More than 300 youth players set for New England’s premier development camp

Originating in 2019, the “Sixty Camp” has put a main focus on creating an environment for players to test their skills among the best of their peers. The main focus of that first camp was the 2006 birth year. Since then, the event has grown exponentially to include multiple birth years. Players from the 2007-2011 age range will participate in this weekend’s showcase. Participants can expect a four-day event filled with on-ice drills, skills and competition. Between sessions, players are exposed to off-ice training and treated to informational presentations regarding college hockey, academics and nutrition, among other topics.

The camp’s professional coaching staff has included names in the past such as:

Jerry Keefe – Northeastern University

Paul Pearl – Cushing Academy 

Mike Souza – University of New Hampshire

Adam Nicholas – Director of Hockey Development, Montreal Canadiens 

Rod Braceful – Amateur Scout, Chicago Blackhawks

These esteemed coaches will be behind the benches, running practices, and conducting seminars for players and families. There will be no shortage of talent at this year’s camp. Some of the best youth players from this season include: 


Van Martin – Lovell Academy 

Hugo Daniel – North Yarmouth Academy

Tyler Clouthier – Ice Mavericks Hockey 

Jason Millet – South Kent Selects 

Garret Glaser – Shattuck-St. Mary’s

Glaser was a consistent source of strong goaltending in net for Shattuck this past season. He went 20-10-2 while compiling a 2.52 goals-against average and .913 save percentage with three shutouts. His knack to come up in big games backstopped his club to a championship appearance at USA Hockey Nationals in April. Millet built up on a strong first season with the Selects by upping his point total from 28 to 43. The solid 5-foot-10 defenseman knows how to add offense from the blue line. With an imposing 170 lbs. frame as well, opponents have a tough task of finding any space on the ice against him.


Danick St. Pierre – Seacoast Performance Academy 

Blake Cash – Seacoast Performance Academy 

Nick Sumner – Brooks School 

Ryan Poirier – New Hampshire Avalanche

Sully Wilmont – Idaho Junior Steelheads

Parker Sockseth – Seacoast Performance Academy 

St. Pierre finished the season second overall on SPA in total points with 86 (29G, 57A). Cash compiled seven goals and 21 points as well for the team. 


Richie Janniello – Long Island Gulls 

Brice Glanz – Windy City Storm 

Connor Wright – Middlesex School 

Dante Kader – Islanders Hockey Club 

James Cappozi – New Jersey Rockets


Enzo Levy – Seigneurs des Mille-Îles

Blake Ward – Boston Jr. Eagles

Mason Proulx – Seacoast Performance Academy

Roan Wilson – Top Gun 

Levy and Proulx both put up solid showings at the U13 World Selects Invitational in Chamonix, France. Levy recorded three goals and seven points for the Eastern U.S. Selects squad. He also averaged close to two points per game for Seigneurs des Mille-Îles, where he finished with 27 goals and 58 points in 30 games. Proulx joined Levy as a member of the Selects squad at the WSI, where he nabbed three goals and six points. 

Want more information on upcoming camps and showcases this summer? Follow WHH on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, Discord and YouTube for the latest news, updates and more!

Annual tournament kicked off milestone season on May 5th

One of the biggest youth hockey summer tournaments is in full swing this month. Over the course of five weekends, boys and girls from multiple birth years take to the ice in the Montreal Meltdown. The field for the 30th Anniversary event will be made up of more than 200 teams across 10 age groups. Two divisions have already kicked off action earlier this month, with the next installment set to begin this weekend. 

This year’s tournament starts with the youngest age groups of the 2014, 2015 and 2016 birth years and goes all the way up to an 18U division for ‘05, ‘06 and ‘07 birth years. Some age groups have as many as three different competition levels, presumably for AAA, AA and A-level teams. 

Division 2 and 3-level ‘09, ‘10, ‘11, ‘12 and ‘13 age groups got underway on May 5th. The 18U and ‘08 age groups followed last weekend with 52 teams in action. Friday, 48 more teams from the ‘11 age group as well as ‘12, ‘13 and ‘14 teams will compete. Then, on June 1st, ‘09, ‘10 and ‘15 age groups will take to the ice. There is a AAA-level weekend for ‘12 through ‘16 birth years, however, dates have not been made public.

