Packed Tournament Weekend marks the start of youth hockey season in Sweden

It was a busy weekend in Sweden with a variety of tournaments signaling the start of the 2022-23 season. This collection of games across varying tournaments allowed those from 2008, 2009 and 2010 birth years to showcase their talent. From upsets to big finishes, see all the highlights from the tournaments below.

Nacka HK Victorious in Early Tournament
Undefeated at Sweden Hockey Trophy

The Sweden Hockey Trophy was held last weekend for the 2008 birth year, with Nacka HK standing atop the rankings by the end of the weekend. The champions went undefeated through the entire tournament, and sliced through the playoffs, besting Astana HC and Linden Hockey by a combined score of 9-1.

Heading into the elimination rounds, the stage was set for a rematch with Linden, whose only loss in the tournament came to Nacka in the preliminary rounds in a tight 4-3 game, the day before.

However, Linden’s offense dried up in the title game on Sunday, with Nacka snagging a shutout victory 4-0, led largely in part to dual two-point performances by Sam Tillström (2G) and Oliver Sundberg (2A). Tillström tallied three points (2G, 1A) in the team’s five games heading into the playoff round, but really turned it on in the group playoff stage, where his four points (3G, 1A) and Sundberg’s three assists over two games paved the way for Nacka to secure the title.

Nacka also managed to hold Linden to just eight shots on net in the two-period, 40-minute championship game.

Despite the loss in the championship game, Linden managed to gather the second-best record at the tournament, going 4-1 in their five games before the group playoff brackets. Leo Gürler and Melker Juhlin Ulvhag tallied nine points (6G, 3A) and seven points (4G, 3A) respectively, to lead Linden to the playoff round. Gürler would add three more points in two playoff games, trailing only Alfred Lagerberg’s five-point total (3G,2A).

In the bronze medal game, Astana HC defeated Boo HC in a close 5-4 affair. After Astana jumped out to a 2-0 lead, Boo stormed back with two goals in 41 seconds from Viggo Fors and Gustaf Revay to tie things up to end the first period.

Nikita Gridassov would put Astana back up by one just five minutes into the second period, but Boo would again knot things up just over a minute later thanks to Hugo Mikaelsson’s tally. And just a little more than a minute after that, Ollie Andersson would put Boo ahead 4-3 with a goal of his own.

Egor Panych would even the score 4-4 and just about two minutes following that, Roman Michurov would put Astana up 5-4 towards the middle of the second period with what would stand as the eventual game-winning goal.

Overall, Arvid Ermeskog would lead all players in the tournament with 12 points in five games (7G, 5A), with Flemingbergs IK’s Salim Ismailov tallying the most goals with seven. Astana’s Rakhymbek Rakhymzhan, was statistically the best netminder between the pipes, leading all goalies in wins (4), save percentage (.966) and goals against average (0.92).

Brinkins IF Unbeaten at Farsta Games
Tops group A with four wins, two ties

The Farsta Games for the 2009 birth year took place last weekend as well, with Brinkins IF topping the table of the seven teams in Group A. Each club played one game against each team in the group to determine final standings.

Across six games, Brinkins would end tournament play with a 4-0-2 record. One of those ties was against the second-best team of the weekend, AIK Hockey, who ended their run with a 4-1-1 record. Just behind them, the only other team to record four wins at the tournament was Huddinge Hockey, who skated to a 4-0-2 record.

Viggo Malmin (11G) and Leonard Torgner (4G,7A), both forwards for Brinkins, tied for most points with 11. Just behind them was Lucas Törngren, who tallied 10 points (6G,4A) for Huddinge.

Topping the stats column for AIK were Anton Persson and Joel Johnsson, who both recorded five goals and four assists for nine points. Altogether, Brinkins had 10 skaters from a points perspective in the top 10, showcasing their depth en route to a first-place finish.

