Czech Selects go ‘from worst to first’ in impressive playoff turnaround

In one of the more stunning outcomes in World Selects Invitationals history, the Czech Selects shocked the girls youth hockey world last week, winning the 14U championship. 

After the conclusion of pool play, the Czechs were fifth out of six teams in the standings, and it’s only regulation win was over the sixth-seeded Alps Selects. When the elimination rounds began, the Czechs needed a 2-0 win over Germany Selects in the quarterfinals. That win gave them a rematch with top-seeded Sweden Selects; a team that had beaten them 4-1 just three days earlier. The Swedes had dominated their way to the top spot, out-scoring opponents 26-3 in round-robin action. 

It was a tough semifinal, but a pair of goals from Alena Luxemburgová would change the tides in the rematch. That early offensive surge helped the Czechs knock off the No. 1 team 3-1 and advance to the gold medal game.

The stage was set for the Czechs to take on the No. 2-seeded Finland Selects; another team they lost to earlier in the tournament. Again, this rematch would be all about the Czechs as Merkéta Kafková scored four goals to lead the team to a 6-1 victory and WSI championship.

A pair of Finns Yenna Kolmonen and Julia Kuhta led round-robin action in scoring with 12 points and 10 points respectively. Eventual champion Aneta Florýková also had 10 points. Goaltender Wilma Hallbeck played 139 minutes of scoreless hockey and didn’t allow a single goal against until playoffs. France Selects Lysa Nogaretto had a .914 save percentage, stopping 53-of-58 shots.

It’s just the second time that the Czech Selects have won a girls WSI event and the first time since 2015. This tournament in particular is a unique accomplishment after the WSI had been on pause for the past two years. Circumstances surrounding COVID-19 and international travel had made such events virtually impossible to operate. However, in 2022, the situation was such that several European countries were able to travel in some capacity and the six-team event was able to go off without a hitch. 

The early success of this event — and the 12U Boys Elite event — is an encouraging step back towards normalcy regarding WSI. The World Selects Trophy in Nashville will feature 30 teams from eight different countries next week as well. Coupling all that together with the remaining slate of WSI events this month, and it adds up to a lot of progress for a series that was on hold for the better part of 24 months. After a full slate of tournaments this spring, the goal for 2023 will certainly be to have a full slate of teams in the competition, and the return of North American programs in European events.

Want more coverage of the World Selects Invitationals this spring? There’s seven events over the next two weeks, and WHH will have exclusive coverage of the top teams, players and champions. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok and YouTube for the last news!

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Underage 2008-born forward could lead the way for 15U squad at Nashville

Based out of the Twin Cities of Minnesota, the TC Selects will come to the World Selects Trophy in Nashville with a heavy contingent from Minneapolis and St. Paul metropolitan area. Nearly half the roster will have roots from ‘The Land of 10,000 Lakes’ while the other half stems from places like Colorado, New York, Connecticut, Michigan and Tennessee.

When the puck drops on May 11th, it will be the first time this group of players will share the ice. Coach Dan Johnson said that presents some unique challenges for the team when they arrive in the Music City.

“There are a handful of the Minnesota kids that have played with my groups for a few years now,” he said. “[But] we haven’t played together as a team so it will be important that we gel quickly and become a team fast.”

It’s possible that even as an underage 2008-born player, forward Cole Bumgarner could prove to be a standout performer at the 15U tournament in two weeks. While it’s rare for an underager to play up an age group at this particular tournament, the ones that have done so have shined brightly. Most recently, names like 2004-born players Shane Wright and Matthew Savoie were standouts at the ‘03 tournament in 2018, while 2005-born Connor Bedard played up the following year. Wright and Savoie are now considered top-10 picks in the upcoming NHL Draft while Bedard is a candidate for the first-overall selection in 2023.

Bumgarner is 6-foot-1 and 178 pounds, and played varsity hockey this winter as a 13-year-old. He has four goals and 18 points in 26 games. He should get significant help from fellow forwards Matvey Stremiakov and Peyton Chase. Stremiakov has great skill and is a threat with the puck on his stick while Chase is a big body who plays with an edge.

