by John Peterson
While junior hockey teams across the country take a holiday hiatus, a handful of talented players travel home to tryout for their country’s national team. Austin Bruins center Nico Sturm (Augsburg, Germany) is one of those select few who have made the most of that opportunity.
Sturm, a 19-year-old in his first season with the Bruins, found out Christmas Eve that he made Team Germany’s under-20 national team for the top division of the World Junior Championships, held December 26-January 5 in Toronto and Montreal.
Germany will compete in Group A in the Preliminary Round and face the likes of Canada, the United States, Finland and Slovakia.
In 29 games with Austin this season, Sturm has four goals and 11 assists, with a plus-13 rating. His contributions to the Bruins’ successes go far beyond the scoresheet. Sturm is a two-way forward who is a consistently reliable center on faceoffs, who also likes to position himself in front of the opposing goalie.
Before joining the Bruins, he played the 2013-14 season (his first in the U.S.) with the Corpus Christi Ice Rays of the NAHL’s South Division. Prior to coming to America, Sturm skated for the ESV Kaufbeuren U16 and U18 teams in the German Development League.
Former Bruin Guillaume Leclerc (Franois, France) represented Team France last year in the Division 1-B class of the World Juniors, but Sturm is the first Austin player ever to qualify for their country’s national team in the Top Division.
Germany opens up against the host Canadians, who are one of the favorites to win the title, at 7pm CDT Saturday night at the Bell Centre in Montreal.