Täby HC Tops Table at Söderström Cup
Undefeated in group play, earns Gold in high-scoring thriller

Those in Sweden within the 2010 birth year took part in the Tommy Söderström Cup this past weekend. Eight teams were split into two groups of four for a round-robin schedule. Following that, clubs faced a single-elimination, four-team playoff rounds.

Värmdö Hockey and Täby HC topped the Group A standings with equal 2-0-1 records, with one tie coming against each other. Trånsgunds IF would top the Group B table, going 3-0-0 with a high-powered offense that found the back of the net 30 times over their three games.

Yet, the offense for Trånsgunds would dry up in the semifinal round, as eventual gold medal winners Täby bested them 3-2 in overtime to kick off the playoff rounds.

Trånsgunds would have a chance for a medal as they took to the ice against SDE in the bronze medal game. It would also require overtime, though, with Helge Anund finding the back of the net at 2:04 of the extra frame to secure the victory for Trånsgunds.

Täby found themselves in the title game against fellow Group A club Värmdö. With both these teams sitting atop their group, it came as no surprise that the gold medal game was a thrilling display of offensive skill, with Taby coming out on top 8-6.

Leading the way for Täby were forwards Gustav Jacobsson (2G, 1A) and Felix Ragneborn (2G), who propelled the squad to an early 3-1 lead. After Charles Wikström got one back for Värmdö to make it a 4-2 game, Täby would pot four goals in just over four minutes to take a commanding 8-2 lead.

Not done yet, Alexander Myrentorp tallied a natural hat trick in just under six minutes to bring the score to 8-5 around 12 minutes into the second period. Charlie Ebberyd would add a late tally to close the gap to 8-6 but the hole was too deep for Värmdö to fully mount a comeback.

Group Winners Decided at Kronwall Cup
Medals awarded to clubs from each group

Teams at the Kronwall Cup for the 2010 birth year were split into two groups of four teams. Clubs took part in a round-robin schedule against their group, followed by a playoff round and then group finals.

All four of the clubs in Group A medaled at the tournament, with two from Group B receiving hardware as well. Nacka HK skated to a gold medal in the Group A final against Saltsjöbaden Hockey, while Segeltorps Idrottsförening garnered gold in the Group B final against Järfälla HC Röd.

The Group A bronze medal went to Järfälla HC Vit, and Balsta Hockey skated to bronze in the Group B final over Tyresö Hanviken.

While Saltsjöbaden fell short in their gold medal match, they were proud to have the top-three players in points come from their squad. Tiel Lindqvist (7G, 6A), Charlie Jacobson (7G, 3A) and Eliot Deltin (5G,4A). Jacobson found the back of the net twice in the gold medal game and Lindqvist added an assist.

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Two teams to watch coming out of opening weekend of the USA Hockey season

The AAA Kickoff Classic was the first big tournament of the fall in the United States, and in the process it provided an early look at some teams to watch for this season.

While the 15U, 16U and 18U divisions were showcase-style events with no true playoff structure, the 14U division featured a round-robin preliminary round before semifinal and championship contests, allowing Seacoast Performance Academy to flex some muscle at the 2008 birth year.

The SPA crew finished 5-1-1 over the course of the four-day event, leaving Grand Rapids, Mich., with a tournament title before the calendar flips to September.

In the championship game, the Spartans and Team Wisconsin both scored three goals apiece in the opening frame, but in the final two periods, SPA took control, and eventually won 6-3.

It was a big victory for SPA in terms of winning the AAA Kickoff Classic title, but also because they avenged their only loss in the early-season tournament. The Spartans started things off with a 3-2 nail-biting loss to the same Team Wisconsin club, ending up on the wrong end of a three-goal third period between the two clubs.

That was the only time they would lose in Grand Rapids, however, as Seacoast rebounded with a 7-1 thumping of Team Illinois Friday morning. In their second Friday tilt, SPA played one of the two clubs from Czechia, battling the Pilsen Wolves to a 5-5 tie.

