A closer look at each of the 20 teams participating at the 2021 World Selects Trophy.

The ‘20 in 20’ series takes a deep dive into each of the 20 teams competing at the historic World Selects Trophy in Nashville, Tennessee on June 28th. This 15U tournament is set to feature the best players in the age group from around the world with players from the U.S., Canada and Europe. Today, we take a closer look at NorthStar Elite East.


Priding itself on outreach through their leadership and coaches that reach far and wide across the United States, NorthStar Elite fields spring and summer teams from the 2004-birth year to the 2012-birth year. Sean O’Brien — head coach and director of hockey operations at The Hill School — and Justin Friedman, who works with the New Jersey 87s of the Eastern Hockey League (EHL), are co-owners of the program that has become a regular at the World Selects series. Set to compete in its fourth consecutive North American event, the program also reached a partnership earlier this month that will make NorthStar a member of the European events in 2022.

Andy Howard is the head coach of the 15O Arizona Jr Coyotes, and will be behind the bench for NSE East alongside Dakota Keene. The team has a deep, mobile group of defensemen who balance each other out well. Behind them is strong goaltending with Ben Vatis and Sam Straff in net. Up front, the team will have some dynamic playmakers including Cade Bell and Eric Palmer from the No. 5-ranked team in the world, HoneyBaked. Evan Jones is a top forward from the New York Saints, and Ryder McDonald and Ray Walen are a pair of USA Hockey National Camp Selections out of North Dakota.

For the first time in the program’s history, NorthStar will enter two teams into the event. In four years, the program’s best result was a quarterfinals appearance in the 2018 tournament. 

WHH is providing exclusive coverage of the 2021 World Selects Trophy. Follow us on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and YouTube for the latest news regarding the international tournament later this month.