6-foot-5 defenseman Mace’o Phillips will be hard to overlook. Not only does he have a great frame, Phillips is a tremendous athlete who possesses great skill with room to grow. Him and Gentry Academy D-man Jacob Guille will anchor the back end for TC Selects. 

Logan Nowlin and Oliver Scriver are a strong goaltending tandem from Benilde-St. Margaret’s. They will backstop TC Selects with a combination of athleticism, technical skills and size.

This will be the program’s debut in the World Selects tournament series. TC Selects is a strong spring-summer program out of Minnesota that regularly competes in top showcases. However, it has yet to compete in a World Selects event… until now.

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!

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Kings capture first U14 OHL Cup; Jr. Canadiens, Lakers win big at U15, U13

The Vaughan Kings did it first.

With a 8-1 victory over the York-Simcoe Express on Saturday afternoon, the Kings captured the first-ever U14 OHL Cup.

The new tournament — an expansion of the iconic U16 OHL Cup – featured 12 of the top U14 AAA teams in the province of Ontario, and it was played over the course of three days. 

The inaugural event was hosted by the Ontario Minor Hockey Association and played at Joshua’s Creek Arena in Oakville, Ontario. Here is a look at the teams that were invited:

“The OHL is proud to partner with the OMHA to present this exciting opportunity, and we look forward to an outstanding weekend of hockey in Oakville,” said OHL Commissioner David Branch prior to the event. “Occurring annually since 2003, the OHL Cup Showcase for U16 AAA players has included familiar names such as Connor McDavid, John Tavares and Steven Stamkos, in addition to countless players that have played in the OHL and gone on to pursue various careers with the use of their OHL Scholarship.

“The Ontario Hockey League is very proud to be a part of presenting a championship tournament of this magnitude to the U14 AAA category.”

The Kings, a team that entered the tournament as a heavy favorite after winning the GTHL, lived up to the hype, going 4-0-1 in tournament play en route to the title. 

“It’s a little surreal,” said Kings head coach Daniel Spivak, who worked alongside a pair of OHL alumni in assistants Justin DiBenedetto and Mark Cundari. “The boys came hard, and after two years of interrupted hockey seasons, this is awfully rewarding for our guys who never quit and kept putting in the work.

“All of these guys bought in,” Spivak continued. “As a coach, it’s all you can hope for. They pushed through, they never stopped and it’s remarkable.”

After opening play with a 2-2 tie against the London Jr. Knights, Vaughan rebounded with some dominating wins — 9-3 over the Oakville Rangers, 7-3 over the Middlesex Chiefs in the quarterfinals and 10-2 over the OMHA champion Peterborough Petes in the semifinals.

Caleb Malhotra, son of former NHL star Manny Malhotra, led the tournament in scoring with 13 points – five of which came in the final game. Ben Bowen, Jager Pain and Alessandro Di lorio all had 11 in the five games.

A Perfect Season For The Jr. Canadiens

The Toronto Jr. Canadiens just wrapped up an undefeated season with the U15 All-Ontario Championships title.

With an 8-0 run through the Ontario Hockey Federation playoffs, the Canadiens finished the season 50-0-4, dominating the competition en route to the U15AAA All-Ontario championship.

The Jr. Canadiens out-scored the competition 48-8 in those eight games; they logged four shutouts during the timeframe.

Chase Yanni and Nico Addy led the team in scoring with 15 points apiece, while Jake O’Brien had 13 and Simon Wang had 11.

Twins Nico and Alex Armellin split the time between the pipes for the Jr. Canadiens, both winning four games apiece. Nico Finished with a .944 save percentage, and Alex had a .934 mark; both recorded 1.00 goals-against averages and two shutouts. 

Yanni was presented with the top scorer award at the conclusion of the tournament; Halton Hurricanes blueliner Casey Bridgewater was named top defenseman and the Elgin-Middlesex ChiefsMatthew Koprowski was named most-sportsmanlike. 

Huron-Perth captures U13AAA All-Ontario title

At the U13 level, it was the Huron-Perth Lakers emerging victorious.

