More than 300 youth players set for New England’s premier development camp

Originating in 2019, the “Sixty Camp” has put a main focus on creating an environment for players to test their skills among the best of their peers. The main focus of that first camp was the 2006 birth year. Since then, the event has grown exponentially to include multiple birth years. Players from the 2007-2011 age range will participate in this weekend’s showcase. Participants can expect a four-day event filled with on-ice drills, skills and competition. Between sessions, players are exposed to off-ice training and treated to informational presentations regarding college hockey, academics and nutrition, among other topics.

The camp’s professional coaching staff has included names in the past such as:

Jerry Keefe – Northeastern University

Paul Pearl – Cushing Academy 

Mike Souza – University of New Hampshire

Adam Nicholas – Director of Hockey Development, Montreal Canadiens 

Rod Braceful – Amateur Scout, Chicago Blackhawks

These esteemed coaches will be behind the benches, running practices, and conducting seminars for players and families. There will be no shortage of talent at this year’s camp. Some of the best youth players from this season include: 


Van Martin – Lovell Academy 

Hugo Daniel – North Yarmouth Academy

Tyler Clouthier – Ice Mavericks Hockey 

Jason Millet – South Kent Selects 

Garret Glaser – Shattuck-St. Mary’s

Glaser was a consistent source of strong goaltending in net for Shattuck this past season. He went 20-10-2 while compiling a 2.52 goals-against average and .913 save percentage with three shutouts. His knack to come up in big games backstopped his club to a championship appearance at USA Hockey Nationals in April. Millet built up on a strong first season with the Selects by upping his point total from 28 to 43. The solid 5-foot-10 defenseman knows how to add offense from the blue line. With an imposing 170 lbs. frame as well, opponents have a tough task of finding any space on the ice against him.


Danick St. Pierre – Seacoast Performance Academy 

Blake Cash – Seacoast Performance Academy 

Nick Sumner – Brooks School 

Ryan Poirier – New Hampshire Avalanche

Sully Wilmont – Idaho Junior Steelheads

Parker Sockseth – Seacoast Performance Academy 

St. Pierre finished the season second overall on SPA in total points with 86 (29G, 57A). Cash compiled seven goals and 21 points as well for the team. 


Richie Janniello – Long Island Gulls 

Brice Glanz – Windy City Storm 

Connor Wright – Middlesex School 

Dante Kader – Islanders Hockey Club 

James Cappozi – New Jersey Rockets


Enzo Levy – Seigneurs des Mille-Îles

Blake Ward – Boston Jr. Eagles

Mason Proulx – Seacoast Performance Academy

Roan Wilson – Top Gun 

Levy and Proulx both put up solid showings at the U13 World Selects Invitational in Chamonix, France. Levy recorded three goals and seven points for the Eastern U.S. Selects squad. He also averaged close to two points per game for Seigneurs des Mille-Îles, where he finished with 27 goals and 58 points in 30 games. Proulx joined Levy as a member of the Selects squad at the WSI, where he nabbed three goals and six points. 

Want more information on upcoming camps and showcases this summer? Follow WHH on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, Discord and YouTube for the latest news, updates and more!

Four states compete for New England hockey bragging rights 

Last weekend, the third annual New England States Rivalry Challenge hosted 120 athletes from four different states. Teams at the 2010 and 2011 birth years battled it out for state supremacy in this uniquely designed summer tournament. Schedule format was a three-game round robin, with the top two teams battling in a championship final. With that, we’ve got winners and standouts from both age groups, and who reigned supreme at last weekend’s NESRC.

New Hampshire holds claim to 2010 division

Like at last year’s tournament, when the dust settled New Hampshire was once again standing atop the 2010 division. After kicking off its schedule with a win against Maine, New Hampshire dropped a 4-3 overtime decision to Vermont. In order for any chance to contend for the title, they needed a win against Massachusetts. Cam Casey and Michael Shook propelled the team to a 3-0 shutout win. The loss was Massachusetts’ first at the tournament. Goaltender Archie Wible stopped all 33 shots he faced. 

