Two members of the Sioux City Musketeers will be representing their home country in the coming weeks as defenseman Ralfs Bergmanis and forward Peteris Purmalis, both of Latvia, have been selected to play in the upcoming IIHF World Junior Championship.
“It’s always a tremendous honor to represent your country, especially at such a prestigious tournament like the World Junior Championship,” Musketeers General Manager Andy Johnson said this week.
“Both Peteris and Ralfs have improved dramatically in their short time in Sioux City and we’re incredibly excited to see what they can do on the world stage.”
The pair of Musketeers will represent Latvia in the IIHF Division I World Junior Championship, which be held in Hørsholm, Denmark, from December 12 to 18, 2021. The United States competes in Top Division of the World Junior Championships, which takes places after the Christmas holiday in Edmonton and Red Deer, Alberta.
Due to complications with US Visas, Purmalis, a Lake Superior State commitment, will play one more game with the Musketeers on Nov. 27 before leaving for Europe to prepare for the tournament. Bergmanis, who has committed to play college hockey at Vermont, is expected to be with the Musketeers through December 5 when he will link up with the Latvian National Team.
The Musketeers are also expected to be without the services of defenseman Tomi Leppanen (Finland) and goaltender Axel Mangbo (Sweden) in the coming weeks. Both players are expected to miss short periods of time as they return to their native countries to renew their US visas.
In the meantime, Sioux City has retained the services of goaltender Michael Sochan while Mangbo is away. Sochan, a California native, started the 2021-22 season on the roster with the USHL’s Sioux Falls Stampede. After being released by the Stampede earlier this fall, Sochan has been in Sioux City full-time training with the Musketeers.
The Musketeers have experienced some injuries at forward in recent weeks with Team Captain Kirklan Irey still recovering from a lower-body injury, as well as forward Dean Bauchiero who was placed on the IR last week.
As insurance, Sioux City has called up 2021USHL Phase I - 1st Round pick Brian Nicholas, who played in two games for the Musketeers last weekend. The University of Michigan commit registered one assist in his first weekend of action and is expected to be available again for Sioux City this weekend when the Musketeers hit the road at Sioux Falls on Saturday and at Omaha on Sunday.
The second place Musketeers also added center Barron Woodring to the roster late this week to provide additional depth up front. The 6’2 forward out of Chicago, IL has registered 22 points in 22 games this season for the New Jersey Rockets of the NCDC and played in the All-Star game at Musketeers Main Camp last June. Woodring is expected to join the team this weekend.
“Our staff has worked for months to plan out scenarios over the next three weeks on how to best manage our roster while we have players out of town,” Johnson added.
“In our opinion Sochan, Nicholas and Woodring are more than capable USHL players that can help us when called upon and we also will rely on some depth players that are already here to grow into more minutes and situations while we have some key players out of the lineup.”