Under-17 Hockey Challenge in B.C., Sasha Chmelevski's information sticks out.
The 16-year-old is the only player on the list playing in the Ontario Hockey League this season. All but two of the 22-man roster was chosen from the Michigan-based U.S. National Under-17 Development squad, and the other is a major midget player from suburban Detroit.
But the Sting's first round choice in this year's OHL Priority Selection has earned the right to wear U.S. colours at the prestigious tournament.
The product of the Detroit Honeybaked U16 system is among the league leaders in goals, game-winning goals, points and plus/minus by rookies through his first month in the league. He has five goals and two assists for seven points and a plus six rating in 12 games with the Sting, including a natural hat trick in the second period of a home victory against the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds last month.
Three of his goals have been of the game-winning variety.
It's not the first time Chmelevski has worn the Stars and Stripes. He led Team USA to a gold medal at the Five Nations Cup Under-17 tournament in Switzerland this past August, registering four goals and six assists in four games.
“The U17 tournament is a great opportunity for him to showcase his talents on an international platform, and represent his country once again,” said Sarnia General Manager Nick Sinclair, who wished his shifty centreman all the best at the same tournament that was played in Sarnia-Lambton a year ago. The U.S. lost to Russia in the final here last November.
Chmelevski isn't the only player on the American roster with a connection to the Sarnia Sting.
Evan Barratt is also on the team. He's the 16-year-old son of Sting assistant coach Jeff Barratt.