The Lakers topped the Don Mills Flyers 3-2 in the title game to secure the U15AAA All-Ontario championship.

It was some sweet revenge for Huron-Perth, after Don Mills had prevailed 6-3 in the preliminary round.  That was one of two losses in the playoffs for Huron-Perth, as they also had to overcome a 6-5 loss to Ottawa Valley to earn their spot in the elimination round.

Lyndon Cabral led the Lakers in scoring with 15 points in the eight games; Kane Barch was just behind with 13. Maddyx Chaput posted nine, while Clark deBoer and Hudsyn Chaput both finished with eight.

Vaughn Barr played in seven of the eight games between the pipes, logging a 3.50 goals-against average and .840 save percentage. Andrew Menlove played in two contests, as well.

The All-Ontario championships effectively mark the conclusion to the 2021-22 winter season. Attention now shifts to the “off-season” — a phrase used lightly in AAA circles, as showcase season, selects teams, tours and tryouts are right around the corner for many high-end players.

Want more coverage of the top teams and players in youth hockey? Be sure to follow us on FacebookInstagramTwitterTikTok and YouTube for more!

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Uplandia Trophy and Resport Trophy host top-level European teams in season finale

Two iconic events marked the end of one season and the beginning of another in Europe. The U14 Uplandia Trophy and U13 Resport Trophy were hosted just outside of Stockholm, Sweden, welcoming 68 teams from nine different countries. These tournaments were a symbolic season-ending championship for many, as countries like Sweden and Finland do not have national tournaments at these age groups.

U14 Uplandia Trophy

Held in five different arenas just north of the capital city, 28 AAA-level teams were split up into two divisions, as well as a AA division of 16 teams. 

The top four teams from each of the AAA Divisions advanced to the playoffs. Täby HC went undefeated to earn the top seed, while Slovakia-based HC Slovan Bratislava earned the top seed in the other division. The rest of the eight-team playoffs were rounded out by Tappara Blue from Finland, and Nacka HK, Boo HC, SDE Hockey, AIK Hockey and HA74 from Sweden.

Täby continued its dominance in playoffs, knocking off the No. 8-seed AIK and No. 5-seed Nacka to get to the championship game. However, No. 6-seed SDE was able to pull off three straight upsets against Boo, Tappara Blue and ultimately, Täby in the finale to take home the hardware. 

Forward Viggo Bjӧrck led all scorers with eight goals and 27 points in eight games for Täby. His teammate Max Johannesen had 17 points in last year’s Report Trophy, and surpassed that performance with 24 points alongside Bjӧrck in this season’s tournament. Norway’s Niklas Aarm Olsen followed behind with 11 goals and 19 points in just six games for Vålerenga IF

Goaltending was exceptional as well over the weekend. Frode Wadstromer was in net for all seven of SDE’s tournament wins with a .950 save percentage and just 1.14 goals-against average. 

All participants qualified for playoffs — in a tiered format — with the top four from each division qualifying for the top tier, the next four in the second tier, and so one. While Täby won the top tier as the best of the best, Finland’s Pelicans won the tier-2 playoffs, while Norway’s Frisker Asker won the tier-3 playoffs and HV71 won a four-team tier-4 playoffs. 

U13 Resport Trophy

Just south of the nation’s capital, Resort featured 24 teams across AAA and AA Divisions. Both Kållered SK and Kiekko-Espoo Blues went undefeated in pool play of the top division, with Tappara Blue going 4-0-1 as well.  

Similar to Uplandia, all teams qualified for playoffs as well, with the top eight competing in the top tier and the bottom eight in the standings going onto the second-tier playoffs.

Kållered and Kiekko validated their top spots in the tournament, as both would roll through the first two rounds to collide in the championship game. The matchup lived up to the hype, as the two played to a 2-2 tie until Gustav Corneliusson scored the game-winning goal for Kållered.

Four of Corneliusson’s five points came in the elimination rounds to help his team to a championship. Teammates Wiggo Forsberg and Olle Willén led Kållered with 10 points apiece. Goaltender William Thegerstrӧm played arguably the biggest role in the championship run, winning all seven games and allowing just four goals against with a .965 save percentage. 

