The 2023 World Selects Invitational spring series of events begins on Wednesday, with the ’08 WSI Elite tournament getting underway in Nashville, Tennessee, USA. More than 500 of the top prospects from the 2008 birth year will compete in the six-day event. Participants will represent 12 different countries, as they compete across 30 select teams assembled specifically for this tournament.
This tournament series dates all the way back to 2009, when names like Alexander Barkov, Filip Forsberg and Radek Faksa debuted on the youth hockey scene. Them, along with 650 other WSI tournament alumni have gone on to be selected in the NHL Draft over the past 10 years. This year, North American prospects like Michael Berchild, Caleb Malhotra and Ethan Garden look to make their mark on international youth hockey. Additionally, top Euros like Oliver Torkki, Arvid Ermeskog and Vladimir Provorov will make the trek across the Atlantic to go toe-to-toe with North America’s best.
Last year, Ryan Roobroeck broke the tournament record for points with 28 in nine games. Twelve months later, he’s projected to be a Top-5 pick in the 2023 OHL Priority Selection. His teammate in the WSI last spring, Gavin McKenna, went on to be the first overall selection in the 2022 WHL Draft. Together, they led Pro Hockey to the 15U championship against an International Stars team that was loaded with top American-born prospects. So much so that seven players from the Stars’ roster were just named to the 2023-24 U.S. National Team Development Program roster.
Bottom line, the WSI regularly serves as a launching point for top prospects in youth hockey.
Still dealing with the fallout of COVID-19 last spring, the 2022 tournament only featured five European teams. Travel restrictions and difficulties kept others from making the trip overseas. This spring, that number is expected to double, as teams from Sweden, Finland, Russia, Czech, Slovakia and Kazakhstan will be in attendance. The Ford Ice Centers in Nashville will be packed with wall-to-wall action all week and WHH will have exclusive coverage of all the action.
The province of Ontario will be well represented in the Music City. In fact, 20 players from five of the Top-10 teams in the country are expected to be on hand for the ’08 WSI. The No. 1 ranked ‘08 team in the world, Vaughan Kings, will have five players competing for two different teams. Two of their top scorers, Caleb Malhotra and Zach Nyman will skate for CCM Selects. Their regular-season teammate and goaltender Joseph D’Angelo will suit up for opposing team Carolina Whalers; he is one of five Canadians playing for the U.S.-based select team.
Some other top performers from Ontario includ Maximus Crete, Bryson Morgan and Nikolas Rossetto. They were among the top scorers at the U15 All-Ontario Championships earlier this month. Goaltenders Cameron Ingram and Colin Elsworth were also impressive in that tournament with 1.00 and 1.50 goals-against averages respectively.
There is a plethora of American talent expected as well. Each of the top nine teams in the country will be represented by multiple players. Some of the more notable being No. 1 Shattuck-St. Mary’s leading scorer Michael Berchild. He finished the ‘22-23 season with 106 points; the fourth-most among ‘08s in the country. J.P. Hurlbert III led all U.S. skaters with 195 points in 75 games. Him and Berchild will be teammates at the ’08 WSI for ID Selects.
Lukas Zajic and Camden Nimmer will also skate for ID Selects. They were among some of the top performers at USA Hockey Nationals earlier this month. They also went head-to-head in the national title game, as Nimmer and his Bishop Kearney Selects took home gold.
The last time a European team won the North American WSI, Oliver Wahlstrom, Rasmus Sandin and Ryan Merkley were playing for Sweden Selects. Wahlstrom is in his third season for the New York Islanders. Sandin just finished his second season in the NHL with the Washington Capitals. Merkley made his NHL debut for the San Jose Sharks last season.
None of those three will be able to help Sweden claim World Selects gold in Nashville this week. However, players like Arvid Ermeskog, Salim Ismailov and Fabian Merkle-Rohdin certainly could.
Ermeskog is a standout forward for the No. 1 ranked team in Sweden, Nacka HK. He led the Sweden Hockey Trophy in scoring last fall with 11 points in seven games. Ismailov finished closely behind with 10 points for Flemingsbergs IK. On top of that, Merkle-Rohdin was a top performer at the U15 DIF Elitcup in September as well. He scored 14 points in that tournament for HV71. He also spent 23 games playing up an age level with the club’s U16 team.
Speaking of under-agers, Oliver Torkki and Jiko Laitinen were among some of the top scorers in Finland’s U16 SM-Series this season. Playing amongst competition where 85 percent of the players were older than these two ‘08s, Torkki and Laitinen finished third and fourth in points. Torkki scored 33 goals and 77 points in 39 games for HIFK. Laitinen finished with 76 points in 40 games. They will certainly be a force for Finland Selects at the ’08 WSI.
While he maintains dual citizenship being born in Tampa, Florida, Alex Theodore played the ‘22-23 season for the U15 Pilsen Wolves. He led the team in scoring with 53 points in 34 games. He also scored 16 points in 10 games with the club’s U17 team as well. Teammate Ben Reisnecker is another standout performer from Central Europe. From the blue line, Reisnecker scored 63 points in 47 games between the Wolves’ U15 and U17 teams as well. The pair will likely lead the Czech Knights’ offensive attack this week in Nashville.