The pool of teams is made up primarily of Eastern Canada representatives, with a few U.S. clubs also taking part in the festivities from as far south as Tennessee. Matchups have been taking place at either the Sportplexe Pierrefonds or Complexe Sportif St-Raphael. The 2013, 2014 and D1 2011 divisions will each be split into two groups. The 2012 division is one group of nine teams. After this month-long competition, the next big date on the Canadian calendar will be the Brick Invitational. That is slated to begin July 4th and run through July 10th. 

Fans can download an exclusive app to keep track of the latest scores, stats and standings HERE. Games will also be streamed live thanks to High Button Sports, which can be found HERE

For more on the Montreal Meltdown and other upcoming tournaments and showcases be sure to follow WHH on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, Discord and YouTube

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.

Ryabkin, Melikov led unstoppable offense to title

At the Championship Cup for 2007-born teams, Dynamo Moscow lived up to its reputation as one of the premier squads this season. Following a 4-0-0 group play stage, the club went on to win its next three matchups in the playoffs. During the tournament, Dynamo’s incredible well-rounded team game was on full display. From scoring in bunches, to holding opponents to little offense, Dynamo was perfect. It all culminated in the championship game, where Dynamo edged SKA Strelna in a 3-2 victory. 

Making a statement in group play

Dynamo was one of five WHH-ranked teams in attendance at this year’s championship. Along with SKA Strelna, Dynamo joined Severstal Cherapovets, Metallurg Magnitogorsk and Siberia in Group B. Group A was home to world-ranked Avangard Omsk, Lokomotiv 2004 Yaroslavl and Salavat Yulaev. Rounding out the Group A teams were Dynamo Minsk and Amur. Each club played one game against its fellow group teams for playoff seeding. Avangard and Dynamo Moscow were the only teams to go undefeated in the group stage, ensuring them decent positioning in the quarterfinals of the playoff round.

Dynamo out-scored opponents by a combined 45-3 and was the only Group B team with a positive goal differential. They burned out goal lights as they averaged an incredible 11 goals per game, to go along with three shutouts. It’s defense didn’t allow much, and when it did, solid goaltending from Vladimir Selivanov and Kirill Golubev came up clutch. Avangard finished with a plus-21 goal differential and also carved through fellow group teams with ease. 

Strelna’s Playoff Upset

It was an all-Dynamo opener when Moscow defeated Minsk 9-3 in the quarterfinals of the playoffs. Mikhail Melikov collected a hat trick, while Ivan Ryabkin dished out three assists. Ryabkin and Melikov once again were standouts for Dynamo in their next contest. The duo combined for five points in a 7-1 victory over Amur, which secured them a spot in the championship game. Avangard emerged victorious in its first playoff game as well when it bested Metallurg 6-3. Janusz Heybatov notched two goals and an assist and six other players collected at least two points. The win set up a meeting with SKA Strelna in the semifinals with a future date with Dynamo Moscow on the line. 

Strelna came out flying and opened up a two-goal lead in the first period. After regaining composure at the intermission, Avangard cut into the lead with a goal from Yegor Privalov. With about 10 minutes remaining in the game, Maxim Moiseev tied the game at 2 to force overtime. A little over three minutes into the extra frame, Alexander Moskalenko was the hero for Strelna when he tallied the game-winning goal. Roman Frass made a great individual rush up the ice and sent a perfect pass over to Moskalenko who sent a shot off the far post and in. 

Moscow, SKA Strelna keep it tight in final matchup

Dynamo Moscow once again got on the board first when Ivan Arkhipov tipped a shot from the point to kick off the scoring with 10 minutes left in the first period. With just over three minutes left, Melikov ripped a shot into the net to double Moscow’s lead. Ryabkin slid a pass over to Arseniy Anisimov, who then fed it through the crease to Melikov. Strelna, determined to change its fortunes, struck early in the second period to make it a 2-1 game. Erik Serbin rushed up the ice and created a partial two-on-one with Mikhail Lebdev. Lebdev finished the play when he shot the puck past the glove of Vladmir Selivanov. Ryabkin restored the two-goal lead when he one-timed a shot from the blue line through traffic with five minutes remaining in the second period. 

