A top-5 finish, 47-win season, nine junior draft picks and four players bound for USNTDP

The 2006-born squad earned silver at the USA Hockey National Championships in April, before a large majority of their team found spots with USHL franchises shortly thereafter.

Four of the SSM players will suit up for USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program (USNTDP) next fall, while six others were selected in the USHL Draft on May 2.

They certainly earned their opportunities at the next level, after the 15s finished with a 47-9-4 record and the No. 7 spot on our World Rankings.

They played a full month-plus of hockey without losing a game from mid-September to early November, which got the ball rolling for another successful season for storied program out of Faribault, Minn.

At Nationals, they dropped two games — both to eventual national champion Chicago Mission. Other than that, it was dominating wins over the Minuteman Flames (10-2), the North Jersey Avalanche (6-0), Mount St. Charles (6-2) and the Bishop Kearney Selects (5-2).

Brodie Ziemer led the team in scoring both on the season and at the national tournament. The Carver, Minn., native registered 108 points in 59 games this year, 11 of which came at USA Hockey Arena in the posteason. Kristian Epperson finished just a few points behind him, logging a clean 100 in total. 

Jack Galanek posted 81 points on the season, while Ryker Lee had 80 and William Zellers had 79.

The leading scorer from the blue line unit was John Whipple – the Morristown, N.J., native racked up 55 points in 54 games. He also managed to lead the team in the penalty department, as Whipple accumulated 91 penalty minutes over the course of the season.

William Lubimov, a native of Philadelphia, led the way between the pipes, as he appeared in 36 contests and finished with a 2.16 goals-against average and .892 save percentage. His crease partner, Lukas Bergman, played in 30 games, while registering a 2.06 goals-against and .884 save percentage.

So how did the big season set the SSM squad up for their spring selection process in the junior circuit? Four players were invited to the 2022 NTDP Evaluation Camp, and all four were selected for next season’s NTDP Under-17 Team. Epperson, Ziemer, Whipple and defenseman Noah Lapointe will be sporting the Red, White and Blue next fall. If ‘Lapointe’ sounds familiar, it should – Noah is the youngest of former NHL forward Martin Lapointe’s three sons.

The four will be joined by another Shattuck product, as Cole Eiserman, a forward who was bumped up to the Shattuck Prep 18U team this season, also made the NTDP for the upcoming campaign.

Six members of the SSM 15-Only team were then selected by USHL teams in the USHL Phase-I Draft, and we expect many of them to be on their new club’s roster when the puck drops in September. Here is a look at the draftees:

Round 2, No. 18 overall – Green Bay – Will Zellers, forward
Round 2, No. 22 – Madison – Ryker Lee, forward
Round 4, No. 55 – Muskegon – Jack Galanek, forward
Round 6, No. 86 – Lincoln – Tanner Henricks, defenseman
Round 8, No. 107 – Lincoln – Vladimir Bakhtov, forward
Round 10, No. 138 – Green Bay – Jack Brauti, defenseman

Three of the SSM boys were claimed in the OHL Draft, as well:

Round 5, No. 84 overall – Saginaw – Kristian Epperson, forward
Round 6, No. 104 overall – Barrie – Jack Brauti, defenseman
Round 15, No. 302 overall – Hamilton – Noah Lapointe, defenseman

Between the four NTDP selections and the likely USHL players next fall, several SSM 15O players will earn their stripes skating for other teams in ’22-23, proving to be one of the more decorated youth hockey teams from the 2021-22 season. Want more coverage of the top teams in youth hockey? Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok and YouTube for the latest worldwide news, events, prospect talk and more!

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Iconic tournament returns after two-year hiatus; 2011 and 2012 events ready to go

Visit most malls, you know what you’re going to see. 

Stores. Food courts. Retirees power-walking.

One particular mall in Edmonton, however, will host one of the greatest youth hockey tournaments in the world over the next few weeks.

The Brick Invitational — a tournament played at the Ice Palace inside the West Edmonton Mall — is back.

After being impacted by COVID-19 for the last two years, The Brick will be taking place for the 31st time, and it will have two birth years coming through town for some elite hockey.

“We are pleased to confirm the Brick Invitational’s commitment to host two separate tournaments in the coming year, including rescheduled dates for the tournament that was deferred from 2021. Regrettably, we were not able to accommodate the 2010 birth-year players from the original 2020 tournament year,” said Brick Invitational chairman Craig Styles in an announcement on The Brick website.

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“Our committee has already commenced planning for this monumental endeavor, with full support of the teams, volunteers, sponsors and suppliers. There is still a lot of preparation required and we will need to be mindful of any health restrictions and/or safety protocols that may be in effect at this time, however we strive to provide a truly exceptional experience for all players and families in attendance.”

The 2012 birth-year participants will play from June 29 through July 3, while the 2011 teams will play from July 4 through July 10.

