Kaidan Mbereko and Noah Laba will represent CC Hockey at U.S. National Junior Team Camp

Two CC Hockey freshmen to compete for roster spot on U.S. National Junior Team
Posted at 11:36 PM, Dec 09, 2022
and last updated 2022-12-10 01:36:50-05

Colorado College hockey's Kaidan Mbereko and Noah Laba are two of 32 players in the country named to the preliminary roster of the 2023 U.S. National Junior Team.

The freshmen have made an immediate impact on the Tigers program and now look to play for something bigger than their school.

It will be a surreal moment for center, Noah Laba to return to his home state of Michigan for the Training Camp.

“For me, it’s something you watch as a kid growing up and something you dream of going to," Laba explained. "So it will definitely be a special moment.”

CC goalie, Kaidan Mbereko grew up in a hockey town too, yet for him, it wasn't love at first sight with the sport.

“I started {playing hockey} when I was four and I was a player but I quit because I kind of hated it," Mbereko laughed. "But then my friend showed me some pads that you could customize and that kind of hooked me on goalie, I wanted to try it and just ran with it.”

Mbereko has become one of the top goalies in the country and is no seeking his third appearance on the U.S. Junior Team.

"I mean you never forget the first time you do it," Mbereko said about putting on the USA jersey. "You’re playing for your country, you’re playing for your family and luckily, I’m playing for our school too so it’ll be a huge opportunity and a huge honor.”

And getting to experience it all with a teammate, makes it even more special.

“You want to see other guys on your team succeed," Mbereko said. "It’s great that Laba is doing that and is going to have that opportunity, I’m super proud of him.”

Proud is an understatement when describing how Tigers Head Coach, Kris Mayotte felt seeing his players names on the invite list.

“When you get the that level, it’s not just about your talent, the person has to match it and that’s how you end up making those teams," Mayotte said. "That’s a credit to Kaidan and Noah, they’re the type of people you win championships with.”

Mayotte has served as a coach for the U.S. National Junior Team several times so he knows the grind it takes to bring home a gold medal.

“It’s a great tournament," Mayotte smiled. "It’s emotional, it’s exhausting, you’re riding a full seasons worth of emotions in about two weeks, but I can’t wait for Kaidan and Noah to get there."

Training camp begins on Monday at the USA Hockey Arena in Michigan. Nine cuts will be made at the end of camp and the 23-man tournament team will be set.