On Saturday, SPA won their two contests by scoring five goals in each – first they beat Chicago Fury 5-2, before taking care of the Nashville Jr. Predators 5-1 later in the day.

In the first of two playoff games on Sunday, SPA took on the other Czech club, and HC Trinec dragged them all the way to a shootout. The Spartans prevailed in the shootout session, leaving with a 2-1 final on the scoreboard and a rematch with Team Wisconsin at 2 p.m.

In the title contest, Timothy Kazda wasn’t about to let SPA fall to Team Wisconsin again. A native of Slovakia, Kazda was dominant in the final, scoring a hat trick in the first period alone, and finishing with five goals in the 6-3 win.

That five-goal outing put Kazda in first place in scoring for both the 14U division and the Kickoff Classic field across all age groups. He finished with 12 goals and 13 total points. Aside from Kazda, SPA had well-balanced scoring throughout the tournament, as Jackson Smail had six points, while Daniel Trucka, Rockland Babcock, Hunter Chadbourne and Garrit Turcotte all had five. 

Kamden Jackson and Filip Vavro took care of business between the pipes for SPA, both appearing in four contests apiece.

Team Wisconsin had plenty of firepower throughout the tournament, as well, as the next three spots in the 14U scoring race went to members of the second-place squad. Mack Diggins had 11 total points, while Grant Molski and Owen Porter both had nine.

Team Wisconsin 16U makes early statement

They didn’t play in as many games as the 14U division, but the 16U Team Wisconsin made their own early-season statement in Grand Rapids.

After making the trek across (or probably around) Lake Michigan, Team Wisconsin played to a perfect 3-0-0 record in the showcase-style event.

None of their games were decided by more than two goals, showing that TW can go up against top competition and hold their own when things get tense. 

On Friday, they took down SPA 3-1. Caden Feinstein scored in the first, Dylan Bryne scored in the second, and Will McDonald wrapped things up in the third.

Saturday, they took care of Team Minnesota, a collection of high school players from the ‘State of Hockey.’ Bryne’s third-period goal turned out to be the difference in that one; Riley Boyle and James Flanigan also scored for TW.

To wrap things up, they went toe-to-toe with Little Caesars in a Sunday afternoon affair, taking on a team that was a national title contender last season. All three goals in the contest were scored in the third period; TW scored twice, while LC only scored one. Quinn Smith and Jackson Hoem had the goals in a 2-1 win, as TW picked up a statement win early in the year.

Smith ended up leading TW in scoring with five points in the three games, while three players — Bryne, Vincent Greene and Joseph Coghlin — had two points apiece. 

Rowan White started two games, finishing with a .938 save percentage and 1.00 goals-against average. Devin Rustlie played in one game, allowing two goals and registering a .913 save percentage. 

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Top American youth hockey teams begin ’22-23 season with showcase in Michigan

It’s the first big tournament of the 2022-23 schedule, which means one thing — hockey season is officially here. The 2022 AAA Kickoff Classic is back for its second year, bringing together talent from across the country — and the globe — to Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Played across the 14U, 15O, 16U and 18U age groups, the early-season event kicks off today at the Southside Ice Arena and Kentwood Ice Arena on the west side of the Great Lakes State. 

Let’s take a look at the competition for each of the divisions:

14U AAA

Eight teams are coming to Grand Rapids for the 14U age group, as the 2008 birth year begins play in its first nationals-bound season. The first game of the age group, however, features one of the teams that won’t be competing for a USA Hockey national title — HC Trinec of Czech Republic. HC Trinec, which will play the Nashville Jr. Predators to kick things off at 3 p.m. EST, is joined by the Pilsen Wolves, as two 14U teams from Czechia are making the pilgrimage to Grand Rapids. 

Joining those three squads in the eight-team field are the Chicago Fury, Team Wisconsin, Seacoast Performance Academy, Team Illinois and Fox Motors, Southside Ice Arena’s primary tenant.

