Ryan Ufko made the most of his first opportunity representing the United States on an international stage. And he made that experience work well for him for the remainder of the season at the University of Massachusetts too.
At the 2023 IIHF World Junior Championships Dec. 26-Jan. 5 in Moncton, New Brunswick, and Halifax, Nova Scotia, the Smithtown, N.Y., native and sophomore defenseman for UMass finished the tournament with one goal and nine assists. He helped the U.S. beat Sweden, 8-7, in overtime Jan. 5 to earn bronze. It was the 14th medal the U.S. has won at the event and seventh bronze.
“The goal was gold at the start but once we realized we were playing for bronze, we all had a mindset that we had to come home with a medal,” Ufko said. “It was definitely cool to come out with some hardware.”
Ufko called the world juniors “one of the coolest tournaments that I have played in my career so far.”
“That was the first time I represented Team USA, so it was a special honor,” Ufko said. “It was really cool to put the jersey on and play against and with the best guys in my age group. It was a cool experience.”