Finland’s Max Syrjäläinen led all skaters in scoring with 19 points in seven games for second-place Kiekko. Teammate Felix Wollsten factored in on a lot of the offense as well with a tournament-high 13 assists.

Kiekko-Espoo had good success in the tier-2 playoffs as well, as its EPS squad not only made the championship game, but also defeated Gӧta Traneberg 4-1 to win it. In the AA playoffs, Värmdӧ HC beat SDE Hockey 3-2 in the championship game. 

This year’s Resport Trophy and Uplandia Trophy — both operated by the team at World Hockey Group – Europe — featured teams from Sweden, Finland, Norway, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Latvia, Kazakhstan, Lithuania and Israel. The events serve as a bookend to the current season and a launching point into the next season for European teams. 

WHH has year-long coverage of the biggest events in youth hockey! Be sure to follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok and YouTube for more news and updates from around the world.

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States compete for bragging rights in unique spring hockey tournament

The second annual New England States Rivalry Challenge hosted roughly 185 athletes from four different states. Teams at the 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010 birth years battled it out for state supremacy in this uniquely designed spring tournament that continues to grow in popularity. The tournament structure was a standard round robin, with the champions being whoever finished with the most points in the standings. With that, we’ve got winners and standouts from all four age groups, and who reigned supreme at this weekend’s NESRC.

2007 Division

Team Massachusetts dominated, as the age group graduated to the 16U division for the first time in the 2022-23 USA Hockey calendar. Michael Munroe led the team in scoring with 10 points in four games, while him and teammate Jake Tavares tied each other with seven goals apiece. Colvin Callahan also put up six goals of his own for Massachusetts, a team that scored 30 goals this weekend. 

While Team Massachusetts took the top spot with six points in the standings, Team New Hampshire did manage to hand Mass its only loss of the weekend with an 11-4 drubbing on Saturday night. Max Condon scored four of his six goals – and five of his seven points – for NH in their win over Massachusetts. His teammate, Carter Amico scored twice as many points as any other defensemen in the age group with six points. 

2008 Division

The Bay State sat at the top of the ’08 Division as well, but this team Massachusetts posted a perfect 3-0 record. This was the only age group with four teams in the field, and the Massachusetts offense was only outdone by its own defense. Ten different scorers accounted for 33 goals, while Stryker Connors and Devan Maloney allowed just five goals against. 

Cam MacPherson led all scorers with nine goals and 12 points, with teammate Aidan Fitzpatrick close behind with 10 points. Garrit Turcotte recorded a point in every game for Team New Hampshire, including a three-point game against New York and a four-point game against Vermont. 

2009 Division

Team Vermont and Team Massachusetts clashed in a best-of-three series in the ’09 Division. Peyton Albertson, Escher Briere and Cooper Browe scored four unanswered goals in the third period Friday afternoon to take Game 1 for Vermont, 5-1. The next two games provided plenty of back and forth, with each state picking up a win by just one goal. Game 2 featured four lead changes. Devin Conikos, Lucas Kumin and William Gutkoski scored, each time putting Team Massachusetts in front by a goal. However, every time Mass moved themselves out in front, Vermont quickly tied it up, before Albertson, Briere and Browe yet again mounted a third-period offensive to win 5-4. 

The third and final game featured an astonishing 17 goals, as Massachusetts got in the win column with a 9-8 victory. Defenseman Max Ludwar‘s hat trick for Vermont was one-upped by Gutkoski, who had a hat trick of his own. Duncan Vittrands and Devin Cokinos both had a pair of goals for Massachusetts as well to fuel the team to victory. 

2010 Division

In its home state, Team New Hampshire swept the best-of-three series with Team Vermont in the ’10 Division. Forwards Colton Bamberg, Brayden Gearin and C.J. Sawyer topped the charts in scoring with a combined 13 goals and 26 points. They propelled an offense that was plus-12 in scoring and wore down their opponent.