In the rematch with Massachusetts, it was once again the dynamic duo of Casey and Shook doing the heavy lifting. Shook assisted on two opening-period goals from Casey to help New Hampshire take a 3-2 lead into the intermission. In the second, Casey completed his hat trick. Massachusetts’ Michael Buscaino cut the lead to 4-3 on the power play close to four minutes later. Shortly after, Casey and Snook combined with Brayden Guerin for a goal to double the lead once more. Nicholas Cabana notched the sixth and final goal of the game to secure the victory for New Hampshire. Wible was stellar in net once again, as he finished with 27 saves on 30 shots. Casey and Shook ended up as the top two scorers in the 2010 division. Casey scored two goals and seven points. Shook managed to put home four goals and six points. 

Rhys Del Giacco’s invaluable points from the blue line

After finishing as runners-up in the 2010 division last year, Vermont reached the top of the mountain at this year’s tournament among 2011 teams. Despite opening up a 2-0 lead on Massachusetts in the first game, the defense could not hold the line in the second period. The team was outscored 4-1 en route to an eventual 5-3 loss. Regrouping, Vermont won its next two round-robin games to set up a rematch with Massachusetts in the finale. Defenseman Rhys Del Giacco’s solid two-way play was a crucial part of Vermont’s strategy. He brought one goal and two assists with him into the championship game.

In the final contest, Jackson Abbott opened the scoring for Vermont at 15:34 of the first period. Just over a minute later, Patrick Taylor equalized the score. Special teams took over for the next stretch. Vermont tallied a short-handed goal and later received insurance on a power-play goal from Abbott. Taylor struck for his second goal of the game to bring the score to 3-2 late in the first period. He would end up as the leading scorer across both divisions at tournament’s end with nine goals and 11 points. 

Del Giacco all but put the game away with his heroics in the second period. The smooth skating defender managed to score two short-handed goals in just over two minutes for a commanding 5-2 Vermont lead. Devon Priestley would salvage one more score for Massachusetts for a 5-3 final. Del Giacco and Abbott finished as leading scorers for Vermont, with six and five points, respectively. 

Still in the young stages of its history, the New England States Rivalry Challenge is a unique summer hockey tournament experience. Players can register individually to represent their respective home states or, gather a team of friends and compete as a group. The 2023 event featured teams from Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Maine and Vermont, but applicants from all 50 states are welcome. As long as there are enough participants to field a 15-player AAA-level roster, you’re good to go! 

Want more info on next year’s NESRC and how you can represent your home state at the event? Click HERE!

Players from ‘09,’10,’11 birth years set to compete at annual tournament

This week, the World Youth Championships will host the second event of its spring season in Prague, Czech Republic. Players born in 2009, 2010 and 2011 will be split into three divisions of six teams each. Among those age groups will be participants from six different countries. The first stop of the World Youth Championship was held earlier this month in Philadelphia for those born in 2006, 2007 and 2008. 

Over the course of the next four days, teams will compete in five pool-play matchups. Following that, the top four seeds in each division will advance to a semifinal playoff round. A champion will be determined by Saturday. Teams began arriving in the city last weekend, with many taking in the sights and sounds to get in the spirit. 

Players to Watch at WYC

TSH Selects and Top Speed are two of the 2009-born teams with loads of talent. Viggo Mallmin led No. 1 Swedish-ranked Brinkens IF to gold at the 2023 Uplandia Trophy. He will look to do the same here for Top Speed. Bolstering that squad will be Marks Gusevs from No. 4 SDE Hockey. Priam Lelang — a teammate of Mallmin’s on Brinkens — will be skating for TSH. The forward pair of Eric Wei and Conny Törnqvist will also aid TSH. Both hail from No. 2 Kiekko-Espoo Blues II

East Coast Prime in the 2010 division will have a few of the top names from the 2022-23 winter season. Among them will be forwards Matthew Lynn and Bo Christini from the No. 1 ranked Philadelphia Jr. Flyers. The two have led the Jr. Flyers in previous tournaments this season such as the Eastern Exposure Cup and Penguins Elite Mid-Winter Classic. Joining them will be defenseman Samuel Fishbone from No. 5 Boston Jr. Eagles and Jack Riehl from No. 9 Pittsburgh Penguins Elite

For the 2011s, forward Tyler Kyle from former No. 10 U.S.-ranked South Shore Kings will patrol the blue line for East Coast Prime. 