The kids are young, but if you look at the alumni list The Brick proudly displays, it’s easy to see that it’s a tournament worthy of following. It’s a who’s-who of NHL all-star talent, with players like Auston Matthews, Steven Stamkos, Max Pacioretty, P.K. Subban, Tyler Seguin, Zach Werenski, Seth Jones and the three Hughes brothers – Quinn, Jack and Luke – all being notable tournament alums.

The Brick organizers achieve the feat of bringing future NHLers together by having a substantial list of requirements for teams to meet. To apply for a spot at the tournament, teams have to spell out how long they’ve been in operation, what tournaments they play in, how the organization is structured and the quality of their coaching staff, and if they can make a three-year commitment to bringing a competitive team to Edmonton. That just gets applicants to the waiting list.

That’s why most of the teams are all-star collections from a state or province. On the schedule, you see team names like Team Brick Alberta, Team Minnesota, the Detroit Jr. Red Wings, the Boston Jr. Bruins, etc., as team organizers bring together the region’s best. For instance, the Detroit Jr. Red Wings may feature some Detroit Little Caesars players (the AAA organization affiliated with the NHL franchise), but AAA players from other teams across the state of Michigan try out for the summer team squad.

This year’s tournament features the Toronto Bulldogs, the Connecticut Jr. Rangers, Toronto Pro Hockey, the B.C. Junior Canucks, Team Brick Alberta, Team Minnesota, the Detroit Jr. Red Wings, the Montreal Canadiens, the Western Selects, Team Chicago, the Manitoba Junior Ice, the Boston Jr. Bruins, the Saskatchewan Jr. Pats and Team Pennsylvania for both age groups. 

If you’re keeping score at home, that’s seven Canadian clubs and seven American clubs, making for the perfect split between the two powerhouse countries. As the hockey world starts to assume a little normalcy, the battle for North American bragging rights is reinvigorated in Edmonton this summer. 

Connecticut Jr. Rangers beat Team Brick Alberta 3-2 in overtime in the 2019 title game for the last edition of the tournament. In 2018, it was an All-Toronto finale, with the Bulldogs topping Pro Hockey 2-1, again in overtime.

In 2017, the Bulldogs beat the B.C. Junior Canucks 6-5 in overtime. Michael Misa, the No. 1 overall pick in this year’s OHL Draft, had an assist on the game-winner and a whopping 18 points in the tournament.

What’s going to happen this year? The World Hockey Hub will be watching closely and ready to report on the highlights of the tournament. Be sure to follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok and YouTube for the latest from The Brick!

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What events to watch for this offseason

It may be summer, but it’s hard to keep hockey people away from the rink for too long.

There are major hockey events sprinkled across the “off-season” calendar, and the World Hockey Hub will be keeping an eye on them as we fly through the warmer months of 2022.

Here are some of the highlighted hockey events taking place in North America this summer:

Brick Invitational
June 29 – July 10

What’s better than one Brick? Two Bricks. The organizers for the Brick Invitational Hockey Tournament have expanded the annual summer tournament to two birth years, in an effort to accommodate a birth year that missed out on the tournament last year because of COVID-19. The 2011 birth-year will play from June 29 to July 3, and the 2012 birth-year will play from July 4-10. The tournament — played in the West Edmonton Mall — is one of the most unique events in all of youth sports, and while the 2010 birth year never ended up being able to participate, it’s great to see the 2011 group not miss out on the remarkable experience.

QMJHL Draft
July 4 – 5

It may be a holiday in America, but it’s a work day for one of Canada’s three Major Junior leagues. The Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) will start its annual draft on July 4, with the league setting aside two days to conduct its selection process of the 2006 birth-year class virtually.

NHL Draft
July 7 – 8

The culminating event of youth hockey is the NHL Draft, where every summer the hockey world gets to experience dreams coming true for its best and brightest. The World Hockey Hub will be watching, as well, to see where the newest NHL Draft picks came from and how their youth hockey resumes shaped their journey to hockey’s highest league. 

USA Hockey Boys Select 15 Camp
July 15 – 20

There are six different USA Hockey Player Development Camps, but the Boys Select 15 is the one that may have the most impact on top-level American talent. The first year of national camps for players progressing through the USA Hockey ranks, the Select 15 — held in Amherst, N.Y. — is the first big event of the year-long recruiting and evaluating process for the NTDP and junior league drafts.

Chowder Cup Series
July 15 – 17, 21 – 24, 28 – 31

The Chowder Cup — featuring a Mini, Junior and Senior divisions — brings top youth hockey talent to the Boston area for some impressive summer on-ice action. The Mini Chowder Cup features the 2008-09 classes on July 15-17, while the Junior Chowder Cup hosts the 2006-07s on July 21-24 and the Senior Chowder Cup for the 2002-05 groups on July 28-31.

