Elite Tournament Gets Underway With A Barrage Of Close Games

NASHVILLE — The 12th annual World Selects Trophy kicked off on Monday from the Ford Ice Center. It was a return to the rink after a one-year hiatus for the perennial spring tournament series. Like many events, the WST experienced a pause in action in 2020 thanks to COVID-19. Also like many events recently, it returned to the spotlight, ready for prime time in the Music City with 20 of the best 2006-born teams from around the world.

A slate of 64 games began with an 8:30 a.m. tilt between NSHDA Midwest Elite and NorthStar Elite-Minnesota. That ignited a continuous cycle of games on Rink 1 and Rink 2 at the Bellevue location that’ll culminate with the championship game on Friday afternoon.

Of the 10 games on Monday, eight of the 10 games were decided by two goals or fewer, with three of those needing a shootout to determine a winner. The day’s festivities concluded with a remarkable opening ceremony, filled with a live band on the ice, player introductions, video presentations and light shows as teams entered the playing surface. Parents and spectators enjoyed food and cocktails on the concourse of the Ford Ice Center, overlooking the energy in the rink below.

Nash County Band performs at center ice at the 2021 World Selects Trophy opening ceremonies to a packed Ford Ice Center Crowd.

As Nash County Band performed at center ice, captains from each of the participating teams were recognized in front of a packed crowd. Then, emcee Cam McGuire, broadcasting voice of the Worcester Railers, officially announced the tournament was underway and the featured game of the evening could take place between DraftDay-Black and All-American Prospects.

Some early standouts after Day One include dominant individual performances, offensive outings and stellar play in net. First, a 6-2 victory by NXT Level Hockey, where Dillon Rud recorded a hat trick and teammate Camerin Cardona added a three-point performance of his own. The duo from NXT is tied for the lead in points after Day One. Then, in the featured game, Ben Miller scored four of DraftDay-Black’s seven goals; he currently leads the tournament in points after the first round of games.

Goaltender Aidan Rasmussen defends the DH Blizzard net in a game at the 2021 World Selects Trophy in Nashville.

Other notable performances include a 24-save shutout by Aidan Rasmussen, who backstopped his DHI Blizzard squad to a 2-0 win over Exposure Hockey. DHI is the only team so far to keep its opponent off the scoreboard.

Abzel Alibek from Kazakhstan also produced a four-goal game in his tournament debut for Barys. He scored three first-period goals and added another in the second to help his team defeat TPH Selects 6-4. 

Games continue on Tuesday with 20 matchups on the docket. WHH will have continued coverage of the event including photos, highlights, player interviews and more. Be sure to connect with us on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and YouTube for more!