Yesterday, USA Hockey announced the 2021 US Under-18 men’s select team that will compete in the Hlinka Gretzky Cup that will take place in Breclav, Czech Republic and Piestany Slovakia. One of the goaltenders to make the roster is Wichita Falls Warriors tender Lucas Szyszka. Szyszka, 6 foot 2, 187 pounds from Westmont, IL was honored to receive the chance to wear the countries colors on the ice. “There is no greater honor than being able to wear the red, white and blue, representing the United States of America overseas,” said Szyszka. “With how deep and talented my birth year is, to be taken into the team is a huge honor.”
In the 2020-21 season, Szyszka between the pipes recorded a 2.38 goals against average in 21 games played for the Chicago Mission 16U of the High Performance Hockey League. Now Szyszka looks forward to protecting the net for Team USA. “I have never been more excited for something in my life. It was one of the greatest feelings ever.” When he got the call, Szyszka still had trouble believing that it was true. “I kind of had to pinch myself to make sure I wasn’t dreaming.” Szyszka will be one of the three goaltenders to make the trip overseas to represent the team and compete for time in the crease.
The Hlinka Gretzky Cup includes teams from Czech Republic, Finland, Russia, Slovakia, Sweden, Switzerland and the United States. For Team USA, they have been quite successful in the tournament, finishing in the top three 13 times since the Hlinka Gretzky Cup began back in 1991. With talent from all over the world coming to compete for the cup, Szyszka is prepared to help lead USA towards gold. “I can expect some of the most elite level hockey in the world. It’s going to be a blast going up against other countries and I look forward to making a run at gold.”
The tournament will begin for Szyszka and Team USA on Saturday, July 31st when they take on the Czech Republic. For more information on the Hlinka Gretzky Cup please visit teamusa.usahockey.com