The Jr. Predators Tier I Host Weekend is a USA Hockey sanctioned Tier-I tournament located in Nashville, Tennessee. The tournament will take place on November 11-14, 2022, and will include boys 14U through 11U AAA and girls 12U AA divisions, live scoring and updates on the mobile app, as well as on-site vendors and tournament apparel at both rinks. Enjoy exploring what the Music City has to offer as rinks are 10-20 minutes from downtown Nashville.
Commonly known as the Music City, Nashville is home to country music, the Grand Ole Opry House, Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum as well as dozens of honky-tonks and bars loaded with live music. Located on the Cumberland River, the city provides a southern charm, ringing in as the 23rd most populous city in the United States. A Proud sports city with professional football and hockey teams, and two major universities in Vanderbilt and Belmont.
Satisfy curiosity and learn new things at the Nashville Adventure Science Center.
Get perfectly-fried Nashville Hot Chicken and soulful sides at Hattie B’s Hot Chicken.
Play duckpin bowling, pinball, plenty of retro arcade games and more at 16-Bit.
Indulge in decadent chocolate tastings at the Goo Goo Clusters Factory.
This is a stay-to-play event, meaning that all participants traveling more than 100 miles to participate in the event are required to stay in hotel rooms provided by Welcome Travel Services.
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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.
Our community mailbag is full of amazing stories, but this one we had to share. 14-year-old Martin saw a problem when it came to the fit of his hockey equipment and set out to solve it. Enter “Duzter,” the cut resistant base layer for youth players!
You’re going to want to listen close to Martin’s story and then sprint to his social media accounts to stay up to date on all things Duzter Hockey.
Want more from the Our Kids Play Hockey podcast and other publications from the world of youth hockey? Explore our Podcast Central for the latest episodes on hot topics from the game and follow WHH on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok and YouTube for more!
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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BY & Motts are here to open up the mailbag and answer all of your questions this week! But first, the guys get into some NHL playoff talk and recap the latest #MottsMoment and his weekend at the NHL Network. Then a local legend being up for some well deserved hardware and who would win in a five round shoot out LeBron or Tom Brady? Following that the boys dive into the mailbag and give their feedback on:
Tournament rules resulting in games being on time
Hockey names for puppies
Attending hockey academies
Fighting through anxiety on the ice
The My Hockey Rankings Question of the Week!
BY & Motts wrap up this week’s episode pumping up the Connor Crushes Cancer event which happens June 9th at Florian Hall and the guys provide more details about The Rink Shrinks street hockey tournament which will be taking place this August! Stay tuned for more details.
Want more from the Rink Shrinks podcast and other publications from the world of youth hockey? Explore our Podcast Central for the latest episodes on hot topics from the game and follow WHH on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok and YouTube for more!