Strelna made it a close game once more when it cashed in on an early power play in the third period. After goaltender Matvey Karbainov made a great outlet pass from near his crease, Strelna gained the offensive zone. The puck was thrown on net and deflected off Egor Platanov and in. Only down a goal, the remainder of regulation saw Strelna with numerous opportunities to tie the game, but a strong Dynamo defense held firm. Selivanov also came up with crucial saves down the final stages of the game as well to secure the championship. Ryabkin (10G, 15A) and Melikov (10G, 10A) finished as the top two scorers among all skaters. 

Want more coverage of Russia and its top youth hockey players and teams? Follow WHH on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, Discord and YouTube for the latest news, updates and more!

Expands the company’s global youth hockey events in Europe and North America

Winnipeg, Manitoba, CAN — Today, PLAY Hockey announced the acquisition of the World Hockey Group’s (WHG) North American and European events.  The acquisition expands PLAY Hockey’s global youth hockey events in Europe and North America.  With the addition of the WHG, PLAY Hockey is now proud to host guests at over 90 events each year in addition to operating over 400 youth hockey teams.

“This strategic acquisition allows us to align the two most prestigious youth hockey brands.”  said Josh Thiem, President of PLAY Hockey. “This could not have been completed without the excellent work of our corporate development team that is constantly looking for opportunities to enhance our portfolio of hockey events, and by extension, the opportunities and experiences we are able to provide to players and families.”

The addition of the WHG will merge two prominent youth hockey tournaments hosted in Europe, the World Youth Championships and World Selects Invitational (WSI), creating the most elite youth hockey event in the world.  PLAY Hockey is also proud to add the North American WSI hockey events to its roster. 

“This allows us to expand global opportunities for elite youth hockey players and scale up experiences for players,” said Sergai Zak, World Selects Invitational general manager.  “We will now be able to deliver even more valuable opportunities for players and their families across the world.”

About PLAY Hockey

PLAY Hockey Canada and its solely owned subsidiary PLAY Hockey USA which operates as PLAY Hockey owns and operates youth hockey events in countries worldwide including Canada, USA and Europe.

About the World Hockey Group

World Hockey Group specializes in sports tours and travel throughout the United States, Canada, and Europe. We offer a wide variety of experiences which includes organizing a tailored sports tour for your specific needs. Players practice, compete against, and participate in fun activities with players from many different countries. Guests also tour their destination cities, taking in area attractions including museums, historic sites, and natural wonders. 

Alex McLean, Cooper Soller, Viljo Kahkonen among top performers from WSI Day 1 action

The best 2008-born youth hockey players in the world took to the ice at the 15U World Selects Invitational on Wednesday. Thirty-four teams from 12 countries squared off in Nashville, Tennessee, for the 14th annual WSI. Teams began pool play with two games each on the opening day of the tournament. 

In 12 hours, more than 30 games went down across three rinks in the Music City. A lot of action crammed into a short amount of time saw plenty of standout performers. Canada’s Alex McLean, American-born Cooper Soller and Finnish forward Viljo Kahkonen were among those to make an early statement on the international stage.

CCM Selects tops in the standings, leading scorers

Coming into the tournament, CCM Selects were one of the early favorites to perform well at the 15U WSI. Alex McLean being on the roster was one of the reasons for that, after scoring 112 points for the 14U Pittsburgh Penguins Elite this past season. He delivered in a big way in the first game of the tournament, with a six-point performance in a 12-3 win over Toronto Elite Hockey

That game was the largest margin of victory among all contests on opening day. While CCM Selects were certainly thought of as a top team in the field, the dominant win validated just that. 

Their second game of the day came against another North American-based program in Top Speed Hockey. And again, provided little resistance as CCM rolled to a 9-1 win. Defenseman Zach Nyman was a standout on the No. 1 ranked Vaughan Kings this season. He proved why with back-to-back three-point performances as a major factor in both wins for CCM Selects. 

With 21 goals in just the first two games of the tournament, CCM Selects players dominate the scoring leaderboard. McLean, Nyman, Maximus Crete, Avry Antsis and Rudolfs Berzkalns are all among the top producers at the WSI thus far.

Soller doing it all for Carolina Whalers at WSI

For as dominant of wins as CCM Selects has had in its first two games, there have been plenty of tight contests out of the gate.

