‘06 Shattuck-St. Mary’s Debuts at No. 1 in Preseason Rankings
Last season, the 14U squad at Shattuck-St. Mary’s was arguably the best pound-for-pound team in all of youth hockey. A 47-1-2 record and a dominant performance in the USA Hockey Nationals tournament cemented names like Cole Eiserman, Macklin Celebrini and Aidan Park as some of the top up-and-coming prospects in the game. It’s only fitting that just five months later, the Sabres debuted at No. 1 in World Hockey Hub’s first ever preseason rankings for the 2021-22 season.
The 15U squad returns 13 players off of last season’s championship team, but all three members of its top line in Eiserman, Celebrini and Park have all opted up to the program’s 18U and 16U teams. The trio accounted for 203 of the 402 goals Shattuck scored last season, leaving returners like Kristian Epperson, Ryker Lee and Brodie Ziemer to fill the void. It’s tough to lose three of the biggest prospects in the 2006-birth year and still keep the status quo. The departures from Shattuck’s ‘06 squad may close the gap a bit between them and the field, but this group is still in great shape to defend its title as tops in the age group.
Russia packs the world-wide rankings with three in the Top 10 and six in the Top 25. The 2006-birth year is loaded with talent, headlined by Arseni Vorobyov, who led No. 2-ranked CSKA Moscow in scoring last season with 67 points. He’s already produced 16 points in the team’s first 10 games of 2021-22, and CSKA is 10-0-1 in the early stages of the season.
Finland’s Kiekko Espoo was undefeated last season with a 13-0-0 record before it was cut short by COVID-19, and the country paused all activity. Forward Tuomas Suoniemi compiled 27 goals and 50 points, and was one of six players from Kiekko in the Top 10 for scoring in the league. The ‘06 group started out ‘20-21 white hot and didn’t get a chance to see the season through. This time around, Kiekko Espoo checks in at No. 4 in the preseason rankings and could contend for the top spot in the age group all season long.
The 15-only age group — or under-16 age group internationally — is a crucial year for youth hockey players inching closer and closer to junior hockey worldwide. World Hockey Hub will have exclusive coverage of the latest news, rankings, prospects, events and more regarding the 2006-birth year and you can check it all out HERE.