Hlinka Gretzky Cup
July 31 – Aug. 6

It may not get as much publicity as the World Juniors (more on that below), but the Hlinka Gretzky Cup is a huge summer showcase to keep an eye on this year. USA Hockey and Hockey Canada use their summer player development camps as a tryout for the tournament, which will be taking place in Red Deer, Alberta this summer. It’s an Under-18 tournament that brings together elite players from across the globe heading into their NHL Draft year. 

PHD Best of Best Series 
Aug. 3-25

The Best of Best series, in its second season, aims to bring the best GTHL, Eastern OMHA, South-Central OMHA and ALLIANCE players together for elite hockey starting at the 2010 and 2011 birth-years. The idea is to bring the players in each summer, and in their fourth year through the program, play in a full OHL/NCAA showcase event.

World Juniors
August 9 – 20

One of the greatest events in all of sports will be a little warmer than usual, as the 2022 IIHF World Junior Championship will be taking place Aug. 9-20 in Edmonton and Red Deer, Alberta. The original tournament, which usually closes out one calendar year and opens the next, was postponed due to COVID-19 concerns, but the hockey community is making sure it still takes place – this time in the dead of summer.

CCM 68 Combine
Aug. 11-14

For the 2008 birth-year class in the United States, few events are as big as the CCM 68’s. Hosted in Chicago, the 68’s annually bring together the best players in the country, both boys and girls, for a weekend of on- and off-ice training and education. Alumni include Jack Hughes, Cole Caufield, Trevor Zegras, Spencer Knight, Jacob Trouba, Tyler Seguin, Matthew Tkachuk, Clayton Keller and more.  

Stay up-to-date on everything coming up in the world of youth hockey by following WHH on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok and YouTube!

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’06 squad leaves its mark on youth hockey — and the community — during 2021-22 season

The ’06 Toronto Jr. Canadiens had a remarkable 2021-22 campaign, on and off the ice.

On it, they won the Sylvia Jacobs Memorial Fall Classic and Whitby Silver Stick Championship – both times taking down their rivals and main competition in the Mississauga Senators. While the Sens got them back in the OHL Cup finals, the Jr. Canadiens still reached the title game of one of the most prestigious youth hockey tournaments in the world. 

All that caught the attention of scouts, which led to an impressive first round and full OHL Draft experience for the roster.

Yet off of the ice, they made quite the impact as well, both on their community and their head coach. The Jr. Canadiens launched a fundraiser in January to support the Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) and raised more than $34,000 in the first 48 hours. The team did so in honor of Christopher Sisca, the 2-year-old son of head coach Daniel Sisca.

The younger Sisca was diagnosed with a Wilms’ tumor, a childhood cancer that begins in the kidneys.

As it stands today, the fundraiser is at $62,055 with a target goal of $70,000.

The 2021-22 season was the last time the Habs would be together on the ice as a team, as OHL teams came calling quickly in the 2022 Priority Selection.

The Jr. Canadiens led all teams in the number of first-round draftees, as five different players were selected in the first 22 picks.

Forward Porter Martone, who posted a dominant 104 points in 53 games this year, was chosen by the Sarnia Sting at No. 5 overall. Martone has already signed an OHL Standard Player Agreement with the Sting, and he should be a force for Sarnia next fall.

Martone kicked off a string of Habs selections, as forward Jack Van Volsen was picked at No. 6 by Peterborough. Van Volsen topped Martone in the scoring race this past season, as he logged 110 points in 57 games. He has signed on to play with the Petes next season.

One pick later, the Ottawa 67s claimed Henry Mews, an Ottawa native. The talented defenseman logged 78 points in 52 games from the back-end, leaning on the skills he developed as a former forward to be a dominating force at both ends of the ice. Mews will be suiting up for his hometown OHL club this fall.

The OHL member clubs gave the Habs management a chance to catch up by going elsewhere for the No. 8 pick, but they were right back on the Jr. Canadiens roster for No. 9, as Kitchener claimed Michael Hage. A forward who found the scoresheet even more than Martone and Van Volsen this season as he put up 116 points, it is unclear where Hage will be playing next fall, as he also signed a USHL tender with the Chicago Steel. You don’t normally see top-10 picks in the OHL who aren’t planning on reporting the following fall.

The last of the first-round picks was Anthony Cristoforo, the second defenseman off the board for the Habs. He was chosen at No. 22 overall by the Windsor Spitfires after posting 78 points in 56 games.

Here is a look at all of the Jr. Canadiens selected by OHL clubs this spring:

Jacob Battaglia, Antonio Tersigni, Aidan Russell, Joshua Colosimo, Ryan Koss and Ian Biancofiore made it a total of nine forwards off the roster selected in the OHL Draft. Defensemen Andoni Fimis, and Jonah Ziskinder were also selected, along with both goaltenders in Paolo Frasca and Carter Frost.