The score was probably not the biggest indicator of competition at this particular age group. Despite getting swept, Vermont opened the scoring in all three games, and held the lead on five separate occasions throughout those contests. Kuba Pavlik led his home state in scoring with four goals, and Zachary Mandigo followed close behind with three of his own. 

Still in the young stages of its history, the New England States Rivalry Challenge is a unique spring hockey tournament experience. Players can register individually to represent their respective home states or, gather a team of friends and compete as a group. The 2022 event featured teams from Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York and Vermont, but applicants from all 50 states are welcome, so long as there are enough participants to field a 15-player AAA-level roster. Want more info on next year’s NESRC and how you can represent your home state at the event? Fill out the form below!

New England States Rivalry Challenge
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Black Bear Sports Group And USPHL Join To Form Mega Youth Hockey League

Some prominent entities in the United States’ east coast hockey community are joining forces.

It was announced this week that Black Bear Sports Group, the United States Premier Hockey League and the Tier-1 Hockey Federation are entering into a new collaboration for their youth hockey programs.

Teams of all ages from across Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania will now play in the THF-USPHL South Division (shortened to “THF South”). Meanwhile, 18U, 16U and 15O teams in Maine, New Hampshire and Massachusetts will play in the USPHL-THF North Division (“USPHL North”), which will be administered by the THF. The youth teams of the USPHL North Member clubs will remain in their current leagues.

The two divisions discussed above will compete at season’s end for a USPHL Championship.

“Through our collaboration with the USPHL, the THF is now a one-of-a-kind organization in that we are the only group with clubs that operate from ‘cradle to college,’ from Mite through Midget at the youth level and every level of junior hockey developing players for NCAA Division-I, II and III schools,” said Murry N. Gunty, Founder and CEO of Black Bear Sports Group. “We are honored to collaborate with the USPHL and their member clubs, and look forward to building upon all of their successes to date.”

Tony Zasowski, previously the director of the North American Prospects Hockey League (NAPHL), has been named commissioner of the THF. Zasowski brings a wealth of experience to the new role, having led one of the largest youth hockey leagues in the U.S., in addition to his work with the NAHL Central Scouting, prospects tournaments and combines initiatives.

“I am excited to work with all of our member clubs in the THF and USPHL to build one of the top Tier-1 organizations in the country,” said Tony Zasowski, Commissioner of the THF. “We have an amazing group of operators that will support the growth and placement of all our hockey players to the highest levels.”

The Mercer Chiefs will also be purchasing a Tier-2 NCDC junior hockey franchise, and field a team in the 2022-23 season.

“The Mercer Chiefs have a long history of success at the youth level so we are thrilled to have them join us in the NCDC,” said Bob Turow, Commissioner of the USPHL. “We believe this association at the Midget and youth levels will strengthen both of our organizations.”

For more information regarding the latest youth hockey news from around the world, follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok and YouTube!

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The final push for Russian Hockey Federation District Championships

March is the final month of competition in all eight districts of the Russian Hockey Federation (FHR). Each district recognizes champions at each of the age groups between 2005 and 2011 birth years. District play spans throughout the entire season with a round-robin format in which teams played one another. The team with the most points in the standings after all games are completed would earn the title as champion of their respective district.

District champions of three oldest age groups – 2005, 2006 and 2007 – earn an automatic bid to the 2022 Championships of Russia, slated to begin in late April. This is a similar format to that of USA Hockey and its 12 districts. 

The FHR is broken up into nine districts across the country:

With district championships nearing their conclusions, first-place finishers will advance to their respective national tournaments. 

The 2006 age group will be the first to take the ice, when teams come together in St. Petersburg from April 28 to May 8. After that, the 2007s will compete in Sochi at the site of the 2014 Winter Olympics from May 14 – 24. The oldest group, the 2005s, will overlap a bit with the U15s as their tournament will run from May 16 – 26 in Chelyabinsk.

All three tournaments will follow a similar format to that of district championships. Teams will play a round-robin format schedule. The team with the most points in the standings at the end of the tournament will once again be crowned as national champion.

