Mitch Bruijsten and Luka Vidmar have both been named to their respective countries IIHF Division 1 World Championship preliminary rosters. Bruijsten is on The Netherland's roster and Vidmar is on Slovenia's. IIHF D1 members are Slovenia, Hungary, Croatia, Poland, Korea and Great Britain in Group B with round robin play set to begin April 17th in Llubjana. Group A consists of The Netherlands, Austria, Japan, Lithuania, Serbia and Ukraine. Their round robin begins on the 19th of April and culminates on the 25th. Both teams are scheduled to play five exhibitions before the pool play begins and final rosters are set.
The top three teams from each group advance for the championship round to Germany at the beginning of May. Don't think for a second that Mitch and Luka aren't pretty fired up at a chance to play for their countries. This essentially 2nd tier tournament opens with a game in front of 75, 976 people in the Veltkins-Arena home to FC Schalka. It's an exhibition game between Team USA and Gemany arranged as the "kickoff game" for the tournament on May 7th.
It is a large indoor multi-use arena. Think watching the NCAA's live at Ford Field would be a bummer? Check out the promotional videos below (two official and one "unofficial"). Some of the descriptions are shall we say a bit over the top but they're definitely playing in big arenas. The winner of this tournament steps a step up to play with the IIHF Big Boys on the world next year. Kind of a big deal for any of these teams to accomplish. So yeah, Mitch and Luka would be pretty jazzed to get a chance to play in Germany in May. We'll provide updates as to their progress here. Good luck to Mitch and Luka; and please allow me to say Go Netherlands, Go Slovenia!
*Warning: The last vid is quite cheesy.