In total, 15 players were selected, as the Jr. Candiens tied the Senators and the North York Rangers for most players from a single youth team in this year’s draft. A record 110 players were chosen from the GTHL, as well.

Want more exclusive coverage of the top players and programs in youth hockey? Be sure to follow WHH on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok and YouTube for more!

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’06 squad proved why it was one of — if not — the best teams in America

You know it was a special team and a special season when it holds the No. 1 spot on the year-end MyHockeyRankings board despite not winning it all at nationals.

The Mount St. Charles 2006 team surely wanted a different outcome in Plymouth, Mich., at the 2022 USA Hockey National Championships, but that doesn’t take away from a season in which they only lost four games all year.

The Mounties finished with a 51-4-1 record in the 2021-22 campaign, which gave them a 97.08 rating on MyHockeyRankings. That number is matched only by the team that ended up beating Mount in the national quarterfinals: Shattuck-St. Mary’s.

Mount out-scored its competition 319-115 over the course of the season. They started things off with a bang, winning the 2021 USHL Fall Classic and not losing a single game between Sept. 12 and Nov. 13. 

They won the Northeast Pack playoffs in the first week of March, and followed that up with a New England Regional Championship two weeks later to secure their spot in the national dance. Standing in their way for those were top competition like the No. 7-ranked Pittsburgh Penguins Elite and No. 3 Bishop Kearney Selects

Things went well in the preliminary round of the national playoffs at USA Hockey Arena; Mount posted a 12-4 win over the Sioux Falls Power, a 7-2 win over the Windy City Storm and a 6-3 win over Team Alaska. It was Shattuck’s loss to eventual national champion Chicago Mission in their preliminary round play that set up an epic quarterfinal battle between Mount St. Charles and SSM.

The national outcome didn’t hurt the draft stock of the Mounties’ roster, of course. Team members will be scattered across the United States next fall, as the USHL certainly took notice of the talent collected by the Rhode Island-based program.

Three players from the roster were invited to the 2022 USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program Evaluation Camp for selecting next year’s National Under-17 Team, and two of them were chosen for Team USA. 

James Hagens, who led the team in scoring with a remarkable 115 points in 54 games, will wear the Red, White and Blue for the NTDP next season. Goaltender Jack Parsons, who finished the year with a 29-2-1 record, a 2.13 goals-against average and .923 save percentage, will be joining Hagens in Plymouth, Mich.

Parsons was also a fourth-round pick (No. 70 overall) by Ottawa in the OHL Draft; Hagens was a sixth-round pick (No. 117) of London. They were the lone players selected in the OHL draft process.

Many of the Mounties appear to be going the American route, set to play in the USHL or otherwise. Two didn’t even wait for the USHL Draft to begin – defenseman Will Felicio signed a tender with the Madison Capitols and forward Sacha Boisvert signed a tender with the Muskegon Lumberjacks. Those signings mean that the two are basically first-round picks of the USHL franchises – Felicio at No. 7 and Boisvert at No. 10 – and they are guaranteed to play in 55 percent of their new team’s games next season.

From there, forwards Theo Kiss and Callum Hughes were selected in the second round of the USHL Phase-I Draft, at No. 16 overall by Des Moines and No. 21 overall by Waterloo, respectively. 

Forward J.J. Monteiro was selected in the fifth round by Waterloo, and then two players were selected in the seventh round – defenseman Jack Montaldo by Cedar Rapids and forward Chase Stefanek by Sioux City.

Forward Luke Gallo was selected by Omaha in the ninth round, and forward Jesse Venturo was selected on Day 2 in the Phase-II Draft.

Only time will tell, of course, but this ’06 Mount St. Charles roster could be one to be remembered for many years to come.

It’s been a wildly impressive 2021-22 season for many youth hockey teams around the globe. WHH will continue to profile some of those standout programs and performances throughout the summer. Be sure to follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok and YouTube for more! 

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Mississauga program makes a statement with historic ’21-22 season

When it mattered most, the Sens got it done.

After a rocky end to the season, the Mississauga Senators U16 AAA team rallied in time to win one of the most prestigious tournaments in all of youth hockey.

Despite being regarded as one of the best teams in the world in their birth year, the Senators needed to win a qualifying game just to get into the OHL Cup. Once they were in, however, they won the whole thing.

When you have seven players selected in the first three rounds of the OHL Draft — two of which battled for the No. 1 overall spot all year — you know the roster was pretty dang special. In all, 15 of the Sens were selected in the OHL Priority Selection, the most of any AAA team this season.