World Hockey Hub will have continued coverage of all three Russian national championships, featuring top players, highlights, recaps and more. Be sure to follow WHH on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok and YouTube for the latest regarding Russia youth hockey.

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Dukla Trencin Treated To A Week In The States

For the second time in as many months, the 2008-born HK Dukla Trencin team boarded a commercial flight from their home in Slovakia to the United States to take on top American competition. In January, Dukla rang in the New Year in Coral Springs, Florida, for the inaugural Champions League hockey tournament, competing as one-of-five European teams in the event. 

Last week, they returned to the U.S., as an honorary participant in the SPA Invite. For five days, American families from the 2008 Seacoast Performance Academy opened up their homes to their Slovakian counterparts, serving as billets to the 13-year-old boys from the opposing team. 

Trencin players like Adam Goljer, Timothy Kazda and Juraj Jonas Ďurčo spent the week arm-in-arm with Seacoast’s Danick St. Pierre, Hunter Chadbourne, Garrit Turcotte and others. The two teams split the ice for practice and competed in 3-on-3 mini-tournaments. They also shared meals at home, watched TV and enjoyed video games from the couch. On Feb. 13, more than 30 boys between the two teams traveled to the Whittemore Center to watch New Hampshire take on UMass-Lowell in an NCAA game.

Later that day, Slovakian players and families were treated to the ultimate American experience: Super Bowl Sunday. They enjoyed food, played yard games and watch the big game on a projector screen at the Rinks at Exeter. 

Joint practices, chalk talk, film sessions. The two teams were in lockstep throughout the week in preparation for the SPA Invite slated to begin that Friday. However, no amount of preparation is complete without a head-to-head matchup. Pleasantries were over at that point, as the two teams skated to a one-goal game, with SPA defeating its European guest 4-3.

When it came tournament time, both squads saw their share of successes and struggles. SPA won its first three games, only to drop its last two. Dukla scored four goals in three of its first five games but ran out of steam by Sunday night. St. Pierre led the Spartans in scoring with eight points, while Chadbourne, Turcotte, Evan Ferraro and Tyler Callinder posted four points apiece. Similarly, Goljer and Kazda carried the offensive attack for Slovakia, combining for nine of the team’s 19 goals. Ďurčo, Samuel Pisarčik and Šimon Šuranyi all recorded multiple goals as well.

A tremendous connection was formed between the two very different groups of teenagers. Despite coming from completely separate walks of life, the two teams bonded over the game of hockey. So much so that in 2023, Dukla Trencin plans to return the favor when Seacoast plans to travel to Europe.

One of the more unique experiences in all of youth hockey this season, it’d be hard to find a more memorable moment in the game today. Want more stories like Seacoast and Slovakia? Follow WHH on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok and YouTube for exclusive content from the world of youth hockey. 

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All 11 World Selects Tournament Dates, Locations And More This Spring

Known globally as the premier international event in youth hockey, the World Selects Invitational (WSI) tournament series is slated to begin April 12th, and returns with high expectations for all 11 events scheduled for the 2022 spring season. From 18U girls to 2010-born boys, the mountains of Chamonix to the honky tonks of Nashville, the lineup of events is second to none for this world-class spectacle. For five consecutive weeks, elite youth hockey athletes of various age groups and genders will compete in exotic cities in the ultimate clash of culture and competition.

14U Girls Elite in Chamonix, France
April 12 – 16, 2022

Some of the best amateur girls hockey players on the planet will be in the resort area where France, Switzerland and Italy all come together in the heart of Europe. Near the base of Mont Blanc — the highest summit in the Alps — the only thing more unique than the scenic landscape is the backdrop at the Courmayeur Ice Rink. This event is typically the first opportunity for girls athletes to experience the WSI; a starting point for future events and locations in the years that follow.

15U Girls Elite in Chamonix, France
April 19 – 23, 2022

Less than 48 hours after the 14U girls vacate the rink, hotels, local shops and restaurants, the 15U girls pick up right where their younger counterparts leave off. More exciting action, more sight-seeing and another world champion crowned after the older girls take their turn on the ice. Current NCAA standout and Canadian native, Katie Chan holds the all-time tournament scoring record with 23; a mark that hasn’t been touched since 2015. 