You can watch all of the on-ice action this week with live streams of the games HERE

Want more from the World Youth Championships? WHH will have exclusive coverage of the tournament in Prague all week long. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, Discord and YouTube for more!

Annual tournament kicked off milestone season on May 5th

One of the biggest youth hockey summer tournaments is in full swing this month. Over the course of five weekends, boys and girls from multiple birth years take to the ice in the Montreal Meltdown. The field for the 30th Anniversary event will be made up of more than 200 teams across 10 age groups. Two divisions have already kicked off action earlier this month, with the next installment set to begin this weekend. 

This year’s tournament starts with the youngest age groups of the 2014, 2015 and 2016 birth years and goes all the way up to an 18U division for ‘05, ‘06 and ‘07 birth years. Some age groups have as many as three different competition levels, presumably for AAA, AA and A-level teams. 

Division 2 and 3-level ‘09, ‘10, ‘11, ‘12 and ‘13 age groups got underway on May 5th. The 18U and ‘08 age groups followed last weekend with 52 teams in action. Friday, 48 more teams from the ‘11 age group as well as ‘12, ‘13 and ‘14 teams will compete. Then, on June 1st, ‘09, ‘10 and ‘15 age groups will take to the ice. There is a AAA-level weekend for ‘12 through ‘16 birth years, however, dates have not been made public.

The pool of teams is made up primarily of Eastern Canada representatives, with a few U.S. clubs also taking part in the festivities from as far south as Tennessee. Matchups have been taking place at either the Sportplexe Pierrefonds or Complexe Sportif St-Raphael. The 2013, 2014 and D1 2011 divisions will each be split into two groups. The 2012 division is one group of nine teams. After this month-long competition, the next big date on the Canadian calendar will be the Brick Invitational. That is slated to begin July 4th and run through July 10th. 

Fans can download an exclusive app to keep track of the latest scores, stats and standings HERE. Games will also be streamed live thanks to High Button Sports, which can be found HERE

For more on the Montreal Meltdown and other upcoming tournaments and showcases be sure to follow WHH on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, Discord and YouTube

Dynamic line of Shilov, Kulebyakin and Vlasov led tournament in scoring

The search for a 2008-born Russian national champion ended on Wednesday when SKA-Yunost Yekaterinburg defeated Lokomotiv Yaroslavl 4-3 in a shootout. The championship was a rematch between the two teams who met last Thursday; Lokomotiv dominated SKA-Yunost by way of a 5-1 final. With a national championship on the line, though, the result proved to be significantly different. 

SKA’s prolific line of Egor Shilov, Oleg Kulebyakin and Alexey Vlasov proved would finish as the top three scorers in the tournament, and lift the team to national championship gold. 

Kulebyakin shines in championship game

Much like in their first game against one another, Lokomotiv got the scoring started just over two minutes into the championship game. Artem Korsavok threw a puck on net from the blue line that deflected off Alexander Leonov. The rebound dropped in the crease where Sergey Chernnyaev slipped it home for a 1-0 lead. After more time had passed, SKA gained the offensive zone with Fedor Tuliveter chasing a loose puck. He managed to send a chip pass over to Egor Kim who was alone in the slot. Kim whipped a shot past Dmitry Borichev for his first point of the tournament to tie the game at 1-1. 

With the minutes waning in the first period, SKA’s top line went to work. Shilov took the puck off a face-off win and sent it high over the net. Vlasov pinned a defender to the boards, allowing Shilov to take the puck and shoot it on goal. Waiting there was Kulebyakin, who collected the loose puck and banged it in for a 2-1 lead with 1:04 remaining on the clock. 

The game would again draw even when Lokomotiv scored to make it 2-2. While killing a penalty, Victor Federov managed to slip by the defense for a short-handed breakaway. He was taken down on the attempt and a penalty shot was awarded. Showing off his silky hands, Federov deked around Grigory Melnikov to score on the opportunity. 