A matchup between the Carolina Whalers and Kazakhstan Selects was just that, tied 3-3 with under 10 minutes to play in regulation. Then, Cooper Soller struck not once but twice in the waning moments to give the Whalers a 5-3 victory. Soller factored in on all five goals scored in the win, plus an assist in their 5-2 loss earlier in the day. The 5-foot-9 forward is no stranger to producing offense; he scored 31 goals and 76 points for the No. 1 ranked team in the U.S., Shattuck-St. Mary’s this season. 

Factoring in on six of his team’s seven goals, no other player in the tournament has accounted for more of his team’s offense so far than Soller.

Finland’s best are too much to handle on Day 1

Viljo Kähkönen split time this past season playing up an age group for HIFK’s U16 team. The other half, he spent playing up even further with the club’s U18 team. It didn’t matter where he played, he produced, with 10 goals and 29 points in 29 games between the two rosters. It should come as no surprise that now playing against the best of his 2008 birth year, Kähkönen continues to produce at an impressive clip. 

In Finland Selects’ first game of the tournament Kähkönen scored a pair of goals and assisted on two more. That led to a dominant 7-0 win over DraftDay Red. Him and fellow HIFK teammate Oliver Torkki could prove to be an impressive tandem at the WSI. Torkki was one of the leading scorers at the U16 age group in Finland this season. He picked up a pair of points alongside Kähkönen as well.

McLouth, Cruitt with strong showings in net

DraftDay Black got a 28-save performance out of Andrew McLouth in Game 1 of the WSI. They needed every one of those stops against ALPS Selects as Noah Barton scored the game-winning goal with 4:08 left in regulation. The 2-1 final was one of 14 games decided by two goals or less on the opening day of action. 

McLouth is a 5-foot-11 goaltender who played for HoneyBaked this season. His showing in net was one of the better performances on Day 1, fueling a DraftDay Black victory.

He wasn’t the only one to steal a victory for his team. Andover, Minnesota native, Cash Cruitt stopped 24-of-25 shots faced against Pro Hockey White. That helped his Minnesota Blades team get out to a 1-0-0 start to the tournament with a 4-1 win despite being out-shot 25-20 in the contest.

Other standouts in net include Kazkhstan Selects Arseniy Kuchkovskiy, who’s stopped 37-of-40 shots in two games. ALPS Selects goaltenders Lenny Oppikofer and Nicolas Arcilla strung together back-to-back games of 24 and 25 saves. Each have allowed just two goals against, however, ALPS was unable to win either of those games despite the strong showings in net.

16U WSI doubles down this week in Nashville

The 11-team 16U World Selects Invitational is running concurrent to the 15U tournament in the Music City this week. After six games on Day 1, NorthStar Elite Green sits comfortably in first place. A pair of goals from Cruz Martin helped NorthStar to a 6-1 win over Black Bear Selects. Black Bear was the lone team to play two games on opening day. They fell to Performance Hockey 5-1 as well.

Of the six games on Day 1, three were decided by two goals or fewer. TPH Selects and DevCo Hockey needed a shootout to settle their 2-2 tie. Michael Zajac’s goal, as well as Marcus Johnson’s three stops, were the difference in the shootout for TPH Selects. 

Tournament action continues Thursday with 10 pool-play games.

Want more coverage of the World Selects Invitational? Visit our WSI Hub or follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, Discord and YouTube for the latest news!

‘08 Jr. Greyhounds, ‘11 Marlboros crack Canadian Top 10s

Following a solid showing at the U15 Ontario Hockey Federation championships, the 2008-born Soo Jr. Greyhounds carved out a spot in the Top 10 for the first time this season. Skating to a 6-1-1 record, they handled most teams they faced, including No. 3 Elgin-Middlesex Canucks. But it was two matchups against No. 1 Vaughan Kings that allowed them to stand out. In their first meeting, the Jr. Greyhounds bested the Kings 2-0. In a rematch with the championship on the line, Vaughan regained its form to shut out Soo 4-0. Still, a solid showing with two wins against ranked opponents gave the Soo enough of a jolt to crack the top-tier Canadian of their birth year. 