In addition to the 2008 Elite event in Nashville, two other tournaments get underway this week as well. The U14 Girls event begins on Wednesday as well, hosted in Chamonix, France. Additionally, the 2011 AAA tournament kicks off from Bolzano, Italy, on Thursday.
Twelve girls teams from nine different countries will compete for the U14 championship. Czech Selects won the tournament last year. That snapped a three-year run of North American teams winning gold.
DraftDay, Minnesota Prospects, Premier Ice Prospects (PIP) Hockey and Pro Hockey will travel across the Atlantic to represent the U.S. and Canada. Select teams from Czech, Finland, France, Germany, Sweden and Switzerland will make the field of teams at the U14 tournament one of the most diverse among WSI events this spring.
The 2011 AAA tournament — open to all AAA-level players — consists of 13 teams from as many as nine different countries. It is the first of three WSI events to take place in the city of Bolzano.
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The 15th season of the World Selects tournament series will begin on April 25th. Following that day, 12 different events will take place over the following weeks. They’ll be hosted in five exotic locations across six different age groups for both boys and girls international youth hockey players.
The World Selects Invitational has a long and decorated history as one of, if not, the most iconic tournament series in youth hockey today.
More than 650 participants have gone on to be chosen in the NHL Draft. That includes 2022 first overall selection Juraj Slafkovsky (Slovakia Selects), 2021 sixth overall selection Simon Edvinsson (Sweden Selects), 2020 second overall selection Quinton Byfield (Canada) and 2019 second overall selection Kaapo Kakko (Finland Selects). Every NHL roster features at least one name that’s been etched in the World Selects halls of history.
The next wave of top-tier talent in youth hockey will take the stage this Spring. It begins with the 2008 Boys Elite tournament in Nashville, Tennessee, USA on April 25th. The U14 Girls Elite event will take place at the same time 4,600 miles across the globe in Chamonix, France. Also taking place that week is the 12U Boys AAA tournament in Bolzano, Italy.
That trio of events will signify the beginning of a World Selects season of events that will decorate the calendar over the next three months. Here’s a complete list of dates, ages and locations:
World Selects tournaments fall into two categories. The first is the Elite events, where participating teams apply for entry, and go through a thorough vetting process. Those teams compete in the World Selects Invitational. Participants include franchises such as DraftDay Hockey, Eastern U.S. Selects, NorthStar Elite, Premier Ice Prospects, Pro Hockey, Sweden Selects, Finland Selects and other European Selects programs.
In total, 20 different North American programs and 20 European programs will be represented this season. Additionally, teams from more than 18 different countries will take the ice including the United States, Canada, Sweden, Finland, Russia, Czechia, Slovakia, France, Norway, Latvia and Kazakhstan, among others.
Teams consist of players that are carefully recruited and selected to compete in the Elite events. These are high-level AAA players capable of competing against the absolute best in the world. These teams typically represent the best youth hockey players their respective countries have to offer. Hundreds of futures NHL players, thousands of NCAA college hockey athletes and countless national team representatives from around the world.
The AAA events provide the same, exotic experience offered in Elite events, but are open to any AAA caliber youth hockey player. Hosted in many of the same locations as the Elite events, the AAA World Selects Trophy tournaments provide players — and teams — with an opportunity to compete, perform and potentially be promoted to compete at Elite events in the future.
World Hockey Hub is the exclusive media provider for all 12 World Selects tournaments and will produce one-of-a-kind content you won’t find anywhere else in youth hockey. Games can be live-streamed on SolidSport, and WHH will have complete breakdowns, commentary, analysis, highlights, photo galleries, interviews and more from some of the top players and teams in the WSI.
Join more than 28,000 people in following WHH on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, Discord and YouTube. The WHH community will be the first to receive updates as the WSI unfolds this spring. Additionally, you’ll receive announcements regarding upcoming events, future tournaments and other news about the World Selects tournament series.
Compete against players from all over the planet at the World Selects Trophy! It's world-class competition with a first-class travel experience. Join Sixty Hockey Development, make lasting memories and lifelong friends in an environment unlike any other in youth sports.
2008 Sixty Hockey Development WSI
Location: Stockholm, Sweden
Dates: May 17 - 20, 2023
2009 Sixty Hockey Development WSI
Location: Prague, Czech Republic
Dates: May 3 - 6, 2023
2010 Sixty Hockey Development WSI
Location: Mont Blanc, France
Dates: May 3 - 6, 2023
2011 Sixty Hockey Development WSI
Location: Bolzano, Italy
Dates: April 26 - 29, 2023
Get more from the world of youth hockey and stay up-to-date on the latest news, rankings, highlights and more from World Hockey Hub!
Compete against the best youth hockey players on the planet at the World Selects Invitational! It's world-class competition with a first-class travel experience. Join Eastern US Selects, make lasting memories and lifelong friends in an environment unlike any other in youth sports.