While that particular power play backfired on SKA, they made sure to cash in on the next opportunity. With Lokomotiv unable to clear, SKA’s power-play unit moved the puck around with some dazzling passes. The sequence was completed when Kulebyakin fired a wrist shot top shelf from the right circle to give SKA a 3-2 lead.

But Yaroslavl’s tenacity showed once more when they tied the game with 1:18 left in the period. Federov took an unforced turnover from behind the net and fed it to Andrey Kochetkov in front. After being denied on his initial shot, he took the rebound and put it in to even the score.

Second straight shootout winner for SKA-Yunost

With no goals scored in the third period or overtime, the game headed to a shootout. It was familiar territory for SKA-Yunost. After all, an overtime goal from Andrey Gudin against CSKA Moscow in the semifinals is what propelled them to the championship game. 

With the game, tournament and championship on the line, Kulebyakin tallied the only goal in the shootout  while Melnikov stopped all five opposing shooters. SKA-Yunost secured the victory and the championship with one of the more unlikely victories in the tournament. The win comes seven days after Lokomotiv nearly eliminated them from national championship contention altogether. 

Want more coverage of Russia and its top youth hockey players and teams? Follow WHH on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, Discord and YouTube for the latest news, updates and more!

A look at the No. 1 teams in final rankings of 2022-23 season

​​For the last 36 weeks, the most elite teams in AAA hockey have bolstered their resumes, won tournaments, league championships and national titles. The results are in, schedules completed and the World Rankings, presented by World Hockey Hub, have been finalized.

As the 2022-23 season comes to a close, we crown the No. 1 teams across six different age groups to finish as the best in the youth hockey landscape: 

2006: Long Island Gulls (59-10-4)

Ending the ‘22-23 campaign as National Champions among 2006-born U.S. teams, the Long Island Gulls cemented their status as the best program in that birth year. A 17-game unbeaten streak to start the season would only be a sign of further things to come for this squad. They secured a district title at the New York State Amateur Hockey Association (NYSAHA) with a 5-1 win over the Buffalo Jr. Sabres. That victory earned them a spot at USA Hockey Nationals, where the team skated to a 5-1-0 record. Long Island deservedly won the championship by shutting out Little Caesars 2-0 in the title matchup. In 15 of the 17 World Rankings updates this season, the Gulls were the No. 1 team.

Forward Jesse Orlowsky and defenseman Donato Bracco were invited to the USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program’s (USNTDP) annual U17 Evaluation Camp. Bracco was later announced as having earned a spot on the team. Earlier this month, five Gulls were selected in the United States Hockey League’s (USHL) Phase-I Draft. Orlowsky, Ethan Wyttenbach, Malachi McKinnon, Nicholas Sykora and Brendan DeFeo all had their names called. 

2007: Little Caesars (71-7-2)

You would be hard pressed to find another youth hockey team this season that won as much as ‘07 Little Caesars. After alternating wins and losses in the first four games of the year, the team hit its stride with a 46-game unbeaten streak. Along the way, Caesars nabbed titles at the CCM World Invite and USHL Youth Fall Classic. At USA Hockey Nationals, the skilled group was positioned as favorites to win the tournament. That was, until they fell in the semifinal round in overtime to Shattuck-St. Mary’s. 

Despite a tough ending to an almost storybook season, players from Caesars were among some of the most popular this offseason. Goaltender Joey Slavick, defenseman Charlie Thretheway and forward Will Horcoff were named to the USNTDP U17 roster. Additionally, seven players — including Horcoff and Tretheway — were also chosen in the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) Draft. Six others were also selected in the USHL’s Phase-I Draft as well.

2008: Vaughan Kings (76-6-2)

The Vaughan Kings have held down the No. 1 spot  in the ‘09 World Rankings for 24 consecutive weeks. They made their first big splash of the season by going undefeated at the Little Caesars Invitational. The team continued to roll along into the Vaughan Kings Classic, where they defeated York Simcoe Express in the final. The New Year began with another tournament win, this time by emerging as champions at the International Silver Stick. It was the second year in a row that the Kings were the last team standing at the major event. Next up was the Greater Toronto Hockey League (GTHL) Championships. It was here that Vaughan bested the Toronto Jr. Canadiens in a tough five-game series. The Kings wrapped up the campaign with an appearance at the U15 All-Ontario Championships. In the title game, they shut out the Soo Jr. Greyhounds 4-0. 

