While the men’s ice hockey team is preparing for a winter road trip out west for the Silverado Shootout, Chris Higgins ’05 will be a world away.

Higgins, who leads the team with six goals and 11 overall points, will be in the Czech Republic from Dec. 25 to Jan. 4 for the International Ice Hockey Federation Junior World Championships. Because of national team commitments, Higgins will miss both games of the Silverado Shootout on Dec. 28 and 29 and the Elis’ first game of the new year, Jan. 3 against No. 6 New Hampshire.

The U.S. national team roster is composed of 22 of the best hockey players in America under 20 years old. Higgins was one of two ECAC players selected for the national team.

“Something in me said if I get picked for this team I have to go,” said Higgins, who leaves this Sunday for training camp. “It is an opportunity of a lifetime.”

Although Higgins will miss the Bulldogs’ first three games after their current 20-day break, he should rejoin the team before they return to ECAC play. Since games played against non-ECAC foes do not affect playoff position, Higgins’ absence will not hurt the Elis’ postseason hopes.

While Higgins is gone, the Elis will have to find a way to fill the gap left by their star scorer.

“We’re going to miss him, but other people have to step up,” Yale head coach Tim Taylor said. “The team needs to rally around this adversity.”

— Marc Sorel