USA Hockey Nationals set for the top 16 teams in the country

There were 181 triple-A teams in the U.S. at the 2006-birth year this season, and after seven months, that field has been reduced to just 16 teams in search of a USA Hockey Nationals champion. Set to take place in Irving, Texas, nine of the teams heading to the Lone Star State later this month were among WHH’s top 25 teams in the world. There are 16 different national tournaments taking place in April across various skill levels for boys and girls, but the 14U Tier-I bracket may be the most competitive and volatile of the bunch. Top teams will be on full display, but several others will make a case to play Cinderella and spoil the favorite’s championship run.

The tournament format, according to USA Hockey, for a 16-team seeded Tier-I youth event involves breaking down the field into four pools of teams based on MyHockeyRankings. That means the four pools should be:

USAOLYMPICNHLLIBERTY
Shattuck-St. Mary’sBishop KearneyBoston Jr. EaglesNortheast Wisconsin Jr. Gamblers
New Jersey ColonialsChicago MissionLA Jr. KingsMount St. Charles
St. Louis AAA BluesMinuteman FlamesCompuwarePittsburgh Penguins Elite
Team North DakotaTeam MarylandColorado ThunderbirdsNJ Avalanche

Each team will play three games in-pool and after that process is completed, the top two teams from each pool will advance to an eight-team single-elimination bracket. That bracket will also be seeded based on standings at nationals: USA #1 vs. OLY #2, LIB #1 vs. NHL #2, OLY #1 vs. USA #2 and NHL #1 vs. LIB #2. The home team for the subsequent semifinals and championship games will also be determined based on this criteria.

The six-day tournament is slated to begin at 10:00 a.m. CT, on Wednesday, April 28th, at the Children’s Health StarCenter in Irving and Euless, Texas. All the action will be live-streamed on HockeyTV.com and we will have wall-to-wall coverage of the tournament throughout the week. Follow us on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and YouTube for more USA Hockey Nationals news.