2009: Toronto Jr. Canadiens (54-14-1)

The ‘09 Toronto Jr. Canadiens had a strong finish to their ‘22-23 schedule. This allowed them to hold onto the No. 1 World Rankings spot since May 7th. Since that date, JRC were winners in 10 of its final 13 contests. The pinnacle of their season was a 5-0-0 run at the U14 OHL Cup. Included in that performance were victories over fellow World-ranked teams Don Mills Flyers and Sun County Panthers. The club was undefeated in three different stretches of at least eight games. One of the most offensively gifted rosters in the world, the Jr. Canadiens finished with an incredible goal differential of plus-199. 

2010: CSKA Moscow (45-0-1)

What else can be said about 2011-born CSKA Moscow that hasn’t been written already? The team opened their schedule with one of the best winning streaks in recent memory. Winding up in the win column in the first 36 games of a season is nothing short of spectacular. And when adversity finally did hit, they rebounded in full. After they suffered their only loss of the season — in overtime to Spartak — . The major players who helped CSKA’s incredible performance were the dynamic duo of Nikita Siniken and Roman Andreev. Siniken used stellar hockey sense and puck-handling skills en route to putting up 76 goals and 169 points. Andreev managed to record 98 goals and 165 points. Odds were one of these two were tasked with getting the job done if a big play was needed.

2011: Toronto Jr. Canadiens (53-8-3)

One of two teams from the Jr. Canadiens program to finish atop the World Rankings, the ‘11 squad for Toronto hit the ground running this season. Thrown into heavy competition early at the Toronto Marlboros Friendship, JRC collected its first trophy of the season with a tournament win. Shortly after, a perfect 6-0-0 weekend saw Toronto take gold at the CCM Motown. The team once more made it to another tournament final, this time at the International Silver Stick tournament. However, a solid run of championship success ended when they became runners up after a 4-2 loss to the Mid-Fairfield Jr. Rangers. The club added to their trophy case when they nabbed a title at the Vaughan Kings Classic by defeating Little Caesars 6-2. 

Be sure to check out the complete world rankings, including Top 10s by country and World Top 25s for each of the 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011 birth years.

Alberta South wins event loaded with top ‘09 players from Western Canada

Some of the best 2009-born players in Western Canada took part in DraftDay’s annual All-Star Prospects Showcase in Alberta this weekend. The competitive event serves as an opportunity for athletes to show off their skills during an important time in their youth hockey careers. Players from the 2009 birth year are just 12 months away from potentially being selected in the WHL Bantam Draft. The All-Star Prospects Showcase has served as a launching point for many, including 94 participants from last year’s event. 

The 2023 class of participants at the showcase proved to be loaded with top talent as well. One player to make a significant impact was Mirco Dufour. He along with Matthew Hilderman and Brock England, formed a power trio that helped Alberta South to a first place finish. Hilderman led all skaters with 11 goals, followed closely by England’s nine. The two were strong finishers who were often the recipients of Dufour’s incredible play-making ability. Dufour topped all skaters with 21 points in six showcase games. 

Hilderman and Dufour’s chemistry leads to championship

After suffering a 3-1 loss to Saskatchewan in its opening game, Alberta South rattled off four consecutive wins to reach the championship game. It was an opportunity to exact some revenge on the very team who handed them that loss just a few days prior. Alberta took a 1-0 lead into the first intermission thanks to a goal from Nathan Cole. Once the second frame began, Dufour and Adam Halat each found the back of the net in just over two minutes. Before the period was over, Sam Failler made it a 3-1 game. 

Saskatchewan tied the game with two goals in seven seconds at the start of the final period. The teams would continue to trade goals until the end of the third, where things ended tied at five. In overtime, Hilderman secured the victory for Alberta when he once again took a perfect pass from Dufour and sent it into the net. Dufour and Hilderman had a hand in Alberta’s final three goals of the game. Dufour alone either scored or assisted on four of the team’s six total goals. 