The 4:35 time slot at Kentwood will be a good one; the matchup between SPA and Team Wisconsin will certainly be one to keep an eye on. Last year, TW finished as the No. 8-ranked team in the country on our World Hockey Hub rankings, while SPA checked in at No. 19 on MyHockeyRankings. Rosters change every fall, but when those two squads clash, it will be a good matchup of Top-20 teams in the country.

15O AAA

The 15-Only age group features six teams competing from the 2007 birth-year. Team Minnesota and Michigan Hockey Advancement bring high school talent from two hockey powerhouse states together for the tournament. SPA brings its ’07 group, Fox Motors is in, and the Pittsburgh Predators and the Nashville Jr. Preds battle for the title of best Preds squad in the age group. It may just be six teams, but it’s going to be a fun weekend of hockey in the age group.

On Saturday, MHA and Team Minnesota battle it out; that’s definitely one to tune in for.

16U AAA

In the 16U group, we have 10 teams slated to participate. Like the younger age groups, there’s SPA, Fox Motors, the Pittsburgh Preds, Team Wisconsin, Michigan Hockey Advancement, Team Minnesota and the Nashville Jr. Predators. To spice things up a bit, Little Caesars, the Tri-State Spartans and a Team Wisconsin Prep team also enter the ring for the 2006 birth-year bracket.

Last year, the Little Caesars ’06s finished ranked No. 5 in the country and No. 11 in the world by World Hockey Hub. The roster will look a little different this fall, like it will for most teams, as some of the players have moved on to junior hockey. Still, LC will be expected to compete for a national title again this season, and they’re one of the many teams in this group to keep an eye on.

Caesars takes on SPA on Saturday, and Team Wisconsin to round things out on Sunday. Each of those battles could provide a glimpse into our preseason rankings set to come out next month.

18U AAA

In the biggest field of any age group, 12 teams will be competing in the 18U division at the Kickoff Classic. HoneyBaked makes the drive from Metro Detroit to GR for the tournament, as does Compuware. They will be battling SPA, Fox Motors, Team Wisconsin, Chicago Fury, MHA, Tri-State Spartans, Team Minnesota, the Nashville Jr. Preds and the Pittsburgh Preds over the four-day span.

The 18U Nashville Preds and Team Wisconsin squads finished two spots apart in last year’s 18U final rankings on MyHockeyRankings — they clash on Saturday for a big early-season battle. 

Fox Motors and SPA wrap up a wild first day of hockey with an 8 p.m. puck drop Thursday night as well. 

WHH will have more coverage from the Kickoff Classic, and other major tournaments to start the 2022-23 season. Be sure to follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok and YouTube for the latest news!

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.

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Five players carry point streaks into elimination rounds

The 16U World Selects tournament got underway this week as the final — and oldest — installment of the 2022 spring season. The 2006 birth year marks the last in a series of eight boys international events that began with the 12U age group on April 26th.

Exeter, New Hampshire, hosted some of the top youth hockey prospects from the birth year, as 12 teams from four countries clashed in the six-day event that is expected to conclude on the American Memorial Day holiday. Pool play concluded on Saturday, after 15 of the 30 games were decided by two goals or fewer. 

New Hampshire Jr. Wildcats claimed the top spot in Group A with a 4-1-0 record. Their plus-18 goal differential was the highest in the tournament through pool play. Max Dineen currently leads the Jr. Wildcats — and the field of players — in scoring with 11 points. 

TPH Selects earned the No. 1 bid out of Group B, as the only undefeated team in the tournament thus far. A 5-0-0 record with one of them coming by way of a shootout makes TPH the top seed overall for the elimination rounds with 14 of a possible 15 total points in the standings.

European-based Czech Selects wrapped up pool play with a 3-2-0 record to finish third in Group A. Forwards Dominik Halacka, Lukas Kollar and Tristan Konobelj combined to score nine of the Czechs’ 19 goals so far. 