Since April 15th, the Toronto Marlboros have collected three massive victories to propel them into the ‘11 Canadian Top 10. With a 6-5 win over No. 2 Toronto Jr. Canadiens and a two-game sweep of No. 10 Toronto Nationals, the Marlboros made a statement among fellow Ontario programs. Going back to the beginning of the month, the Marlboros have faced off with the Jr. Canadiens three times before their most recent win. In those matchups, the Marlboros went 1-1-1. In the two battles with the Nationals, the Marlboros outscored them 12-5. 

Silver Lions top Strelna in ‘06 St. Petersburg meeting

Coming in as winners of their past two contests, the SKA Silver Lions made the jump from No. 5 to No. 4 with victories over SKA Strelna and Dynamo St. Petersburg. Back on April 1st, Strelna edged past the Silver Lions in overtime, setting the stage for a rematch between the two on April 15th. Resulting in a 5–3 win, the Silver Lions leapfrogged Strelna among the Russian ‘06 Top 10. 

With No. 5 CSKA Moscow idle, SKA St. Petersburg nabbed two victories to move up to No. 4 among 2008-born teams in Russia. One of those wins — a shootout victory against No. 10 SKA Strelna — continued a current four-game winning streak for the team as well. St. Petersburg has been one of the most consistent teams this season, currently sitting with a 41-0-2 record. Before a 3-2 overtime loss to Dynamo St. Petersburg on April 1st, you would have to go all the way back to January 11th to find SKA’s last loss. 

Markham bests Sun County en route to ‘11 OHF championship

Another team reaping the benefits of a major win against a fellow ranked club was the ‘11 Markham Majors. A matchup with the Sun County Panthers in the U13 All-Ontario Championships had significant tournament and rankings implications on the line. Following a scoreless first period, Markham would strike three times in the second frame to take a 3-1 lead into the third period. Justin Boudreau netted his second goal of the game to secure the 4-1 final. The Majors would go on to finish 7-0-1 with a championship and a new No. 2 spot among the Top 10 in the country. Sun County, who finished 3-4-1, dropped to No. 3. 

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.

Top prospects, leading scorers, tournament MVPs, set sights on junior hockey next fall

The Ontario Hockey League (OHL) conducted its annual 2023 Priority Selection, consisting of 2007-born youth hockey prospects. Players eligible to be selected must be from the province of Ontario. Or, American-born players from as far north as Michigan and Wisconsin, as far east as New York, and as far west as Iowa, Missouri, Arkansas and Louisiana. In total, 300 players would be selected from 79 different youth hockey organizations. 

Projected to go first overall, Matthew Schaefer did in fact go to the Erie Otters with the top pick. He was the first of 12 Halton Hurricanes to be selected over the weekend. The top teams represented in the OHL Priority Selection coincidentally correlated to the top five teams ranked in the country. What’s that mean? The No. 1 and No. 2 teams in Canada — Toronto Marlboros and Toronto Jr. Canadiens — also produced 15 draft picks per team. The No. 3, No. 4 and No. 5 ranked teams followed in order as well. Peterborough Petes had 13 players called, while Halton had a dozen. Then, York-Simcoe Express rounded it out with 11 players selected.

Just weeks after winning the U16 OHL Cup and being named tournament MVP, Jake O’Brien went eighth overall to Brantford. His JRC teammates Luca Romano and Nico Addy went in the first round as well.

A Marlboros player didn’t come off the OHL Priority Selection board until the 15th pick, when Jeremy Martin went to the Flint Firebirds. It’s the first time since 2008 that a player from the Marbloros wasn’t selected in the top ten picks. Despite the delay, however, 14 other players including William Moore, Kieran Witkowski and Luke Dragusica would go in the 11 rounds. 

With two first-round picks, Niagara doubled down on centers, taking highly-touted prospect Ryan Roobroeck at No. 2 and Mississauga Rebels’ Ethan Czata with the No. 5 pick. As the second overall pick, Roobroeck becomes the highest London Jr. Knights player to be selected since Ryan Suzuki went first overall in 2017. 

Forty-eight players were selected from U.S.-based organizations. None produced more than Little Caesars, with nine selections. They’ve been the No. 1-ranked ’07 team in the world for much of the ‘22-23 season. Three of its players made the U.S. National Team Development Program’s (USNTDP) U-17 team for next fall. That didn’t stop the Saginaw Spirit from selecting a pair of Caesars players in Charlie Tretheway (96th overall) and Will Horcoff (98th overall). In total, seven players selected to the NTDP would also be selected in the OHL Priority Selection over the weekend.