Offense from Chorney and Stroeder not enough for Saskatchewan

Prior to their appearance in the championship game, no other team had been able to defeat Saskatchewan in five contests. A large portion of their high-powered offense was supplied by Blake Chorney and Kayden Stroeder. Chorney finished fourth in overall scoring with eight goals and 13 points. Stroeder ended up in a tie for fifth with Manitoba’s Tyden Lafournaise and Asher Gingras. Each player collected nine points. Both Chorney and Stroeder recorded hat tricks as well. Stroeder managed the feat in a 8-4 semifinal win over 2009 BC

Piling up points from the blue line

Alberta South and Saskatchewan had plenty of forwards with a knack for finding the scoresheet. But what helped the two sides reach the championship game were formidable attacks aided by offensively-gifted defensemen as well. Saskatchewan’s Calder Hamilton and Alberta’s Aden Bouchard finished tied for first among all defenders with seven points apiece. Bouchard’s biggest moment came in a semifinal battle with Manitoba. With the score deadlocked at 5-5 in the third period, Bouchard managed to put a shot through traffic into the net to break the tie. The goal would go on to serve as the game-winner, and was Bouchard’s only of the showcase. 

Next weekend, DraftDay heads to the other side of the country for a similar showcase that will be held for top Ontario prospects. The All-Star Prospects Showcase is an exclusive invite-only event and will have All-Star and prospects teams, Under Armour apparel, and both on-ice and off-ice combines. The Ontario event will also feature ‘08 and ‘09 age groups with 10 teams in each division.

Want more highlights and information about future events like the All-Star Prospect Showcase? Follow WHH on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, Discord and YouTube for the latest news, updates and more!

Club breaks Lokomotiv’s undefeated streak to win title

On Thursday, SKA Strelna’s improbable run to the U17 Russian National Championship ended in victory with a 6-2 win over Lokomotiv 2004 Yaroslavl. The win snapped an undefeated tournament run for Lokomotiv, who entered the finale as winners of its last six. Ten teams originally set out for the title and were divided into two groups of five. our of those teams were mainstays in the World Rankings

Heading into the national championship game, no other team had looked as good as Lokomotiv. They had outscored opponents 28-7, with two shutouts and had four of the top 10 scorers in the tournament. The offense was producing, the defense was holding teams to little zone time, and the goaltenders were making timely saves. That is, however, until Strelna met them in the championship game. 

Strelna got out to a fast start when Kirill Potapov scored 44 seconds after puck drop. He collected a turnover from Egor Surin and sent a perfectly placed shot over the right shoulder of Semyon Konopsky. That lead would be doubled around the 10-minute mark when Georgy Tatulov sent a shot from the right circle over Konopsky’s glove following a face-off win. 

After a late push back from Lokomotiv, Strelna was able to put the game away with a pair of late goals, securing the 6-2 win and ‘06 national championship.

Late-game heroics from Makar Opolinsky 

Strelna had a tough task right out of the gate, clashing with CSKA Moscow in its first game. Forty seconds after falling into a 3-1 deficit early in the third period, Strelna cashed in to make it a one-goal game. With just over five minutes remaining in regulation, Artem Valuev collected his second point of the game to tie things up at 3-3. No winner was decided in overtime, thus leading to a shootout. Makar Opolinsky played hero for Strelna by scoring the only goal in the skills competition to secure the win. It was his first game-winner of the tournament, but would not be his last as the tournament wore on.

In the second game, Strelna found itself sitting on 2-0 lead over Siberia in the third period. However, goals from Egor Golovnev minutes apart evened the score and forced overtime yet again. Three minutes into the extra period Egor Kosachev tallied the winning goal for Siberia.

After splitting their next two games of pool play, SKA Strelna entered the playoffs 2-2-0 as the No. 3 team out of Group B.