Fellow Europeans Sweden Selects have not been as fortunate with a 1-4-0 record. Despite finishing in the top half of the tournament in scoring, the Swedes find themselves near the bottom of the standings with three totals points. Defenseman Emil Stadin out of Frölunda HC has eight assists, and a point in four out of five games for Sweden Selects.

RSG Selects forward Niko Tournas has a goal in all five tournament games so far, including a hat trick in the team’s 8-5 win over Sweden Selects. He currently leads all scorers with eight goals. Tournas’ hat trick is one-of-five on the weekend so far; he joins Milo Andersson, Luke Delaney, Kirill Evstigneev and Nick Rockey as the only ones to strike three times in a single game.

Five players enter the elimination rounds on five-game point streaks. Halacka, Tournas, Michael Barron, Cam Springer and Dominik Halacka have recorded a point in every game thus far. 

Goaltender Chris Dakers has stopped 46-of-49 shots on goal for the Jr. Wildcats. He’s tied with Bloodline Hockey’s Marko Vucemilovich for the highest save percentage in the tournament with a .939 in pool play. Owen Lepak has won all five games in net for TPH Selects, and his 1.57 goals-against average is only outdone by New Hampshire’s duo of Dakers and Camden Moran

Elimination rounds are slated to begin Sunday morning with the tournament championship scheduled for 10 a.m. EST. World Hockey Hub will have continued coverage of the World Selects tournament series, so be sure to follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok and YouTube for more!

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15U Finale Comes Down To A Border Battle At World Selects

The 13th annual 15U World Selects International Trophy concluded on Sunday with one of the best rivalries in hockey. The International Stars — with a heavy contingent of players from across the United States — squared off against Pro Hockey, whose roster consisted of representatives from six different Canadian provinces and territories.

In a game that featured a wealth of soon-to-be CHL Draft Picks, USHL selections, Division-I commits and NHL superstars, it was Pro Hockey that came away with the 2-1 win over International Stars at the Ford Ice Center in Nashville.

Near the halfway mark of the first period, defenseman Reese Hamilton fired a wrist shot past goaltender Joey Slavick to put Pro Hockey on the board first. Forwards Ryan Roobroeck and Gavin McKenna helped set up the strike by Hamilton, as the duo finished first and second in the tournament in scoring; Roobroeck with 28 points and McKenna with 21.

Less than two minutes later, Hayden Harsanyi tapped in a goal from the weak side after Liam Kilfoil found him with a back-door pass. Just like that, the Canadians were up 2-0 and in control of the contest.

The Stars wouldn’t go down without a fight, though. Despite going into the half trailing by two goals, forwards Evan Jardine, Cullen Potter and John Mooney led a charge to get back into the contest. Five minutes into the second half, Alex Baughman hit a streaking Will Horcoff who came flying into the high slot. Horcoff gripped and ripped a wrist shot past goaltender Owen Butler’s blocker and into the net, putting the Stars on the board and cutting the deficit in half.

Over the next 15 minutes, the Stars swarmed the Pro Hockey net, outshooting the Canadians 17-3 in the second half. Butler came up big for the boys in blue, though, frustrating American shooters as he had done all tournament long. In five games, he stopped 92-of-95 shots and won all five starts, including the championship game. The strong second-half push from the Americans would be denied though, as Butler and Pro Hockey held on to the 2-1 gold medal victory. 

It is Pro Hockey’s fourth World Selects Invitational championship all-time, and first ever at the 15U age group. In 2019, this ‘07 group won the 12U Elite tournament in Bolzano, Italy, making five members on the current squad — Roobroeck, McKenna, Shayne Gould, Will Sharpe and Jayden Connors — two-time WSI champions. 

Ryan Roobroeck (left) celebrates with Callum Mainville (right) and Gavin McKenna (front).