After falling to their rivals in the Toronto Jr. Canadiens at both the Sylvia Jacobs Memorial Fall Classic and the Whitby Silver Stick Championship, the Sens got some sweet revenge in the final of the OHL Cup on April 4, beating the Jr. Habs 6-2. The win solidified Michael Misa’s spot at the top of the OHL Draft board, as he posted the first-ever championship game hat trick and five-point performance for a final resume-filler on his case to be given exceptional status (which he was, and the Saginaw Spirit claimed him at No. 1 shortly thereafter). 

“This is the biggest tournament of minor hockey and I’ll remember this game forever,” Misa told the OHL website at the time. “It’s been a great ride with the boys and I couldn’t have dreamed of a better ending.”

It also sends the Sens’ roster into the sunset with the greatest victory available after years of success together. They won provincial under-11 and under-13 championships before COVID kept them from being able to compete for the under-15 title. This group of players may have been on one of the best youth teams Canada has seen this decade when all is said and done.

“We took the long road,” said Sens head coach Chris Stevenson, via the OHL. “Obviously we didn’t have the GTHL Playoffs that we hoped for but we learned from it, got to that wild card game and got better every game.

“I couldn’t be prouder of these guys. I’ve seen them grow and tonight means so much.”

They really had two OHL No. 1 overall picks on the roster, as linemate Malcolm Spence would have surely slid into the top spot if Misa wasn’t granted exceptional status. Misa, an ’07 skating up with the U16s, finished with 93 points and a plus-79 rating on the season, while Spence had 100 points and a +77.

Two other underagers joined Misa on the roster, as William Moore had himself quite a season, as did Marcus Lagana. Moore even led the Sens in scoring at the Whitby Silver Stick in November. Expect both of them to be high on draft lists next year. 

As far as this year’s OHL Draft class goes, 13 other Sens were selected in the OHL Priority Selection. Forwards Gabriel Frasca, Bode Stewart, Caden Kelly, Riley Patterson, William Eggleton and Quinten Lisle were sprinkled in throughout the draft process. Brayden Turley, Lucas Rodriguez, Brady Wassink, Justin Huynh, Owen Van De Ven and Philip Roberto all represented the defensive group. Goaltender Evan Maillet was also selected in the 13th round.

In the USHL Draft, one Sens player was selected in the Phase 1 Draft – exclusively for the 2006 birth-year – and then one was selected in the Phase 2 Draft – the following day selection process for all junior-eligible players.

And while they are in different birth-years, Misa and Spence will both be competing for the highest draft spot possible in two years, as Spence’s late birthday makes him eligible for the 2025 NHL Draft with Misa. More drama and memories alike for the longtime teammates, and we can’t wait to see what happens to both moving forward. 

Follow WHH on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok and YouTube for the latest news and notes on the top teams, players, leagues and programs from around the world of youth hockey!

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16U Tournament Closes The Book on 2022 Spring Tournament Series

There was only one team that traveled to and from Exeter, New Hampshire, this past weekend without enduring a single loss.

The TPH Selects are the 2022 champions of the 16U World Selects Trophy.

In a battle of the top two teams at the tournament, the TPH Selects — the No. 1 seed after an undefeated run through preliminary round play in Group B — beat the New Hampshire Jr. Wildcats, the top team from Group A. 

TPH prevailed 6-2 in the final, thanks in large part to a two-goal and one-assist outing from Luke Melnik and a dominating defensive performance from the entire Selects roster. Goaltender Owen Lepak only faced nine shots in the title game, making his life easier after playing in all eight contests for the Selects club. He was stellar throughout, posting a 1.57 goals-against average and .924 save percentage in the preliminary round and a 1.00 and .947 in the three-game postseason.

Lepak saw a little more action in the quarterfinals and semifinals, but he received plenty of offensive support throughout. In the quarters on Sunday, the TPH Selects beat Boston Hockey Club 5-0; Lepak made 21 saves in that one. Then in the semis, he turned in a 26-save performance in a 7-1 win over the RSG Selects.

The offensive firepower TPH brought to the tournament was on display throughout, as they out-scored their competition 44-12 over the eight games. Michael Barron led the team in scoring with nine points in the preliminary round and four in the postseason for a total of 13 in eight games. With an impressive six points in the playoff rounds, Melnik finished with 12 on the week, and Cam Springer finished with 11.

The TPH Selects roster, coached by Jason Deskins and Troy Barron, was built primarily from AAA players from Michigan, with Massachusetts natives Michael Munroe and Aiden Brown, and Ohio natives Cooper Struckel and Chase Nyitray joining in on the fun.

Their lone blemish in the entire tournament came from needing a shootout win to beat RSG 5-4 in the preliminary round; TPH made up for that with the 7-1 win over the same squad in the semifinals.

Meanwhile, the NH Jr. Wildcats did everything they could to defend home ice in the prestigious international tournament. After dominating Group A with a +18 goal differential and a 4-1-0 record, they took down NorthStar Elite 1-0 in the quarterfinals, and then the Czech Selects 3-2 in the semifinals. The semifinal victory over the Czechs erased the Wildcats’ lone loss in the prelims, after the Czechs got them 3-1 on May 28. 