Want more coverage of junior hockey drafts this off-season? Be sure to follow WHH on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, Discord and YouTube

Sioux Falls locks in commitment from Mount St. Charles defenseman

On Tuesday, the Sioux Falls Stampede announced Matthew Grimes had signed a tender agreement for the 2023-24 season. The move means Sioux Falls will forgo its first-round pick in the 2023 USHL Phase-I Draft in order to acquire Grimes’ player rights. In turn, Grimes will play at least 55 percent of the team’s games next season.

Grimes was a standout defenseman for Mount this season, scoring 13 goals and 56 points in 63 games. Four points came at 15O USA Hockey Nationals, before being eliminated by champion Los Angeles Jr. Kings in the quarterfinals. 

He’s a 5-foot-10 left-hand shot from Locust Valley, New York. Grimes is just the third player in Sioux Falls history to sign a tender agreement. He’s also the fourth player from the 2007 birth year to sign a USHL tender agreement this season. Masun Fleece signed with Fargo Force two weeks ago. The Dubuque Fighting Saints signed Liam Kilfoil and Lev Katzin signed with the Green Bay Gamblers

Tender agreements are used when USHL teams identify prospects they believe can have an immediate impact in their lineup next fall. They can sign as many as two players to a tender, but in the process, will have to surrender draft picks. The final day for USHL teams to sign prospects to a tender agreement is April 29th. The Phase-I Draft will take place on May 2nd, with the Phase-II Draft following on the next day.

Follow World Hockey Hub on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, Discord and YouTube for the latest news on top youth hockey prospects!

Matthew Schaefer an obvious No. 1? Four Jr. Knights go in Rd 1

The Erie Otters are on the clock for the 2023 OHL Priority Selection process set to begin on April 21st. They will have their pick of the litter when choosing amongst the top 2007-born prospects in youth hockey. Their first overall selection will be the first of a 15-round event as OHL member clubs identify players for the future of their respective organizations.

The top draft-eligible prospect in the OHL jurisdiction, William Moore, is already committed to play for the U.S. National Team Development Program (USNTDP). He played the 2022-23 season with the Toronto Marlboros, and with dual citizenship, is set to represent Team USA next fall. That, in all likelihood, takes him out of consideration for the first overall pick. In the process, leaves Erie’s decision wide open to choose between a variety of players with varying skill sets at virtually every position. How will the first round unfold? We offer up a look at the first 22 picks coming up this Friday:

1. Erie Otters – Matthew Schaefer, U16 Halton Hurricanes

Schaefer was one of, if not, the best player at the 2023 Canada Winter Games. As captain of Team Ontario, he scored the game-winning goal in overtime to clinch the national championship back in February. On top of that, he scored 12 goals and 32 points in 25 games for Halton. Despite the Hurricanes being eliminated in pool play of the U16 OHL Cup, Schaefer still finished second among defensemen in scoring at the tournament. He’s a do-it-all defender that would instantly bolster Erie’s blue line.  

2. Niagara IceDogs – Brady Martin, U16 Waterloo Wolves

The right-handed forward scored 56 points in 23 games for Waterloo this season. He tied for the tournament lead with eight goals in six games at the U16 OHL Cup earlier this month. On top of that, he scored 85 points in 34 ALLIANCE Hockey games this season. He’s a physical presence on the ice with a heavy shot. Teams looking for a little sandpaper in their lineup may find just that with Martin 

3. Soo Greyhounds – Ryan Roobroeck, U16 London Jr. Knights

One of the most talked about prospects in the class because of his size, skating ability and puck skills. Roobroeck is listed at 6-foot-2 but looks even bigger on skates. He finished among the top skaters in points at the Canada Winter Games; a tournament that features some of the best prospects in the 2007-birth year. He was pivotal in Team Ontario’s run to a championship, scoring four of the team’s final nine goals in en route to a gold medal. He’s won everywhere he goes, and Roobroeck will likely make an instant impact when selected.

