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.

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!

Playoffs set to begin on Friday, as both Czech clubs enter as undefeated top seeds

As mentioned earlier this week, the ‘09 and ‘10 World Selects Invitationals (WSI) are running concurrently in two separate European cities. While the international tournaments have been vastly different, the favorites to win both events may hail from the same club. The ‘09 Czech Knights completed pool play with a 5-0-0 record and are the top seed entering the 14U playoffs. Their ‘10 team is also 5-0-0, and they enter playoffs as the No. 1 seed as well.

The Czech Knights have proven to be a wildly successful club on the international stage. The organization has two WSI championships to its name already. They’ve also won the PeeWee Quebec in 2018 and 2020, as well as finalists in 2016 and 2019. 

The ‘10 squad won last year’s 12U tournament, and is off to an undefeated start to the 13U event this week as well. If the Knights were able to claim two WSI titles simultaneously, it would be the first time since 2011 that one club won at multiple age groups in the same season. That year, CSKA Moscow won the 15U, 13U and 12U tournaments in the same spring season. 

American Oliver McKinney leads ‘09 WSI scoring race

He played the ‘22-23 season for Chicago Mission, and now, Oliver McKinney is the front-runner to win the scoring title at the ‘09 WSI. As the top forward for Pro Hockey, McKinney has scored five goals and eight points through pool play. His performance, along with teammates Michael Tang and Tyler Lee have put Pro Hockey into the playoffs as the No. 2 seed with a 3-2-0 record. 

While the Czech Knights are undefeated, Pro Hockey may stand the best chance at knocking off the Euros in the playoffs. The two teams began the tournament on Tuesday, with the Knights pulling away with a 7-4 win. Goals from McKinney and Tang gave Pro Hockey a 3-1 lead early in the game, which is the only time the Czechs have trailed in the tournament thus far. Three goals in a four-minute span allowed the Knights to escape defeat. However, can a championship rematch net a different result? McKinney and company will certainly hope so.

The Czechs will draw Barys in the quarterfinals, while Pro Hockey faces off against Finland Selects. Should chalk prevail, a championship matchup of the Czech Knights and Pro Hockey would be the first 1-v-2 finale since top-seeded CSKA Moscow defeated No. 2 WCAN in 2019.

Balanced offensive attack from ‘10 Slovakia Selects

The highest scoring offense at the ‘10 WSI is neither the No. 1 or No. 2 seed heading into the playoffs. Three-seeded Slovakia Selects has scored a tournament-high 42 goals in five games, with the top seven point producers. Patrik Šušoliak, Dominik Bičkoš and Dominik Domonkoš are tied for the tournament lead with 12 points apiece. Teammates David Macejka and Luka Križanovič are close behind with 10 points each. Simon Sisík (nine points) and Leonard Švajda (eight) add even more scoring depth to an already deep Slovakia Selects squad.

However, a 6-4 loss to top-seeded Barys has kept the Slovaks out of a top spot in the playoffs. 

Miras Zhumabay recorded a hat trick in that game for Barys. As the team’s leading scorer, he has six goals and eight points in the tournament thus far. They’ll draw DraftDay in a quarterfinal matchup Friday morning; a team they beat 5-2 earlier in the week. A win there could set the stage for a potential Slovakia-Barys rematch on Friday evening with a trip to the championship at stake.

The ‘10 WSI has featured plenty of offense, averaging 8.1 goals per game. It hasn’t been favorable for the goalies, however, three have managed to post shutouts in the tournament thus far. None were more important than Yegor Togobitskiy’s 10-save performance for Barys. It may not have been an overwhelming workload in terms of shots, but the 2-0 result left little room for error for Togobitskiy in net. 

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!

Duo of Tomaštík, Železný lead team to championship

Oliver Tomaštík and Dominik Železný came out flying at the ‘11 Elite World Selects Invitational. With a combined 28 points over five games, the forwards led Slovakia Selects to a 4-0-1 preliminary round record. That run secured the No. 2-seed heading into the playoff rounds. It was there they carried the team to three more wins en route to the championship. The gold medal was Slovakia’s first at the tournament. 

Dual hat tricks contribute to offensive outburst

Slovakia scored the most goals out of all 10 participating clubs in pool play. Domination that many expected to continue into the playoffs. Against Finland Selects, both Tomaštík (3G, 1A) and Železný (3G, 2A) recorded hat tricks to propel Slovakia to a 8-0 victory. Next up was Pro Hockey, who managed to put up some offense on Slovakia. However, it was not enough in a 5-3 loss. That win sent Slovakia into the final game against Sweden Selects. Sweden upset the heavily favored Czech Knights in the semifinals with an overtime victory. 