Ronnie Hill led the Wildcats in scoring, recording nine points in the five preliminary-round games before adding three more in the three postseason matches. He was matched by forward Max Dineen, who had 11 points in the round robin before registering one in the postseason.

Chris Dakers and Camden Moran split time between the pipes for NH, while Moran took care of crease duties in the postseason. He finished with a 1.83 goals-against average and .910 save percentage in eight games, while Dakers wrapped up with a 1.00 goals-against and .939 save percentage in three outings.

Want more news and updates about the World Selects tournament series? Follow WHH on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok and YouTube for upcoming announcements about the 2023 events and how you can get involved!

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Examining the ’06 USA Hockey national champion’s 2021-22 season

On the morning of April 4, Chicago Mission captured the 2022 USA Hockey National Championship at the Tier-I 15-Only age group, arguably the most prestigious title in American youth hockey today. With an emphasis on having players stay in their own birth-year for their junior draft season, the 15-Only classification has increasingly become the place to play for athletes looking to establish themselves in the eyes of junior scouts.

Mission finished the season with a 50-22-2 record, and finished as the top-ranked team in the country as well as the fourth overall team in the world rankings. The ’06 black and neon green squad out-scored its competition by 134 goals, with an average margin of victory of 1.81 goals.

Season stats don’t appear to be available anywhere online, but the national tournament totals give a good look at the leaders for the Mission squad. Charles Pardue, Jake Merens and Eero Butella all tied for the team scoring lead in the country-wide playoffs, posting 10 points apiece in six games. John Delaney had seven, Charles Arend had five, while Michael Phelan and Ryan Kroll tied for the lead among defensemen with four.

Nicholas Kempf was the dominating force between the pipes for Mission, recording a 1.41 goals-against average and .944 save percentage in his five starts out of the six games Mission needed to win the national title.

So what did the in-season success mean for the Mission roster’s off-season? Well, we start with a look at USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program (USNTDP), which invited two of the Mission stars to its annual evaluation camp to finalize next year’s Under-17 Team. Pardue and Kempf were invited, and much like their other spring trip to Plymouth, they made that one count too, as both were named to the national team for the upcoming season.

Seven Mission players were selected in the USHL Phase-I Draft, which was the first part of a two-day draft process where the Tier-I junior league selected players exclusively from the 2006 birth-year class. Here were the Chicago players chosen:

Round 2, No. 23 overall – Waterloo – Eero Butella, forward
Round 3, No. 39 overall – Fargo – Jake Merens, forward
Round 6, No. 79 overall – Waterloo – Michael Phelan, defense
Round 6, No. 83 overall – Tri-City – Ryan Kroll, defense
Round 6, No. 87 overall – Dubuque – Charlie Arend, forward
Round 7, No. 95 – Fargo – Justin Bartley, defense
Round 9, No. 132 – Dubuque – Robert Bartell, forward

Only one team had more players selected in the USHL Phase-I Draft than Mission, and that was Detroit Compuware with eight. However, when you add the two players selected for the NTDP – which competes in the USHL – Mission would have the “top spot” in terms of players selected by the members of the top American junior league.

Two players were selected in the OHL Draft, and they were late-round picks. Butella was selected by Mississauga in the 10th round, 198 overall, while Pardue was chosen by Sudbury in the 14th round, 266 overall. Late-round American picks serve as a way for an OHL team to maintain a talented player’s rights, should the player ever consider a change of scenery as well.

Delaney and Frank DeRosa were also selected by the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Knights in the NCDC Entry Draft. 

College programs are allowed to extend verbal offers to the 2006 birth year starting on Aug. 1, and many of these names could resurface as commitment candidates before the summer is over.

World Hockey Hub will have continued coverage of the 2006 birth year, top teams, players, news and more. Be sure to follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok and YouTube for more!

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Examining the top selections from the U.S. and Canada at the 2007 birth year

The Western Hockey League held its annual WHL Prospects Draft this week, as the major junior league’s teams took turns selecting from the 2007 birth-year class.

The WHL splits their draft process along country lines; the league first held a U.S. Priority Draft on Wednesday before a Canadian-centric WHL Prospects Draft Thursday. American players not selected Wednesday were also available to the teams Thursday. 

Prospects eligible for the 2022 WHL drafts all hailed from Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Northwest Territories, Yukon, Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Kansas, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.

Since it’s primarily a Canadian league, we’re going to start with Thursday’s WHL Prospects Draft, and take a look at how the picks unfolded.

Rink Hockey Academy Kelowna U18 Prep forward Gavin McKenna was the first player off the board Thursday, as the Medicine Hat Tigers made him the No. 1 overall pick. It didn’t come as much of a surprise after McKenna posted 65 points in 35 games playing against U18 competition in his U15 season, and he signed a WHL Standard Player Agreement right after the selection was announced.

