Jon Gillies didn’t work himself into a nervous frenzy. He didn’t chew on his nails or tug at his wristwatch as a way to fend off any anxiety.

Instead, Gillies focused on what was coming: an announcement of the roster of players, including the two goaltenders, who will represent the United States in international hockey competition.

Then, Gillies heard his name called.

“I was looking forward to that experience,” said Gillies, a South Portland resident. “Whatever happened, it would be great or it would be motivation for me to keep going forward in hockey.”

Gillies, 17, now has to prove himself at the international level as a goaltender participating next week in the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament in the Czech Republic and Slovakia. Gillies is one of 22 players selected to represent the U.S., a roster chosen from a pool of players who participated in the USA Hockey Select player development camp earlier this month in Rochester, N.Y.

“It’s simply the best under-18 tournament in the world,” USA Coach Seth Appert said. “It’s second to the world junior championships and one of the most prestigious amateur-type tournaments in hockey. Every country that will be playing will be sending their best players.”

The Hlinka tournament is what Appert called “a precursor” for some of the top amateur players entering their first year of NHL draft eligibility.

Gillies, who spent last season with the Indiana Ice of the United States Hockey League, is the second player from Maine in the last four years to play in the Hlinka tournament. Brian Dumoulin, a defenseman at Boston College and a Biddeford resident, played for the U.S. in 2008. He also played for the U.S. at the 2011 world junior championships in Buffalo, N.Y.

“I don’t know much about the tournament,” said Gillies, who verbally committed in the spring of 2010 to play at Northeastern in 2012. “All I know is that it’s very prestigious and that it’s a very high level of hockey.

“I want to be a good team-spirit guy on and off the ice and if I get the chance to play, I’ll do my best.”

In 25 games with the Indiana Ice, Gillies had a goals-against average of 2.82 and a save percentage of .906 with three shutouts.

He will join the U.S. team Sunday at Ann Arbor, Mich., and after three days of training, the team will leave for Europe for the eight-team tournament.

The U.S. faces the Czech Republic in an exhibition Aug. 6 before opening the Hlinka tournament two days later against Finland, the first of three pool-play games. The Americans face Russia on Aug. 9 and Slovakia Aug. 10 in pool play, with all three games in Piestany, Slovakia.

The seventh-place, fifth-place and semifinal games are scheduled Aug. 12, and the gold-medal and bronze-medal games are on Aug. 13, with the sites to be announced.

Appert has high expectations for Gillies, who along with his teammates will have to adjust to jet lag, unusual food and foreign hotels that don’t have the typical amenities — notably air conditioning — while competing against the top under-18 hockey players in the world.

“He’s not being brought over to sit on the sidelines for the whole tournament,” said Appert, the head coach at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y. “He’s going to come in and because of his experience at a high level, he has an advantage. But he has the opportunity to prove himself.”

Staff Writer Rachel Lenzi can be reached at 791-6415 or at:

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