Sweden shocks Knights in OT thriller

The odds were looking good for the Knights to defend their title from last year’s tournament. Skating into the playoffs as the only undefeated team, they made a statement with a 16-0 quarterfinal win over ALPS Selects. Riding that momentum, the Knights opened the scoring against Sweden just over three minutes into the game. Determined to not let things get out of hand, Sweden responded with three goals in nine minutes to take a 3-1 lead into intermission. 

After Sweden increased its lead to 4-1 early in the second, the Czechs flipped a switch. Displaying the depth that got them to the semifinals, three different players scored for the Knights to tie the game at four. In overtime, Liam Klarén finished off the win for Sweden 1:26 into the extra frame. The victory secured Sweden’s spot in a rematch against Slovakia for the title. Earlier in the tournament, Slovakia bested Sweden 3-2. 

Slovakia earns gold with complete performance

Like in their previous meeting, Sweden had no answer for the offensive attack of Slovakia. After blazing out to a 3-0 lead, Sweden cut into Slovakia’s lead only to surrender two more goals before the first period ended. Gustav Grundström and Tomaštík tallied the only goals of the second to end their run with a 6-2 win. Tomaštík and Železný only collected one point apiece, leaving Tomáš Brázdil as the lone Slovakian player with more than one (2G). The championship was Slovakia’s first at the ‘11 Elite World Selects Invite. 

Want more coverage of the 2023 World Selects Invitational series? WHH is the exclusive media provider of all 12 WSI events, so be sure to follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, Discord and YouTube for the latest news!

Two tournaments, two cities, two world champions of youth hockey

The 2009 and 2010-born World Selects Invitational tournaments take place simultaneously this week in separate European cities. Games will get underway on Tuesday with teams competing in host cities Bolzano, Italy and Chamonix, France. Eight 13U teams will clash for the ‘10 WSI while eight other 14U teams compete for the ‘09 championship. Last month, CCM All Out won the 15U championship in Nashville, while Team Minnesota won the 16U championship. Plus, Slovakia Selects won the 12U WSI this past weekend to become world champions as well. The pair of tournaments this week will close the book on WSI Elite tournaments for the 2023 season.

We take a closer look at each of the ‘09 and ‘10 WSIs before action gets underway on Tuesday.

Can Sweden Selects be the first organization to repeat as 14U WSI champions?

Sweden Selects won the 14U World Selects Invitational last spring thanks to the efforts of ‘08-born Marcus Nordmark and Alexander Command. If the ‘09s are going to repeat as WSI champions for Sweden, they’ll need big performances from the likes of Love Lorentzon, Tom Pråhl and Oliver Sundberg

If Sweden returns to prominence in Bolzano this week, it would be the first time an organization has ever gone back-to-back at the 14U WSI. 

A repeat will be no easy task, as seven other teams from around the world make a case for championship gold as well. North American-based Pro Hockey has four players from the No. 1-ranked team in Canada, the Toronto Jr. Canadiens. Similarly, Finland Selects brings players from various Top-10 teams as well, including Kiekko-Espoo, Tappara and Jokerit.

Czech Knights, ALPS Selects and Latvia Selects all draw players from various Central European regions. Plus, Barys (Kazakhstan) and Eastern U.S. Selects round out the field of participating teams. 

Each team will compete in five pool-play games from Tuesday to Thursday. Single-elimination playoffs will begin on Friday, with the ’09 WSI championship final going down on Saturday.

13U WSI returns for the first time in four years

CSKA Moscow was the last 13U team to win the World Selects Invitational in 2019. That was a tournament of top ‘06-born players in the city of Chamonix. Four years later, the ‘10s return to the same city in search of the first 13U WSI championship since CSKA hoisted the trophy.

Due to COVID-19 and significant travel restrictions, there has been a drought in 13U champions. Now in 2023, eight teams from around the world look to be the first to recapture gold in the age group.

In years past, prospects like Connor Bedard, Macklin Celebrini and Alexey Dontsov have made their mark in this very tournament. Dontsov is a top European prospect in the 2024 NHL Draft class; he currently plays for No. 1-ranked CSKA Moscow. Celebrini was just named the USHL Player of the Year after scoring 86 points in the Tier-I junior league. And Bedard, the all-time leading scorer of the 13U WSI, is slated to be the first overall pick in the 2023 NHL Draft next month. 

