15U Finale Comes Down To A Border Battle At World Selects

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. 

Ryan Roobroeck (right) celebrates with Callum Mainville (left) and Gavin McKenna (front).

Roobroeck’s Record-Breaking Run

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. 

Pro Hockey’s Perfect Run

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.

2007-born Pro Hockey (Canada) wins the 2022 15U World Selects Trophy in Nashville 2-1 over International Stars (USA).

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.

A First Look At The Next Wave

Jakob Ihs-Wozniak led all European skaters in scoring with 12 points.

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.

For more coverage of the World Selects Invitational series, follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok and YouTube. WHH has exclusive previews, updates, top prospects, highlights, interviews and more!

More From The World Hockey Hub

The world’s best are represented with names like Roobroeck, Frondell, Jardine, Härenstam

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.

Want more from the World Selects Invitational Trophy? Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok and YouTube for previews, updates, top prospects, highlights, interviews and more!

More From The World Hockey Hub

Youth hockey giant looks for playoff success in Nashville

Total Package Hockey (TPH) is among the biggest name brands in all of youth hockey. With its on-ice training, off-ice schooling with the Centers of Excellence, tournament teams and events, there are very few aspects of the sport left untouched by the organization.

Founded in 2001, TPH has impacted the landscape for more than two decades, and will make its fifth appearance at the 15U World Selects Trophy since 2016. A mainstay at the event in recent years, TPH teams have an overall record of 12-14-0 and qualified for the elimination rounds on two separate occasions. Both times, they were eliminated in the first round.

This year, the 2007-born squad will look to reach heights never reached before by TPH teams in the tournament.

The team has a heavy influence from Michigan, Illinois and the province of Ontario. A region of North America that puts a multitude of players into the field of teams across various rosters. The Compuware hockey contingent of Nino Suhy, Salvatore Viviano and Tyler Ross are three forwards who played all winter together. That trio could continue to carry that chemistry into Nashville as a go-to option offensively for TPH. 

Both goaltenders — Sam Kapotas and Gannon Hunter — should factor into the team’s success as well. Kapotas played last season with the Windy City Storm while Hunter backstopped the Sun County Panthers in Canada.

Puck drop is May 11th, and TPH Selects are one of two teams that the program enters into the field, alongside TPH Prospects. The challenge will be can either team advance past the first round of the playoffs and outperform the teams that have come before them.

World Hockey Hub will have exclusive coverage leading up to, and throughout, the 2022 15U World Selects Trophy. Be sure to follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok and YouTube for previews, updates, top prospects, highlights, interviews and more!

More From The World Hockey Hub

Young organization has made immediate impact on youth hockey landscape

Founded in 2018, the Topline Selects program is composed of five full-time staff members with Division-I and professional hockey backgrounds. In just four short years, it has significantly impacted youth hockey prospects like Ryan Fine, Sal Guzzo, Aram Minnetian, Drew Fortescue and Quentin Musty. Those names have gone on to represent America in the U.S. national team development program (USNTDP), play North American junior hockey and in Musty’s case, be selected as the first overall pick in the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) Draft.

Topline Selects will look to continue that path of success with the 2007 age group at the 15U World Selects Trophy in Nashville.

A pair of Cleveland BaronsNathan Bujdos and Tucker Mears — will look to lead the offense on May 11th. That duo played a significant role this winter for the Barons, combining for 43 goals and 85 points during the team’s 63-game schedule. Add in fellow forwards Jack MacFarlane and Ryan Schweitzer to round out the attack up front. If that’s not enough, defenseman Carter Amico goes north often to get involved in the offense; he led all Seacoast Performance Academy defensemen in scoring last season with 19 goals and 45 points. 

Offense may not be a problem at World Selects, but can the very diverse team of players from across North America play sound enough defensively? The roster includes players from nine different U.S. states and Canadian provinces. May 11th will be the first time this group comes together in game action, and they’ll have little time to waste when going up against the best players in youth hockey.

World Hockey Hub will have exclusive coverage leading up to, and throughout, the 2022 15U World Selects Trophy. Be sure to follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok and YouTube for previews, updates, top prospects, highlights, interviews and more!

More From The World Hockey Hub

Competed in The Brick and Triple Crown; Will be at WSI for the first time

In the past five years, HD Engine has competed in iconic youth hockey tournaments like The Brick Series and the Triple Crown. However, the historic 15U World Selects Trophy in Nashville had eluded the program… until now.

On May 11th, HD Engine will make its tournament debut, competing against the best 2007-born youth hockey teams in the world. It’s an age group that HD has actually had prior success, with a Super Series AAA Triple Crown championship in 2020 to its resume. 