McKenna was the only first-round selection who did not play in his birth-year, as the rest of the class played U15. What McKenna does have in common with the majority of the class, however, is what league he played in — the Canadian Sport School Hockey League (CSSHL). Sixteen of the 22 picks came from the CSSHL, as the league continues to establish itself as the top destination for elite youth hockey players in Western Canada. 

The first three rounds of Thursday’s draft featured 36 players who skated in the CSSHL this season — 54.5 percent of the total selections. 

Here is the rest of the first round:

No. 1 – Medicine Hat – Gavin McKenna (Forward, Rink Hockey Academy Kelowna U18 Prep)

No. 2 – Tri-City – Jackson Smith (Defense, Edge School U15 Prep)

No. 3 – Victoria – Cole Reschny (Forward, Northern Alberta Xtreme U15 Prep)

No. 4 – Calgary – Reese Hamilton (Defense, Northern Alberta Xtreme U15 Prep)

No. 5 – Regina – Cole Temple (Forward, Brandon Wheat Kings U15)

No. 6 – Swift Current – Peyton Kettles (Defense, Rink Hockey Academy Winnipeg U15 Prep)

No. 7 – Vancouver – Cameron Schmidt (Forward, Rink Hockey Academy Kelowna U15 Prep)

No. 8 – Spokane – Chase Harrington (Forward, Delta Hockey Academy U15 Prep)

No. 9 – Prince George – Lee Shurgot (Forward, Saskatoon Generals U15)

No. 10 – Seattle – Braeden Cootes (Forward, Yale Hockey Academy U15 Prep)

No. 11 – Lethbridge – William Sharpe (Defense, Yale Hockey Academy U15 Prep)

No .12 – Brandon – Joby Baumuller (Forward, Notre Dame Hounds U15 Prep)

No. 13 – Kamloops – Nathan Behm (Forward, Edge School U15 Prep)

No. 14 – Moose Jaw – Connor Schmidt (Defense, Okanagan Hockey Academy U15 Prep)

No. 15 – Prince Albert – Luke Moroz (Forward, Prairie Storm U15)

No. 16 – Medicine Hat – Hayden Harsanyi (Forward, Northern Alberta Xtreme U15 Prep)

No. 17 – Red Deer – Luke Vlooswyk (Defense, Calgary Bisons U15)

No. 18 – Portland – Graham Jones (Forward, Rink Hockey Academy U15 Prep)

No. 19 – Vancouver – Aaron Obobaifo (Forward, Shattuck-St. Mary’s 14U)

No. 20 – Everett – Julien Maze (OHA Edmonton U15 Prep)

No. 21 – Saskatoon – Isaac Poll (Forward, Prairie Storm U15)

No. 22 – Vancouver – Jakob Oreskovic (Forward, Delta Hockey Academy U15 Prep)

Over the course of Thursday’s draft, Alberta led the provincial branches, producing 83 players. British Columbia and the Yukon produced 70, while 50 came from Saskatchewan and 31 came from Manitoba. Six players were taken from the United States, after the initial 44 were claimed on Wednesday.

On that note, let’s take a look at the U.S. portion of the draft now. The first-overall pick honors in Wednesday’s WHL U.S. Priority Draft went to defenseman Blake Fiddler of Frisco, Texas and the Dallas Stars Elite 14U team. Fiddler is the son of former NHLer Vernon Fiddler, who played for the Kelowna Rockets during his junior days.

Three other NHL alums saw their sons selected – Brad Stuart’s son Jake Stuart was selected second overall by the Brandon Wheat Kings, and Owen Nolan’s son Dylan Nolan was selected No. 10 overall by the Prince Albert Raiders. Grant Jennings’ son Gordon Jennings was claimed by the Prince Albert Raiders, as well, at No. 35.

At No. 4, Lethbridge claimed Harrison Boettiger, a goaltender out of Shattuck-St. Mary’s. That’s certainly noteworthy – you rarely see a goaltender selected that high in a junior league draft.