The youth hockey community will get a good look at a ’10 WSI tournament that’s featured some of the best youth hockey players in the world. The eight participating teams hail from Czech Republic, Finland, Latvia and Slovakia, as well as the Alps region of Europe. Additionally, DraftDay and Eastern U.S. Selects bring top prospects from North America. Barys will represent Kazakhstan, as the club participates in its third World Selects event of the spring.

Each team will compete in five pool-play games from Tuesday to Thursday. Single-elimination playoffs will begin on Friday, with the championship final going down on Saturday. There’s also an All-Star Game consisting of top performers from the tournament slotted for Friday afternoon.

World Hockey Hub is the exclusive media provider of all 12 of the World Selects Invitational tournaments. Be sure to follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, Discord and YouTube for the latest WSI news and announcements!

Defending champions undefeated heading into playoff round

As preliminary round play concluded on Thursday, there was only one club left standing with an unblemished record at the 2011 Elite World Selects Invitational. The Czech Knights entered this year’s tournament with sights set on repeating at 12U champions. The squad has gotten off to a stellar start, going 5-0-0 in pool play and enters the playoff round as the No. 1-seed. As all eight participating teams make the playoff round, we preview the initial matchups and which clubs stand the best chance to move on. 

Dynamic trio leads Knights’ offense

The Knights were able to put up 50 goals during pool play contests. Those numbers were largely aided by the stellar play of Arnošt Binter, Gabriel Wsol and Michal Hruška. All three forwards produced 15 points, with Wsol leading all players at the Invitational with 12 goals. Six of the club’s 11 skaters have 10 or more points, giving the Czechs some of the best depth among any team. If they can keep the production spread throughout the lineup, and Binter can continue to show off insane skill like on the goal below, the Czechs will be a tough out. 

Taking on the Knights in the quarterfinal round will be ALPS Selects, who went winless during preliminary round games. The Knights bested them 19-2 in their previous meeting on Wednesday. The Czechs should have no issue recording a second victory and moving on. Either the Latvia Selects or Sweden Selects will be waiting in the semifinals.  

Slovakia has found footing after opening loss

After suffering a 6-5 opening overtime loss to Latvia Selects, the Slovakia Selects haven’t looked back. Finishing pool play with four consecutive wins, they secured the No. 2-seed and will take on Finland Selects. Having played each other once already, Slovakia was victorious against Finland in a 20-1 final earlier today. In that win, 12 players collected at least two points, led by Matias Krúpa’s six assists. Oliver Tomaštík (11G, 6A) and Dominik Železný (9G, 7A) will lead the charge for Slovakia. The two enter as the top scorers thus far among all players. Having only scored nine goals total, it will be all hands on deck for Finland. The winner of this tilt will take on whoever emerges from the clash between Pro Hockey and Südtirol

Goaltending backstops Pro Hockey to No. 3-seed

Pro Hockey skated to a 4-1-0 record to lock down a matchup with No. 6-seeded Südtirol. The lone blemish was a 7-3 loss to the Knights. Tyson Orr has impressed on the offensive side with 11 goals and 15 points. Pro Hockey’s success also hinged on the strong performances of goaltender Donovan Knapp. Knapp was between the pipes for three wins, recording a 1.60 goals-against average and .948 save percentage. Both numbers were good enough for second overall among all goalies in preliminary round play. Only four goals managed to find their way past Knapp in those three appearances. Continued consistency from him will be paramount to playoff success, especially against an interesting opponent like Südtirol. Despite lower offensive numbers than Pro Hockey, the club still managed two wins in pool play. 

Sweden aims for sweep of Latvia

For the No. 4 and No. 5-seeds, Latvia Selects will face off with Sweden Selects for the second time at the showcase. In the prior meeting, Sweden shut out Latvia 7-0, with Charles Wikström producing two goals. In net, Hampus Trygg made 24 saves and was unable to be solved by Latvia. If Sweden puts him back in the crease for the rematch, Latvia will have to come up with a new strategy to get pucks by him. Both rosters are close in skill, so of all the quarterfinal games this one feels like it can go either way. If the head-to-head results are any indication, Sweden will have no issue moving on. 

Want more coverage of the 2023 World Selects Invitational series? WHH is the exclusive media provider of all 12 WSI events, so be sure to follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, Discord and YouTube for the latest news!

Players from 10 different countries slated to compete at annual 15U tournament

The third annual World Youth Championships (WYC) in Philadelphia are set to begin on Friday. Thirty-eight teams will compete in the ’08 Division, with players from as many as 10 different countries in attendance. More than 500 individuals from the U.S. and Canada, as well teams from Czech Republic, Slovakia and Russia will be on hand. Players from Sweden, Finland, Latvia, Austria and China are also rostered amongst participating teams.