12U Boys Elite in Bolzano, Italy
April 26 – 30, 2022

A team from Canada or Russia has accounted for each of the last five 12U Elite championships. The best boys from the 2010-birth year and below will take to the ice in the South Tyrol city of Bolzano. PalaOnda Ice Arena has hosted several WSIs in previous years, and will do so once again with teams from around the world expected to be in attendance. In 2016, Matthew Savoie (28), Ivan Miroshnichenko (27) and Shane Wright (22) finished one, two and three in scoring in what proved to be one of the highest-scoring events in the tournaments’ history. Six years later, that trio of names is slated to be high first-round picks in this summer’s NHL Draft. 

14U Boys Elite in Bolzano, Italy
May 3 – 7, 2022

The boys go back-to-back in Bolzano, with the 14U Elites stepping in the very next week. The 2008s were supposed to make their WSI debut in the spring of 2020, before COVID-19 shut down — or restricted — international travel for the next 18 months. So two years later, the world will get its first look at top-level 14U talent. The past five teams to win the 14U tournament have come from five different countries: East Coast Selects (USA), DraftDay (CAN), RUSS Moscow (RUS), Finland Selects (FIN) and Czech Selects (CZE). The 2022 event is anyone’s to win.

2009 Boys AAA in Chamonix, France
May 4 – 7, 2022

The AAA series of WSI tournaments is unique, in that it works similar to that of relegation and promotion in soccer leagues. If a team wins the AAA tournament, they could find themselves competing in the elite event the following season. It’s a way for any AAA-level player to enjoy the same experience as the elite events, while potentially earning a spot in the following season’s premier field of teams. One of four WSI events — joining 14U and 15U girls, and 13U boys elite — slated to be in Chamonix, it is the most WSI tournaments hosted in one location in a single season.

2010 Boys AAA in Prague, Czech Republic
May 4 – 7, 2022

The first event of the spring in the city of Prague, this field of teams will have a heavy European contingent. In fact, it will be the most diverse group out of all WSI events with representatives from Alps, Austria, Czech, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Poland, Russia, Slovakia, Sweden and Ukraine. The week will be filled with the beautiful sights of medieval castles and gothic cathedrals, as well as an competitive champion looking to climb the WSI ladder to greater heights in the years to come.

15U Boys Elite in Nashville, Tennessee, USA
May 10 – 15, 2022

DraftDay is the reigning, defending, two-time champion of the 15U Elite tournament. The event moved to the Music City for the first time last summer, and will return again this May. The best 2007-born athletes on the planet will be on-hand to compete for the world championship in one of the most highly-scouted events of the summer. Mitch Marner, Mikko Rantanen, Adam Fox, Andrei Svechnikov, Miro Heiskanen, Moritz Seider, Trevor Zegras… More than 400 current, former, and soon-to-be NHL players first competed in this very tournament. Get your first look at the next wave of elite hockey talent right here.

13U Boys Elite in Chamonix, France
May 10 – 14, 2022

Running parallel to the ‘07s, the best ‘09s will be competing at the same time, just on the other end of the globe. With great coordination, the team at World Hockey Group is able to plan and execute multiple events in multiple countries, seamlessly. European teams have won three of the last four 13U world championships, and will once again feature a heavy contingent of nearby teams. Belarus, Czech, Finland, Latvia, Russia, Slovakia and Sweden are expected to be represented, among others. A 13-year-old Connor Bedard once led this tournament in scoring with 32 points in seven games and didn’t win the championship

2008 Boys AAA in Prague, Czech Republic
May 11 – 14, 2022

The last boys event in Europe for 2022, it will run concurrently to the 13U Elite event which will be happening less than 1,000 kilometers away from each other. The Letňany Ice Rink has been home to several WSI champions in years past, and 12 teams will have a shot at being the next to do so in 2022. “The City of A Hundred Spires” has breath-taking sight lines of old architecture and beautiful bridges that span across the Vltava River. The boys’ European finale should feature plenty of fireworks with teams from as many as 11 different countries.