If the team is to achieve similar results in the Music City, names like Cole Tuminaro, Sam Kapell and Kadden Soukup will certainly have to play a factor. Tuminaro was a top defenseman for the Oakland Jr. Grizzlies, while Kapell and Soukup were standout forwards for high school programs Notre Dame Academy (WI) and Anoka (MN).

Goaltender Charlie Abel is slated to play for the Florida Alliance after spending the 2021-22 season spread between Plant High School (FL), Minnesota Elite League and the Tampa Jr. Bulls. He will need to play some of his best hockey between the pipes to keep HD Engine in contention in Nashville.

World Hockey Hub will have exclusive coverage leading up to, and throughout, the 2022 15U World Selects Trophy. Be sure to follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok and YouTube for previews, updates, top prospects, highlights, interviews and more!

More From The World Hockey Hub

Program name is more than a brand, it’s a lifestyle

Ten years ago, Freddy Meyer launched the Dream Big HockeyStars program based out of the New England area. Being an undersized, undrafted defenseman, Meyer himself proved doubters wrong by playing Division-I college hockey and then nearly a decade of professional hockey in the NHL and Europe. Achieving those goals set the tenor for his Dream Big program to inspire other young players to do just that: Dream big. So much so that he signs all memorabilia with his autograph alongside that two-word phrase.

After a decade, Dream Big will add its hat into the ring amongst other top spring hockey programs in the world at the 2022 World Selects Trophy in Nashville. 

Tournament teams are a relatively new endeavor for Dream Big, with much of its programming geared towards individual skill training. The team that will arrive in the Music City will have a strong contingent from Massachusetts and New Hampshire, with reps from Vermont, Maine and Alberta, Canada to round things out.

“I would consider us to be ‘team strong’ versus just four or five studs,” said Meyer. “We have a great group of players that have a bright future.”

Can Dream Big fulfill lofty goals at Nashville? It will be a star-studded lineup of the best 2007-born youth hockey players in the world, so they’ll take their best shot at other top programs.

World Hockey Hub will have exclusive coverage leading up to, and throughout, the 2022 15U World Selects Trophy. Be sure to follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok and YouTube for previews, updates, top prospects, highlights, interviews and more!

More From The World Hockey Hub

Top scorer in Canadian province looks to be leading producer at international tournament

The North American program DHI has had an influence on the World Selects Invitational series since 2016. In four previous appearances in the North American tournament, DHI has qualified for the playoff rounds three times, with its best finish being a 7-1-0 second place in their tournament debut. Now focusing on its first trip to Nashville for the 15U World Selects Trophy, DHI will rely on strong performances from a few key players.

Defenseman Ryan White was a standout for the U15 Ottawa Senators in the Hockey Eastern Ontario (HEO) AAA league. He finished in the top five in scoring among defensemen with six goals and 21 points in 22 games. White will be joined by a top D from the opposite end of the country, with Calgary, Alberta, native Jackson Smith. A key player for Edge School U15 Prep, Smith scored 21 goals and 51 points in 33 games. Thirteen of those points in the CSSHL playoffs, leading his team, as Edge finished in third place.

The leading scorer in the HEO among 2007s, Jacob Cloutier scored 32 goals and 60 points in 26 games for the Ottawa Jr. 67s. The team finished with a 40-12-8 record and ranked among the Top 10 in Canada. Cloutier will now look to be a leading producer against the best 2007-born players in the world at WSI.

The DHI program has been a contender for 15U world championships in years past, but hasn’t advanced past the first round of the playoffs in three straight appearances. This group in 2022 will look to turn the tides in Tennessee when the puck drops on May 11.

World Hockey Hub will have exclusive coverage leading up to, and throughout, the 2022 15U World Selects Trophy. Be sure to follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok and YouTube for previews, updates, top prospects, highlights, interviews and more!

More From The World Hockey Hub

Program looks to make the cut in its second year at the 15U international tournament

The MN Blizzard missed the playoff rounds of the 2021 World Selects Trophy by just one point in the standings. Entering the 15U tournament for a second consecutive year, they look to get over the hump in 2022 and into the elimination rounds when the puck drops on May 11th. 

In five years, the program has developed numerous players and advanced their playing careers to junior and college levels. This 2007-born group is expected to continue that trend, starting with a pair of high-end goaltenders.

Owen Lunneborg and Grayson Hanggi are compact — listed at 5-foot-9 and 5-foot-8 respectively on Elite Prospects — but maintain great footwork and crisp movements in net. The defense group is very strong and mobile as well, so the Blizzard is one team that could thrive in their own zone. 