Strelna, CSKA Clash in playoff rematch

Stepan Tarasenko notched his first goal of the tournament when he opened the scoring against Ak Bars seven minutes into the first period. Oleg Kuznetsov scored the only other goal in regulation during the second period to tie it at 2-2. Strelna once again found itself preparing for a third overtime game. Despite numerous chances for both sides, no player could find the back of the net. With action headed to a shootout, Opolinsky showed off his skill yet again by scoring the only goal; his second of the tournament. 

The victory set up a rematch with CSKA, and Strelna wasted no time in breaking the ice. Evgeny Novikov, Ivan Kornilov and Artem Valuev propelled Strelna out to a commanding 3-0 lead. Strong defense and goaltending from Mikhail Korotkov held Moscow off the board until late in the game. Nikita Frolov, one of the most dynamic scorers of the birth year, netted two goals 43 seconds apart. With renewed hope and momentum, CSKA threw everything they had at Strelna, but their opponent held firm. By way of a 3-2 win, Strelna’s spot in the championship game was set. 

Lokomotiv’s perfect run comes to an end

Four of the top 10 scorers in the tournament hailed from Lokomotiv, with Egor Surin leading them all. In six games, he had seven goals and 14 points. Not only had Lokomotiv been the only undefeated team in the tournament, they hadn’t lost a game since March 26th. Their 13-game win streak would come to an end at the hands of Strelna in the championship though. 

Strelna’s early 2-0 lead was cut into by Surin seven minutes into the second period. Team captain Artem Valuev was quick to restore the two-goal lead, cashing in on a power-play opportunity just a few minutes later. Evgeny Novikov increased the lead to 4-1 and Strelna firmly in control, cruised to a national championship victory. 

Ranked as high as fourth in the world among 2006-born teams this season, Strelna’s championship caps off a 36-10-0 record. They entered the national championship after taking first place in the St. Petersburg District. Opolinsky, Novikov and Tarasenko all eclipsed the 40-point mark this season, with five more players averaging a point per game as well. It is also back-to-back national championships for Strelna, as the ‘06 squad won the U16 tournament last year.

Want more coverage of Russia and its top youth hockey players and teams? Follow WHH on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, Discord and YouTube for the latest news, updates and more!

Eight teams vying for gold at annual tournament

This week, eight teams will travel to Stockholm, Sweden for the 15U AAA World Selects Trophy. The annual tournament is an opportunity for teams to compete nationally among fellow players of their birth year. Czech Knights, Astana HC, Slovenia Selects, TPH Selects, DevCo Hockey, Finland SHD, Sweden SHD Yellow and Sweden SHD Blue will be the participating clubs. The top six squads will qualify for the playoff round, with the top two seeds securing automatic spots in the semifinals.

Sweden spreading the wealth

Of the players making up the rosters of Sweden SHD Blue and Yellow, five of the top Swedish ‘08 WHH-ranked programs will have numerous players represented. Nacka HK and Södertälje SK will have the most representatives with five each. Mikail Kim was a standout winger at the Uplandia Trophy back in April for Nacka. He will suit up for SHD Blue. Defenseman Arvid Ermeskog will join him as a crucial part of the team’s defensive unit. All five skaters from Södertälje will be on SHD Blue as well. Christian Furuvik’s heroics at the Folke Filbyter Cup helped Södertälje win gold. The team hopes he still has some of that magic left for this run. 

Four players from Boo HC will lace up the skates for SHD Yellow. The trio of Viggo Fors, Lukas Svensson and Alexander Engman will be a hassle for any opponent. All three lit up the scoresheet at the Folke Lindström Cup, helping Boo to a championship. Defender Gustav Révay will be the fourth player from their group. Some of AIK Hockey’s top producers will be joining SHD Yellow as well. Defensemen Henry Nicolaysen and Sixten Zakrisson will bolster the blue line. Viggo Låhdö’s offensive skill will be a big boost to the roster’s forward selections. Låhdö and Nicolaysen finished as the top two point scorers for AIK at the Folke Lindström Cup and helped the team nab a second-place finish. Flemingsbergs IK rounds out the world-ranked portion of players with the addition of Salim Ismailov to SHD Yellow. 