2009 Eastern US Selects WSI
Location: Bolzano, Italy
Dates: May 5 - 14, 2023
2010 Eastern US Selects WSI
Location: Chamonix, France
Dates: May 5 - 14, 2023
Think you've got what it takes to compete against the best players on the planet? Apply for the event today to learn more.
A tournament that typically features 40-50 summer hockey teams, hosted just 14 teams over the course of two weeks in Sweden and France. While it was significantly downsized, the European Hockeyfest had a very intimate feel in 2022. A smaller field of teams provided participants with an exclusive experience both on and off the ice.
While this year’s lineup was a fraction of what we’ve typically come to expect from Hockeyfest, it still featured players from as many as six different countries. Sweden, Finland, Norway, Czech, Latvia, U.S. and Canada were all represented in the two host cities of Stockholm and Paris. The 2010 age group got the event started on July 22, while the ’09s and ’12s closed it down on July 30.
Here’s a look at the results from all three birth years:
Sweden SHD Light Blue prevailed 6-2 over Sweden SHD Blue in the final. It was a revenge game for the Light Blue squad, after Sweden SHD Blue handed them their lone loss on July 29 — a 3-1 final. Aside from that, the Light Blue squad took care of business over the week, winning a bunch of tight contests before running away with things in both the semifinals and finals.
They topped Finland SHD Blue 6-3 to start, before recording a 3-2 win over Norway Selects, a 1-0 win over Sweden SHD Blue, a 5-3 win over Finland SHD Blue and a 4-3 win over Norway Selects in preliminary-round play.
To earn another match with Sweden SHD Blue in the final, they topped Norway 6-2 in the semifinals.
The Light Blue squad did it with balanced scoring, as Ludvig Westman was the only player to have more than a point per game; he finished with seven points in six games in the prelims. Filip Leijonhielm had six points, while Samuel Barthelson and William Olofsson had five apiece.
Yury Rodichev and Andrii Pyl split time between the pipes en route to the championship.
A pair of Sweden Blue skaters led the tournament in scoring, as Oscar Wennberg had 12 points in six games, and Filip Wahlen had 10. Norway’s Isak Bjorland also cracked the top five in scoring, registering seven points in six games.
Carl Johnsson and Vilmer Salen-Forsberg were outstanding between the pipes for Sweden Blue, as well — Johnsson finished with a .938 save percentage, and Forsberg had a .914.
The Czech Knights Gold squad got a wake-up call when they lost in the first round of the playoffs. After posting a perfect 5-0 mark in the preliminary round, they dropped a 5-4 battle to Finland SHD, but luckily for the Knights, they got a chance for redemption in Round 2.
There, they blanked the same Finland squad 7-0, and in the finals, they continued to roll, beating the Sweden SHD team 10-0.
The dominating performances in their final two games certainly represented the Knights’ trip to Paris; aside from the aforementioned loss to Finland, they were unstoppable all week.
In the preliminary round, they out-scored the competition 40-3 in their five games, beating Draftday Canada 6-1, ALPS SHD 16-0, the Czech Knights Black squad 8-0, Sweden SHD 5-1 and Finland 5-1.
Six of the top seven scorers in preliminary-round play were members of the Czech Gold squad. Denis Dobias led the field in scoring with 14 points in five games, while Jakub Milanic had 13, Nicholas Novak had 12 and Sven Stalder had 11. The lone player outside of the Czech Knights Gold team to crack the top seven was still a Czech skater; Czech Knights Black’s Erik Zahradnik had 11 points, as well.
Novak led the postseason in scoring with seven points in two games, while Dobias had six, which means that those two tied for the tournament overall scoring lead with 20 apiece in just seven games.
Sweden’s River Kallander posted some impressive numbers between the pipes, registering a 2.40 goals-against average and .910 save percentage in the five preliminary contests. August Uutela of Finland was right there with him, racking up a 2.67 goals-against and .909 save percentage.
As we’re sure you guessed from the numbers discussed above, Tobias Orechovsky of the Czech Gold team put up some remarkable stats, as well. He finished the prelims with a 0.60 goals-against average and a .946 save percentage.
Finland SHD Blue emerged victorious in a four-team field for the 2012 birth-year, topping Sweden SHD Blue in the last contest by a score of 6-2.
The 2012 birth-year featured a Finland SHD Blue squad, Sweden SHD Blue and Sweden SHD Yellow, and a Latvia SHD squad.
The Finland squad posted a 5-1 record in the preliminary rounds before recording a 13-0 win over Latvia in the semifinals, and the aforementioned final against Sweden in the championship.
Ashton Salts of Sweden Yellow and Robin Torkki of Finland Blue finished atop the scoring list with 16 points in six games apiece. Signar Klingzell of Sweden Blue had 15, while Neo Huang of Sweden Blue had 14, Liam Jarvinen of Finland had 13 and Mikael Saila of Finland had 12.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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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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