A strong team effort defensively should provide forwards Poul Andersen and Tre Peck the opportunity to get loose going north and create some offense for the team. Anderson scored 17 goals and 33 points in 20 AAA games. Peck is a shifty skater from Long Lake, Minnesota, who played varsity hockey for Totino-Grace this winter. 

The Blizzard are one of three teams primarily based out of Minnesota; a state that has yet to win the 15U world championship. They will certainly rely on their defensive prowess and ability to frustrate opposing offenses, hoping it will be enough to bring the ‘State of Hockey’ its first world title.

World Hockey Hub will have exclusive coverage leading up to, and throughout, the 2022 15U World Selects Trophy. Be sure to follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok and YouTube for previews, updates, top prospects, highlights, interviews and more!

More From The World Hockey Hub

Russell brothers fuel top West Coast organization from both ends of the rink

Eight years ago, the California Patriots were developed as an elite-level spring development program. In that span, it has grown to be recognized as one of the top organizations in the Golden State. Now for the first time, the Patriots will enter the ring to compete with some of the world’s best 2007-born teams at the 2022 World Selects Trophy.

The West Coast of the United States has seen a boom in the hockey community over the last decade or more. Pockets like Phoenix, Los Angeles and San Jose, and the addition of the NHL’s newest expansion teams, expect Las Vegas and Seattle should certainly continue that trend of growth in the region. With teams like the California Patriots competing for 15U world championships, it certainly validates how far youth hockey has come in the area. Now, players and coaches alike set their sights on worldwide recognition.

Coaches Kevin Bieksa, Dean Caban and Peter Torsson will head up the team in Nashville. Bieksa is well known for being a 13-season NHL veteran for the Vancouver Canucks and Anaheim Ducks. Torsson is a native of Sweden, who played four years of NCAA Division-I hockey for St. Cloud State University.

Forward Max Silver is coming off of a season in which he averaged a goal per game for 70 games between California High School and AAA. He scored 68 goals and 98 points this winter. Fellow forward Hayden Russell is an impressive goal scorer as well; he eclipsed the 100-point mark with the California Golden Bears this season in 66 games.

While Hayden and company help propel the offense, twin brother Garrett Russell and crew will anchor the defense. Garrett is a right-hand shot who posted 61 points in 71 games and finished second on Mater Dei High School in scoring, trailing Hayden by just five points.

Daniel Tverdovsky — son of 11-season NHL vet Oleg Tverdovsky — adds his defensive skills to the mix after splitting his time this season between the Golden Bears and CP Dynamo in New York.

Can the California Patriots contend for a world championship in the Music City? World Hockey Hub will have exclusive coverage leading up to, and throughout, the 2022 15U World Selects Trophy. Be sure to follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok and YouTube for previews, updates, top prospects, highlights, interviews and more!

More From The World Hockey Hub

New England-based program returns to international tournament for second consecutive year

Exposure Hockey was a strong competitor in its World Selects tournament debut last spring. The 2006-born group competed in six games in Nashville; four of those were decided in a shootout. Three of those were losses, unfortunately, including its first-round exit in the playoffs, 3-2 to Southeast Elite.

The 2007 squad has a much different look to it than last year’s. Despite Exposure Hockey being based out of Northfield, Vermont, three-quarters of its roster this year consists of players from Minnesota. ‘The State of Hockey’ is a good place to start building, especially when those pieces include Cody Niesen, Jake Faith, Landon Cottingham, Gavin Katz and Malachi MacKinnon

Niesen is a 5-foot-9 goaltender who is athletic and has a high compete level. Being able to play behind top defenders will make the job a bit easier as well. Faith is big and strong, and patrols the blue line with a heavy shot. Cottingham headlines a group that’s loaded with great skaters, including Tommy Kertz and Henry Brzustewicz

Up front, Katz does a lot of the little things most forwards overlook. He’s strong on draws and responsible defensively while a player like MacKinnon has a real knack for getting to the net front and can play in a lot of different positions. Owen Chartier and Will Belle add some character to the group with a rugged playing style, size and strength. Can the team’s ability to do the little things in the game lead to big results in the tournament? Exposure Hockey will look to outdo its performance from a year ago to be a legitimate contender in the 2022 tournament.

World Hockey Hub will have exclusive coverage leading up to, and throughout, the 2022 15U World Selects Trophy. Be sure to follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok and YouTube for previews, updates, top prospects, highlights, interviews and more!

More From The World Hockey Hub