Over the course of the next three days, teams will compete in five pool-play games. From there, 16 teams will advance to the single-elimination playoffs, where a champion will be determined by Tuesday afternoon.

Maroon Hockey won the ‘07 tournament last spring, and the organization returns to defend its title. Blue Army won the inaugural ‘06 tournament in 2021, and they too, look to win a second WYC title as well. In that span, 54.1 percent of all games have been decided by two goals or fewer. The ’08 WYC is loaded with teams in an event that’s proven to be highly competitive. The next 90-plus games from the Voorhees Skate Zones are certain to be high level, and packed with late-game heroics.

Second major tournament in a week for Provorovs Selects

Less than a week after playing in the 15U World Selects Invitational, Provorovs Selects remains states-side to compete in the ’08 WYC. The 800-mile trip from Nashville to Philadelphia this week was a quick jaunt compared to the 5,000-mile transcontinental flight from Yaroslavl, Russia. 

Provorovs Selects went 3-2-0 in pool play at the WSI, and was knocked out in the first round of playoffs. Aleksandr Shalabanov, Dmitrii Drobyshevskii and Vladimir Provorov will be hoping for better results this week in Philly.

Shalabanov led the team in scoring with eight points, factoring in on the offense in all six tournament games. He’ll need to continue that production at the ’08 WYC for Provorovs to have success. 

Provorovs Selects won’t be the only organization to compete at both events back-to-back. Boston Hockey Club, DevCo Hockey, DraftDay and National Hockey Prospects will all migrate from Nashville to Philly for this weekend’s event. 

Players to watch at the ‘08 WYC

Alex McLean is coming off of a record-breaking performance at last week’s WSI. He’ll look to continue his dominance over the ‘08 birth year while skating for Everest Academy this Friday. McLean will once again be joined by Kent Greer. The tandem played together this season for No. 3 Pittsburgh Penguins Elite. They also helped CCM All Out win the WSI championship last week. Can McLean and Greer help carry another team to a championship this week in Philadelphia?

Rudolfs Berzkalns and Max Crete — CCM All Out teammates of McLean and Greer’s — will now become foes at the World Youth Championships. They worked together to win the ‘08 WSI championship on Sunday and will now compete against one another to win a WYC.

Berzkalns scored nine goals and 25 points last week. He joins an Evolve Hockey team loaded with players from Pens Elite and Bishop Kearney Selects

Maroon Hockey looks to defend its title as 15U WYC champs with a bevy of top Canadian prospects. Alessandro Di Iorio, Evan Hendrick and Andrew Robinson are among those suiting up for Maroon after playing this past season for No. 1 Vaughan Kings.

Top talent from the Canadian Sport School Hockey League (CSSHL) will suit up for WCAN Prime as well. Edge School’s Cruz Pavao and Landon DuPont, as well as Northern Alberta Xtreme’s Knox Bendera and Maddox Rose were standout performers in Western Canada’s top youth hockey league this past season. 

Want more from the World Youth Championships? WHH will have exclusive coverage of the 15U tournament in Philadelphia all week long. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, Discord and YouTube for more! 

Team skates to 8-0-0 run in Chamonix, France

A major reason why North America Prospects had been undefeated heading into the playoff round at the U14 Girls World Selects Invitational was goaltending. In our Round 1 recap, we looked at the performances of Bailey Unruh and Rylee Allison as two key factors in the success of the club. Throughout the playoffs, both Unruh and Allison continued their solid play to backstop NAP to a championship over the Sweden Selects

In Sweden’s semifinal win against Minnesota Prospects, the team’s incredible scoring depth was on full display. Six different players found the back of the net, allowing them to take a 6-2 lead into the second period. Liv Heinicke took advantage of a power play opportunity to make it a three-goal deficit. However, Minnesota was unable to gain any momentum offensively other than that. Alice Nilson (1G, 2A), Ida Lindberg (2A) and Elsa Lake (2A) all collected two points for Sweden. With the win, Sweden guaranteed its spot in the final against North American Prospects. 

After NAP defeated DraftDay 5-1 in the quarterfinals, France was the next opponent on their calendar. Despite having one of the best team defenses at the tournament, they were unable to contain the high-powered offense of NAP in a 4-2 loss. Things started well for France in the game, as Gabrielle Roussel opened the scoring 3:25 into the first period. Mia Skinner tied the game at 1-1, which is where things stood heading into the first intermission. Both squads exchanged goals in the early moments of the second half before NAP pulled away. Goals from Lily Martin and Maya Dutton secured the victory. Allison stopped 16 of 18 shots she faced between the pipes. 