4. Kingston Frontenacs – Owen Griffin, U16 York-Simcoe Express

Much smaller in stature than the ones going ahead of him here, but Owen Griffin is extremely creative with the puck on his stick. He has a knack for finding open guys and the ability to create passing lanes with great on-ice vision. He led the ETAHL in goals (51) and assists (43) to help YSE to a 55-15-7 record this season. 

5. Niagara IceDogs – Tyler Hopkins, U16 Halton Hurricanes

He finished second in the SCTA in scoring behind teammate Tanner Lam (more on him in a bit). Hopkins was one-third of the most dominant line in the league for Halton. Going to Niagara here, the IceDogs get a burner who can get to top speed in just a few strides. Not only is he fast with his feet, but Hopkins can make plays at top speed as well. He can skate, he can score and he could prove to be a force in the OHL because of it.

6. Oshawa Generals – Quinn Beauchesne, U18 Nepean Raiders

The second defenseman off the board, appropriate for a prospect that may have been the best defender at the Canada Winter Games, second only to Schaefer. He played up an age group with the Nepean Raiders, and produced 35 points in 28 games to finish fourth among HEO defensemen. May be a bit of a challenge to crack the lineup right away, as Oshawa could return as many as five of its seven defensemen from the ‘22-23 season.

7. Mississauga Steelheads – Luca Romano, U16 Toronto Jr. Canadiens

The Jr. Canadiens’ most effective offensive player. Romano has a knack for attacking the middle of the ice, plus finishing off the play with a scoring touch. Looks a bit smaller on the ice than what he’s listed at 5-foot-11 and 165 lbs. However, he has the potential to provide Brantford with a boost to the middle of its lineup, as he creates so many quality scoring chances in a variety of ways.

8. Brantford Bulldogs – Jacob Cloutier, 15O Pittsburgh Penguins Elite

He led PPE in scoring with 81 points from the wing. Cloutier has a good feel for the game, especially without the puck. He’s got his head up to make smart plays coming out of the defensive zone and a nice tendency to find soft areas in the offensive zone. His ability to make positive plays at both ends of the rink would be a nice addition to the Bulldogs’ lineup.

9. Sudbury Wolves – Tanner Lam, U16 Halton Hurricanes

Talk about puck skills with Lam. He’s got a tremendous gift for creating offense on his own with the ability to get past defenders 1-on-1 and also find shooting lanes with little space to operate. That can sometimes get him into trouble trying to do a bit too much at times. However, the good significantly outweighs the bad with Lam, as he led the SCTA in scoring with 71 points in 35 games. Plenty of upside to like here taking Lam near the end of the Top 10.

10. Kitchener Rangers – Rylan Singh, U16 York-Simcoe Express 

A slippery defender with the ability to skate his way out of danger, be it walking the blue line in the offensive zone or evading forecheckers below his own goal line. Singh is extremely active in the rush, pushing the back end every chance he gets. That makes him a dangerous threat offensively, as evidenced by his 16 goals and 65 points this season.

11. Kitchener Rangers – Henry Brzustewicz, 16U North Jersey Avalanche

The first American off the board, may be a reach at this particular spot but Brzustewicz to Kitchener makes sense for a few reasons. First, Henry’s brother Hunter was a standout defenseman for the Rangers this past season. Second, Kitchener’s D corps is on the older side, and adding Henry would be a perfect fit given the need and pre-existing family connection. Third, with the compensatory pick at 10, the 11th pick is a bit of a luxury. They know what they would be getting with the Brothers Brzustewicz on the back end, and adding Henry would be a good get for the Rangers.

12. Owen Sound Attack – Matheas Stark, U16 Toronto Marlboros

Very smart with the puck on his stick. Stark is not one to put pucks into danger areas or take unnecessary risks. That makes him a very reliable forward that would pair well with Oshawa’s top scorers. He may not be super dynamic or have a crazy high end like picks 1, 2 or 3 here. However, Stark is the type of player you could pair with that high-end player in your lineup to round out a top line. 

13. Peterborough Petes – Ethan Weir, U16 London Jr. Knights

He could find a role similar to Stark, as a fantastic complimentary player to Peterborough’s current top scorers. Problem is, the Petes may lose much of their scoring from the ‘22-23 season. Can Weir be a source of offense? Maybe. However, his value is more geared towards the smart, little plays that build momentum into bigger plays. Good zone exits and entries, no unforced turnovers and risky plays kept to a minimum. He’s going to be a good role player for a team in the back half of the first round.