Here’s a look at the full first round of the U.S. Priority Draft:

No. 1 – Edmonton – Blake Fiddler (Defense, Dallas Stars Elite 14U)

No. 2 – Brandon – Jake Stuart (Forward, Los Angeles Jr. Kings 14U)

No. 3 – Regina – Dylan Lebret (Defense, Los Angeles Jr. Kings 14U)

No. 4 – Lethbridge – Harrison Boettiger (Goaltender, Shattuck-St. Mary’s 14U)

No. 5 – Moose Jaw – Carter Murphy (Defense, Dallas Stars Elite 14U)

No. 6 – Seattle – Lukas Sawchyn (Forward, Shattuck-St. Mary’s 14U)

No. 7 – Victoria – Rui Han (Forward, St. George’s School U15 Prep)

No. 8 – Spokane – Landon Hafele (Forward, Green Bay Jr. Gamblers 14U)

No. 9 – Tri-City – Brady Turner (Forward, Phoenix Jr. Coyotes 14U)

No. 10 – Prince Albert – Dylan Nolan (Forward, San Jose Jr. Sharks 14U)

No. 11 – Winnipeg – Carson Steinhoff (Defense, Minnesota Blades 14U)

No. 12 – Swift Current – Tyson Ulmer (Forward, North Dakota BEL)

No. 13 – Everett – Ben Kevan (Forward, Los Angeles Jr. Kings 14U)

No. 14 – Red Deer – Jeramiah Roberts (Defense, Colorado Rampage 14U)

No. 15 – Calgary – Brandon Gorzynski (Forward, Phoenix Jr. Coyotes 14U)

No. 16 – Prince George – Jackson Crowder (Forward, Dallas Stars Elite 14U)

No. 17 – Kelowna – Jackson Gillespie (Defense, Dallas Stars Elite 14U)

No. 18 – Kamloops – Conrad Fondrk (Forward, Mount St. Charles 14U)

No. 19 – Saskatoon – Trace Frieden (Forward, St. George’s School U15 Prep)

No. 20 – Portland – Gavin Kor (Forward, Shattuck-St. Mary’s 14U)

No. 21 – Vancouver – Masun Fleece (Forward, Shattuck-St. Mary’s 14U)

No. 22 – Medicine Hat – Max Silver (Forward, Fairmont Prep Warriors 15s)

California led the way of the 11 states with players selected, as 13 Golden State products were chosen. Minnesota was second with nine, while Texas had four and Colorado had three.

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Hometown team mounts third-period comeback in championship game against Czechs

Teams from six countries came to Quebec for the prestigious tournament, but it was the hometown team that emerged victorious.

With a come-from-behind 5-4 overtime victory over the Czech Knights, the Montreal Canadiens won the AAA division at the 2022 Quebec International Pee-Wee Hockey Tournament Sunday afternoon.

It was the first of its kind — a springtime showcase for the famed international youth hockey tournament. Due to COVID-19 restrictions interrupting the previously scheduled February tournament, organizers made sure the Pee Wee Quebec still took place, this time running it from May 1 – 15. The AAA division started on May 9, with the championship wrapping things up Sunday.

The Canadiens battled back in the final — more on that later — but they also battled back for the duration of their Pee-Wee Quebec experience. The little Habs, coached by former NHL pro Jason Pominville, started tournament play with a 3-2 loss to Latvia’s Riga HS on Wednesday, which put them on the brink of elimination from the start.

It turns out that the loss was the wake-up call the Canadiens needed, as they exorcised some demons over the next three games. On Friday, they posted an 8-1 win over the Middlesex Islanders to let everybody know they weren’t bowing out of their hometown tournament easy.

From there, they posted a 7-1 win over the Adirondack Jr. Wings on Saturday morning. Later in the same day, they hit double digits in the scoring column, as the Habs beat Providence Hockey Club 11-1 to earn a date with the Czechs in the final.

Montreal outscored the competition 26-3 in their bounce-back run to the title game.

There, they needed to once again prove their mental toughness, as the Czechs raced out to a 2-0 lead after the first period, and a 3-1 lead after the second. The Canadiens scored four goals in the third period, however, and despite the Knights finding the back of the net one more time, the game went to overtime.

There, Alexis Joseph — who scored the last goal in regulation for the Habs — broke a 4-4 tie at the 0:45 mark of the extra period to give his team a championship victory at the Quebec International Pee-Wee Hockey Tournament. 

Joseph, who accomplished something the majority of players could only dream of with his third period and OT goal in one of the biggest youth hockey tournaments in the world, also led the tournament in scoring with nine goals and eight assists for 17 points in five games.

His teammate, Jayden Pominville, had four goals and seven assists for 11 points to tie for second in the tournament scoring race.

Jeremy Freeman of the Oakville Rangers and Braiden Scuderi of the Philadelphia Flyers also had 11 points in tournament play; Freeman hit that points total in four games and Scuderi in only three. 

Zack Arsenault of the Quebec Ramparts and Jaakko Wycisk of the Sun County Panthers were the two other players to crack double digits at the tournament, as both finished with 10 points in four games.

Vincent Dussiaume-Latour led the way for the Canadiens between the pipes, playing 112:18 worth of hockey over four games. He finished with a 4-1-0-0 record (that’s one overtime win) and a 1.98 goals-against average. Crease partner Zack Desmarais played in 72:42 over three contests, and finished with a 2.04 goals-against.

Marek Besta of the Czech Knights played in 111 mins of action over three games, and finished with a 1.67 goals-against average. 

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