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Phoenix Coyotes prospect to play for USA Hockey's National Junior Team

Connor Murphy -- Phoenix's 2011 first-round pick -- will represent the US in Russia

Bruce Bennett

While hope slips away on a 2012-2013 hockey season, Phoenix Coyotes prospect Connor Murphy will stay busy. The 2011 first-round pick has signed on to play for Team USA in the International Ice Hockey Federation World Junior Championships that begin today in Ufa, Russia.

The 19-year-old defenseman, selected 20th by Phoenix in 2011, has played 28 games for the OHL's Sarnia Sting this season. Murphy has recorded five goals and nine assists for a plus-8 rating and 28 penalty minutes. Last season, the Dublin, Ohio native scored eight goals and notched 18 assists.

The IIHF is held annually for the ten highest-ranked national teams comprised of under-20 players to compete for world supremacy, or something to that effect. 23 players were selected to Team USA, who compete in the Top Division of the tournament. Sweden won last year's competition, which has been held annually since 1977. The competition concludes January 5.