14. Guelph Storm – Chase Hull, U18 Renfrew Wolves

Another under-ager that played up in the U18 HEO, Hull was the highest-scoring ‘07-born player in the league. He scored 33 goals and 63 points for the first-place Renfrew Wolves as they went 35-4-0 in league play. He has a very quick release which is a tad surprising, given his 5-foot-10 frame. However, that should put Hull in a good spot at the next level, especially considering Guelph could lose three of its top four scorers. 

15. Flint Firebirds – Cameron Reid, 15O Bishop Kearney Selects

He was second in the States among ‘07-born defensemen, with 69 points in 75 games. Reid had the ability to take over games for BK this season, flashing his footwork and puck skills in one fell swoop. He’s the definition of a quarterback at the position, constantly communicating with his D partner and teammates on the ice. Firebirds would be getting a leader here who could positively impact the team in more ways than just hockey.

16. Saginaw Spirit – Carson Cameron, U16 Central Ontario Wolves

Another member of Team Ontario from the Canada Winter Games, Cameron was part of a loaded blue line in that February tournament. His skating ability sets him apart from most on the back end. Great use of his edges, very mobile and can transition from defense to offense with ease. Cameron scored 12 goals and 34 points in 30 ETAHL games; fourth among league defensemen. 

17. Sarnia Sting – Shamar Moses, U16 Don Mills Flyers

His size makes him a problem for defenders in-zone. Moses is 6-foot-3 and 210 lbs, and he knows how to use his frame to his advantage. A true puck protector that doesn’t lose many board battles. On top of that, he’s able to move pucks to teammates in space that usually leads to positive offensive plays. Moses would fit right in with a Sting team that was the third tallest in the league; 10 players listed at 6-foot-2 or taller.

18. London Knights – Parker Snelgrove, U16 London Jr. Knights

May not be the fastest prospect in the 2007 birth year, but he does get the most out of it. Snelgrove is relentless on a forecheck, just out-working opposing skaters to get to loose pucks. His motor is what propelled the Jr. Knights’ offense and opened up space for players like Roobroeck to have the season he did. Snelgrove will be a great depth forward who can bring energy and kill penalties right out of the gate.

19. Barrie Colts – Will McFadden, U16 Peterborough Petes

Hit the 100-point mark for the Petes in 44 ETAHL games. He added nine more points in the OHL Cup before they were eliminated in the semifinals. McFadden has a good feel for the play as it develops and regularly knows where he wants to go with the puck before it gets to him. A prospect that can be a key piece to a team’s offense without being the main focal point of it. His value comes in many forms, including a playmaker on a PP unit or stout defender on a depth line.

20. Windsor Spitfires – Aiden Young, U16 London Jr. Knights

Not a lot of lightning in his game but plenty of thunder. He won’t wow you with fancy plays, but Young will very casually make routine ones that lead to big things. Zone exits up the wall to space getting out of the zone. Driving wide, leaving a drop pass to space for teammates. He does a lot of the little things that flashier players don’t want to do. Young will pair well with forwards in any other lineup here, but Windsor would get a nice contributor with the 20th pick here.

21. North Bay Battalion – Ivan Galiyanov, U16 Vaughan Kings

Part of the Vaughan Kings’ unlikely run to an OHL Cup final, Galiyanov scored 54 points in 64 games this season. He’s smart with the puck, not just in the attacking zone but also defensively. Galiyanov limits turnovers and dangerous plays by keeping his head up and making smart decisions. His sound positioning and effort in the D-zone makes him a low-risk, high-reward player at the end of the first round for North Bay.

22. Ottawa 67’s – Jake O’Brien, U16 Toronto Jr. Canadiens

An historic performance at the OHL Cup propelled O’Brien up the draft boards. He earned tournament MVP honors after producing 17 points in seven games; eighth-most in a single OHL Cup. He’s most dangerous without the puck, able to slash his way into open space in the offensive zone. When teammates found him open, he found ways to put the puck in the net. That certainly carries weight, and could make him a nice pickup here at the end of the first round.

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