Roobroeck’s Record-Breaking Run

The World Selects Invitational series has seen more than 300 future NHL superstars come through its tournament doors over the last two decades. Names like Alexander Barkov, Mikko Rantanen, Mitch Marner, Trevor Zegras and Adam Fox have littered the scoring leaderboard in years past. No player at the 15U level has ever amassed the numbers Roobroeck reached this past week in Nashville though.

The 6-foot-2 power forward led all scorers with 28 points, surpassing Jesse Puljujarvi’s single-tournament mark of 21 points in 2013. Roobroeck also joins Zack Stringer (69), Matthew Savoie (58), Jack Devine (57), Ilya Ivantsov (55) and Connor Bedard (53) as the only players in tournament history to reach the 50-point plateau. In 2019, Roobroeck led the 12U Elite event in scoring as well with 22 points. His 50 total points puts him sixth all-time in tournament scoring. 

Pro Hockey’s Perfect Run

Appearing in the World Selects tournaments more than 50 times in the past 10 years, Pro Hockey has fielded both boys and girls teams across all age levels. The ‘07 team in Nashville dominated pool play, going 5-0-0 and out-scoring its opponent 43-4. Twelve different skaters recorded multiple goals, with Roobroeck, McKenna and Callum Mainville finishing one, two and three in scoring. 

That earned them the No. 1 overall seed in the playoffs and a first-round bye. Pro Hockey made quick work of TPH Selects in the round of 16 and Alps Selects in the quarterfinals before taking on the 12-seed and defending champion DraftDay-Black. Jordan Switzer pitched the team’s fourth shutout of the tournament, with Roobroeck, Kilfoil, Harsanyi, Savin Virk and Kieran Riley tallying a goal apiece in the 5-0 win.

2007-born Pro Hockey (Canada) wins the 2022 15U World Selects Trophy in Nashville 2-1 over International Stars (USA).

A high-powered offense elevated Pro Hockey to the championship game with International Stars. However, Butler stole the show in net with a sensational effort and 28 saves to win Pro Hockey’s lowest-scoring game of the tournament.

A First Look At The Next Wave

Jakob Ihs-Wozniak led all European skaters in scoring with 12 points.

It may be the first time that Canadian prospects like Ryan Roobroeck, Gavin McKenna and Cole Reschny go head-to-head with Americans Evan Jardine, Cole McKinney and John Mooney on the ice, but it certainly won’t be the last. That’s not to mention the 100-plus other Europeans that competed in the tournament from Sweden, Finland, Czech Republic, Switzerland, Italy, France and Kazakhstan. 

Jakob Ihs-Wozinak and Anton Frondell pushed Sweden Selects into the No. 2-seed after going 5-0-0 in pool play. The Swedes scored a last-minute goal from Ruben Westerling to defeat DHI Ontario 5-4 in the second round of the playoffs. They then knocked off the Czech Knights in the quarterfinals before losing to International Stars in the semifinals. 

Czech forward Adam Novotny scored six goals in pool play — tied for third among skaters — as the Knights qualified as the No. 10-seed in the playoffs. Matyas Jonak scored two goals and an assist to defeat LivePolar Hockey 5-4, before the Czechs were eliminated in the next round. 

Alps Selects — with a roster of players from four different central European countries — finished as one-of-four teams to finish without a regulation loss during pool play. They qualified as the No. 8-seed after tiebreakers were resolved. Matey Pekar and Adam Feher both recorded multi-point games in Alps’ 4-1 win over Twin Cities Selects. In the next round, they would be eliminated by eventual champion Pro Hockey.

Whether it’s the U18 Hlinka Gretzky Cup, U20 IIHF World Juniors, the Olympics or NHL Playoffs, many of these players will certainly share the ice on an international stage again in the near future.

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The world’s best are represented with names like Roobroeck, Frondell, Jardine, Härenstam

If you stay on the World Selects Invitational landing page and watch the names rotate through, it reads like a who’s who of the biggest names in hockey.