NAP edges Sweden in shootout for WSI championship

Sweden came out hot in the championship game, putting up two goals in just over a minute to take a 2-0 lead. Nova Krantz struck first at 11:25 before Emma Hesselvall netted her third of the playoffs. Hessselvall scored in all three of Sweden’s playoff matchups. Shortly after, NAP cut the lead in half when Melaina Struna found the back of the net. At 4:23 of the second period, Adrienne Erickson tied the game at 2 with a power-play goal. Despite outshooting Sweden 18-2 in the second, NAP was unable to find another goal. The championship would be decided in a shootout. Jaiden Krushelniski, who led NAP in the preliminary round with seven points, was the only shooter to score in the skills competition. Allison once more came up huge in net, making 22 saves. 

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Eight clubs attempted to lay claim on championship trophy

The 2023 12U World Selects Trophy was held this week in Bolzano, Italy. Eight teams from seven different countries participated in the annual tournament. The players were not distracted from the stunning views and food of the host city, as the games were action–packed with great talent on display. In the end, Toronto Elite emerged victorious over Pro Hockey after getting hot once the playoff round kicked off on Saturday. Here’s how they got to the final contest, and who were the biggest performers. 

Toronto rebounds after opening loss

Despite scoring first in its introductory matchup of the tournament, Toronto was unable to keep the Czech Knights at bay for the rest of the contest. The Knights went on to score three unanswered goals. Despite a heroic performance in net by Ethan Rodrigues, where he made 32 saves on 35 shots, Toronto was unable to claw its way back. It was a difficult game for Elite to stay out of the penalty box as well, as they were whistled for six infractions. The Czechs were able to take advantage of two of those power plays. 

Following that loss, Toronto regrouped and posted wins against Finland, Slovakia, Sweden and Latvia to close out pool play. In total, they out-scored their opponents in that run 21-6. The squad displayed great depth as well, with 12 of its 14 skaters recording at least one point across the preliminary round. Finishing first among the team were Liam Kozlowski and Adrian Leung, who had identical stat lines of four goals and three assists. Numbers that were good enough to tie with five other players for fifth overall among all skaters. Goaltending also played a crucial role in Toronto’s pool play performance. While Rodrigues continued to get playing time, Jordan Strathlee emerged as a valuable asset to form a dynamic tandem. He would finish with a 1.00 goals-against average and .931 save percentage over the club’s first five games. The two also each recorded a shutout. 

Finishing with a 4-1-0 record, Toronto secured the No. 2-seed heading into the playoff round, which gave them a bye into the semifinals. Joining them with a straight ticket to round 2 was the No. 1-seeded Knights. No. 3-seed Slovakia guaranteed a matchup with Toronto with a victory over Latvia in the quarterfinals. The Czechs were positioned to battle No. 5-seed Pro Hockey in their quarterfinal clash. 

Hussein, Down lead club in playoff round

Caden Down finished pool play with two goals and five points, and didn’t miss a beat once the playoffs began. His goal in the first period against Slovakia ignited a three-goal opening frame for Toronto. In the second, Jordan Hussain emerged as a secondary scoring threat. With Toronto holding to a 4-2 lead, Hussain struck twice in just over a minute to open up a 6-2 lead in the second period. He added a third point with an assist on Cameron Steven’s late goal in regulation to wrap up a 7-2 win. Pro Hockey defeated Finland in the semifinals, which set up a tilt with the heavily-favored Knights. After the Czechs scored first, Finn Helminen responded quickly for Pro Hockey and tied the game at 1. 

Pro Hockey scored twice more early in the second period to take a 3-1 lead. Showing their resolve, the Knights found their way back to evening the score with two goals from Petr Potač. Lachlan McGuire stunned the Czechs when he put home a shot with just over a minute left in regulation. A win that set up a championship game meeting with Toronto. 

Toronto’s defense come up big in championship 

The opening frame was a statement from Toronto, where they opened up a 4-1 lead by its end. Down scored twice, and Hussein notched another assist on a goal from Leung. Lachlan McGuire managed to get Pro Hockey on the board to make it a 2-1 game before Toronto redoubled the lead. Despite numerous attempts to cut into the deficit, Pro Hockey was unable to get back in the game. A big reason for that was the team’s ability to keep McGuire in check for the second period. As a result, they were crowned 2011-born champions with a 5-2 final. McGuire finished pool play second overall in scoring with four goals and nine points. He had six goals and seven points to his name heading into the championship game. Hussein and Down ended up tied for second in playoff scoring with Pro Hockey’s Brendan Rogers with four points each. 

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