The Last Automatic and At-Large bids Awarded for USA Hockey Nationals

The 2020-21 youth hockey season officially began on September 1st for U.S.-based teams. After 230 days of jam-packed league schedules, weekend tournaments and showcases, as well as pauses, delays and travel restrictions in the midst of COVID-19, the top 16 teams have been finalized for USA Hockey Nationals. The majority received automatic bids from winning their respective district playoffs, while five others received at-large bids. Among the 16 are 11 that ranked in the Top 25 teams in the world last month, and in a few short weeks, USA Hockey will crown a national champion.

The tournament format, according to USA Hockey, for a 16-team seeded Tier-I youth event involves breaking down the field into four pools of teams based on MyHockeyRankings. That means, the four pools should be:

USAOLYMPICNHLLIBERTY
Chicago MissionMid-Fairfield Jr. RangersHoneyBakedChicago Young Americans
Shattuck-St. Mary’sNJ AvalancheFlorida AllianceCompuware
Buffalo Jr. SabresTeam WisconsinPittsburgh Penguins EliteDallas Stars Elite
Sioux Falls PowerTeam AlaskaMount St. CharlesMN Blue Ox

Each team will play three games in-pool and after that process is completed, the top two teams from each pool will advance to an eight-team single-elimination bracket. That bracket will also be seeded based on standings at nationals: USA #1 vs. OLY #2, LIB #1 vs. NHL #2, OLY #1 vs. USA #2 and NHL #1 vs. LIB #2. The home team for the subsequent semifinals and championship games will also be determined based on this criteria.

The six-day USA Hockey Nationals tournament is slated to begin at 10:00 a.m. CT, on Wednesday, April 28th, at the Children’s Health StarCenter in Euless, Texas. All the action will be live-streamed on HockeyTV.com and we will have wall-to-wall coverage of the tournament throughout the week. Follow us on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and YouTube for more USA Hockey Nationals news.