Andrei Svechnikov, Adam Fox, Mitch Marner, Kaapo Kakko, Rasmus Dahlin, Trevor Zegras, Aaron Ekblad — no matter the type of player or the nationality, you can find whatever you’re looking for when scrolling through.

With top talent from across the globe coming to the tournament spring after spring, it has become a marquee event for the youth hockey community. It’s also great to have it back and fully operational this time around as the tournament is underway in Nashville, Tenn.

Eight different countries are taking part in this year’s 15U World Selects Trophy, as the 2007 birth-year really begins to make some noise in the hockey circles leading into their junior draft year.

One of those players certainly standing out to the scouts in attendance is Ryan Roobroeck, who has posted a remarkable 18 points in four games to jump out to the lead in the scoring race. Roobroeck, a 6-foot-2, 180-pound forward, won an Alliance Hockey league title with the London Jr. Knights in the winter season, and now he’s skating with the Pro Hockey ’07 team at World Selects.

He said it’s humbling to be included among the top players in his birth-year, but knows it doesn’t mean much in the grand scheme of his hockey career.

“Yeah, but we’re still young,” Roobroeck said. “There’s still a lot to be done, and everybody’s still learning to play and everything, so being at the top right now is nothing special, until later.”

To put his performance in perspective, Roobroeck’s taking quite the swing at the all-time points leaders totals — Jesse Puljujarvi recorded 21 in 2013, while seven players have posted 19 — most recently, USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program (USNTDP) U18 Team captain Rutger McGroarty in 2019.

Pro Hockey teammates Gavin McKenna and Callum Mainville join Roobroeck at the top of the points chart with 14 and 12, respectively, while Sweden’s Jakob Ihs-Wozniak has the most points of any European player with 10. It’s quite an adjustment for the Euros to all of a sudden be playing world-class competition in Nashville, as summarized by Sweden Selects teammate Anton Frondell, another highly-regarded ’07 prospect.

“I think the biggest difference is the rink,” said Frondell, who won a Swedish U16 national title playing with the ’06 Djurgården IF club. “In Sweden we have a bit of a bigger rink, so here it’s more physical, there are more hits, and you’re always closer to the boards. When you have the puck, you’re closer to the net, and you always have a good scoring chance. I think that’s the biggest difference.”

The players know they are skating in a must-see showcase for junior, college and professional scouts. Cole Reschny, skating with Pro Hockey after an impressive winter campaign with the Northern Alberta Xtreme of the CCSHL, acknowledged that he’s at least aware of some of the extra attention this week. However, he isn’t letting that impact his performance, as he has eight points in four games. Reschny knows how to find the back of the net; he had 92 points in 25 games with his Xtreme team this year.

“That’s in the back of my mind, but I just try to play my game, improve myself, show my skill and what I can do here,” Reschny said.

With the combination of elite talent and brand-new rosters, life can be difficult for the goaltenders, but the brave souls entering the crease at World Selects are holding their own. Troy Wright of Laytonsville, Maryland and the Philadelphia Jr. Flyers is standing on his head, as he holds a .50 goals-against average and .970 save percentage for Top Line Selects.

Owen Butler of Pro Hockey has the same goals-against, and with one shot on goal less than Wright, he’s got a .969 save percentage.

Bjorn Bronas, fresh off leading Chicago Mission to a USA Hockey national championship, has a 1.03 goals-against average and .960 save percentage. Meanwhile, Love Härenstam of Sweden is leading all the European goaltenders with a 2.00 goals-against and .958 save percentage.

The playoff bracket kicks off Friday evening. These players have spent the last several months competing for national recognition and now with the spotlight bright in the Music City, will clash for world supremacy.

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Youth hockey giant looks for playoff success in Nashville

Total Package Hockey (TPH) is among the biggest name brands in all of youth hockey. With its on-ice training, off-ice schooling with the Centers of Excellence, tournament teams and events, there are very few aspects of the sport left untouched by the organization.