Best odds for success

Given the immense talent divided among both Sweden teams, it would not be surprising to find one of them as the last team standing once the dust settles. Their preliminary round schedules are fairly similar and each has a matchup with the Czech Knights. The Knights went unbeaten in pool play last year and have already won championships at other World Selects events this year. They are a program that knows how to produce talent to win at these types of showcases. The Knights stand as the biggest obstacle in the way of any Sweden success. Time will tell if they will face off against one another in the playoffs. Should that happen, it will be a thrilling 40 minutes of hockey. 

Want more coverage of the 2023 World Selects Invitationals? Visit our WSI Hub or follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, Discord and YouTube for the latest WSI news and announcements!

Become first program to hold titles at multiple age groups in same season since 2011

The 2009 and 2010-born teams for the Czech Knights accomplished what no other program has been able to do in more than a decade. Both squads secured championships at the 14U and 13U World Selects Invitationals over the weekend. The last organization to do so was CSKA Moscow in 2011, who won the 15U, 13U and 12U tournaments in the same season. 

For the ‘09 Knights, it was the first WSI title for the program at the 14U age level. The ‘10s won the club’s second 13U championship.. 

Pešout, Uhel backstop ‘09 Czechs to victory

Simon Pešout and Tomáš Uhel were sensational between the pipes for the Knights. Each goaltender saw action in three playoff contests, with Uhel getting the start twice. In the team’s first matchup against Barys, Uhel turned aside all 14 shots he faced. Defenseman Lukáš Kachlíř, who emerged as a dependable source of production, opened the scoring in the first period. He later added a power-play goal in the second period en route to a 4-0 win. Next up was Pešout’s turn in net, where he also recorded a 14-save shutout of the Eastern U.S. Selects. Kachlíř once again struck on the power play, recording his third and final goal of the playoffs. Pro Hockey’s Noah Laus and Eloan le Gallic would finish tied for first with Kachlíř in playoff goal scoring with three each. The stage was set for a championship matchup between the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds. 

In the rematch against Pro Hockey, Uhel was back in the crease. It would be his busiest game of the playoff round, as Pro Hockey put 33 shots on goal. After a scoreless opening frame where Pro Hockey outshot the Knights 18-13, both sides broke through in the second. le Gallic helped Pro Hockey build a 2-0 lead  just under three minutes into the period when he scored the first goal and assisted on another. However, like in its preliminary-round loss to the Knights, Pro Hockey was unable to hold onto the lead. In a span of about 11 minutes, the Czechs scored four times to lock down the win. 

Jonáš Vaníček got on the board for the Knights shortly after the club went down 2-0. Oliver Ozogany then tied things up with a penalty shot goal. Eliáš Matoušek joined in the action with two goals in 1:34, including an empty-net goal to finish the game. Uhel made 15 saves in the second period, finishing with 31. Throughout all appearances, he recorded a 0.89 goals-against average and .959 save percentage. Pešout skated to a 2.29 goals-against average and .884 save percentage. 

Novak leads ‘10 Knights’ unstoppable offense

The Knights kicked off their playoff run with a 8-0 statement win against DraftDay. The offense was spread throughout the lineup, as six players recorded two or more points. They also cashed in on three out of four power-play opportunities. Nicolas Novak scored a goal and assist for his first points of the playoffs. Novak was back at it in the second game, this time against Eastern U.S. Selects. The Czechs faced a 1-0 deficit after the first period, but Novak would swing momentum back in their favor early in the second. After Novak’s tying goal just 47 seconds into the period, the Knights went on to score four more unanswered goals. After the 5-1 win, awaiting the Knights were Slovakia Selects with the WSI championship on the line. 

It was a quick start for the Knights when they built up a 4-0 lead heading into the first intermission. Novak once again got the scoring started and Denis Dobiáš tallied the final two goals of the period. Novak continued the offensive outburst when he wired home his fourth goal and final point of the playoffs early in the final period. In total, Novak scored four goals and two assists in the playoff run. Coupled with his preliminary-round performance, Novak ended with seven goals and 12 points across all contests. 

Want more coverage of the 2023 World Selects Invitationals? Visit our WSI Hub or follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, Discord and YouTube for the latest WSI news and announcements!