Seamus Malone has been spending a little extra time around Dubuque Fighting Saints teammate Niklas Nevalainen the past few weeks.
Malone, a 5-foot-8, 158-pound forward from Naperville, Ill., will be spending the next week in Nevalainen's native Finland while representing USA Hockey at the Under-17 Five Nations Tournament.
"I've been to Europe to play before, so I'm not too worried about that," Malone said Saturday. "But Niklas told me a lot about the city (Jarvenpaa) where we're going to be playing and the places to go see. It is kind of nice to know what to expect before you go over there.
"It's definitely an honor to be picked to play, and it should be a pretty good week. I'm going to miss the boys back in Dubuque, but I know they'll get the job done this weekend."
Malone contributed five assists this weekend in helping the Saints to a two-game road sweep over the Indiana Ice. He has contributed six goals, 26 points, 28 penalty minuts and a plus-13 rating in 37 games with Dubuque.
The bulk of USA Hockey's roster for the tournament consists of players with the National Team Development Program in Ann Arbor, Mich.
"Fortunately for our organization, we've been down this road quite a bit the last three years and our players have had a lot of opportunities to represent their countries," Saints coach Jim Montgomery said.
"This type of tournament is so valuable to your players. They get a chance to compete for a championship on a big international stage, and they bring that experience back to our organization."
The NTDP staff also asked for the services of Saints defenseman Keegan Ford, who, like Malone, has committed to the University of Wisconsin. Montgomery approved the loan until this weekend, when a couple of Saints defensemen suffered minor injuries that might impact the team's depth.
The Saints signed both Malone and Ford to pre-Futures Draft tenders last spring. By USHL rules, 1996-born players signed to tenders must play at least 55 percent of their teams' 64 games. Malone has already met the requirement, and Ford needs just one more game played to meet it.