Founded in 2001, TPH has impacted the landscape for more than two decades, and will make its fifth appearance at the 15U World Selects Trophy since 2016. A mainstay at the event in recent years, TPH teams have an overall record of 12-14-0 and qualified for the elimination rounds on two separate occasions. Both times, they were eliminated in the first round.

This year, the 2007-born squad will look to reach heights never reached before by TPH teams in the tournament.

The team has a heavy influence from Michigan, Illinois and the province of Ontario. A region of North America that puts a multitude of players into the field of teams across various rosters. The Compuware hockey contingent of Nino Suhy, Salvatore Viviano and Tyler Ross are three forwards who played all winter together. That trio could continue to carry that chemistry into Nashville as a go-to option offensively for TPH. 

Both goaltenders — Sam Kapotas and Gannon Hunter — should factor into the team’s success as well. Kapotas played last season with the Windy City Storm while Hunter backstopped the Sun County Panthers in Canada.

Puck drop is May 11th, and TPH Selects are one of two teams that the program enters into the field, alongside TPH Prospects. The challenge will be can either team advance past the first round of the playoffs and outperform the teams that have come before them.

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Young organization has made immediate impact on youth hockey landscape

Founded in 2018, the Topline Selects program is composed of five full-time staff members with Division-I and professional hockey backgrounds. In just four short years, it has significantly impacted youth hockey prospects like Ryan Fine, Sal Guzzo, Aram Minnetian, Drew Fortescue and Quentin Musty. Those names have gone on to represent America in the U.S. national team development program (USNTDP), play North American junior hockey and in Musty’s case, be selected as the first overall pick in the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) Draft.

Topline Selects will look to continue that path of success with the 2007 age group at the 15U World Selects Trophy in Nashville.

A pair of Cleveland BaronsNathan Bujdos and Tucker Mears — will look to lead the offense on May 11th. That duo played a significant role this winter for the Barons, combining for 43 goals and 85 points during the team’s 63-game schedule. Add in fellow forwards Jack MacFarlane and Ryan Schweitzer to round out the attack up front. If that’s not enough, defenseman Carter Amico goes north often to get involved in the offense; he led all Seacoast Performance Academy defensemen in scoring last season with 19 goals and 45 points. 

Offense may not be a problem at World Selects, but can the very diverse team of players from across North America play sound enough defensively? The roster includes players from nine different U.S. states and Canadian provinces. May 11th will be the first time this group comes together in game action, and they’ll have little time to waste when going up against the best players in youth hockey.

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Competed in The Brick and Triple Crown; Will be at WSI for the first time

In the past five years, HD Engine has competed in iconic youth hockey tournaments like The Brick Series and the Triple Crown. However, the historic 15U World Selects Trophy in Nashville had eluded the program… until now.

On May 11th, HD Engine will make its tournament debut, competing against the best 2007-born youth hockey teams in the world. It’s an age group that HD has actually had prior success, with a Super Series AAA Triple Crown championship in 2020 to its resume. 

If the team is to achieve similar results in the Music City, names like Cole Tuminaro, Sam Kapell and Kadden Soukup will certainly have to play a factor. Tuminaro was a top defenseman for the Oakland Jr. Grizzlies, while Kapell and Soukup were standout forwards for high school programs Notre Dame Academy (WI) and Anoka (MN).

Goaltender Charlie Abel is slated to play for the Florida Alliance after spending the 2021-22 season spread between Plant High School (FL), Minnesota Elite League and the Tampa Jr. Bulls. He will need to play some of his best hockey between the pipes to keep HD Engine in contention in Nashville.

World Hockey Hub will have exclusive coverage leading up to, and throughout, the 2022 15U World Selects Trophy. Be sure to follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok and YouTube for previews, updates, top prospects, highlights, interviews and more!

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