16U Boys Elite in Boston, Massachusetts, USA
May 26 – 30, 2022

The United States Hockey League (USHL) Draft and Ontario Hockey League (OHL) Priority Selection are slated to take place just days before this event. Many of the 2006-born participants in this tournament will be fresh off having their names called in one or both leagues, and should be one of the biggest events of the summer for the age group. Hosted in the heart of college hockey country, it’s an easy destination for nearby scouts to get to, with more than a dozen Division-I universities within an hour drive of the venue.

18U Girls Elite in Prague, Czech Republic
July 27 – 30, 2022

The finale of the World Selects tournament series, the oldest age group of girls has closed things out as the final event of the season for the last several years. Hosted in one of the most historic and colorful cities in Europe, Prague is filled with old architecture, beautiful scenery and excellent hockey at the nearby ice arena. Typically one of the smaller fields of teams, the 18U group only consists of eight-to-ten teams, providing for a very intimate and exclusive experience for participating players.

World Hockey Hub will have exclusive coverage of all the action, highlights, recaps, top performers and more from all 11 World Selects events. Be sure to follow WHH on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok and YouTube for the latest regarding WSI, and learn more to get involved in future events.

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Helpful Approaches To Mental Success On And Off The Ice

To some extent we all understand that confidence is a helpful approach to success. Confident folks show up ready to take on the day’s challenges. Confident athletes show up ready to compete. They fully believe in their abilities. They know that they will give their opponent a run for their money.

Myth: Confidence Is For The Few

Some believe that confidence is reserved for only a small group of people. They believe that confidence is something a person is born with, like a personality trait. There are traits like charisma and being outgoing that are at times thought of as confidence. But those traits do not equal confidence. 

We have seen stories and known of people who have a quiet confidence who would not fit the description of a highly social person. Essentially, confidence is not limited to extroverts or those who can walk into a room and command attention, but for introverts and those who fly under the radar of mass attention.

Confidence is not a trait. A person is not born confident. Confidence is a mindset.

Myth: You Have To Be Winning To Be Confident

Others believe that in order to be confident you have to have won; that you have to have a winning record to be confident or that you have to have some sort of proof to be confident. Confidence is not just given to a person. 

Just because you have won does not mean you are automatically confident.

Winning helps. Knowing that you have the skill to win in competition, beat out opponents, and you have what it takes to reach your goals does build confidence. But winning is not necessary to be confident. You can be an underdog and be confident. You can be a backup goalie or be on the fourth line and still be confident. Confidence is a mindset.

Confidence Is A Choice

When I first learned that confidence could be a choice, I didn’t believe it. If confidence was a choice then I would be confident, why wouldn’t I choose to be confident all the time. Why aren’t all people automatically confident if we can just choose it? I didn’t buy into the idea that a person could actively choose to be confident.

However, if you break it down you can begin to see how a person, athlete, or coach can choose confidence. Confidence is the unshakable belief in your ability. The belief in yourself is a thought process. Our minds can choose what thoughts to repeat, what thoughts to listen to, and what thoughts to interrupt. The constant self-talk statement of doubt or unworthiness certainly is not going to help a person be confident when the pressure is up. In fact, not only will it lead to a decrease in personal confidence but it also leads to poor performance. The athlete who is constantly questioning their ability will completely shut down after a mistake.

But a confident athlete can choose their thoughts to say, “I’m ready,” “I’ve trained for this,” and “No one will outwork me.” An athlete who tells themselves confident statements is going to be better prepared for competition and bounce back more quickly if they make a mistake. The more confident thoughts an athlete has, the stronger his or her belief becomes in their ability to perform. As this belief is continuously reinforced by confident thinking, the athlete builds and maintains a sense of confidence.

Start Choosing Confidence

Make a list of at least 10 positive confidence-building statements. The idea of 10 may seem like it’s not too many, but it can be tough to think of statements that actually mean something to you.

If you get 10 easily, push for 15–20. Once you have the list, read and reread it again. Build the reading this list into your routines. The more you go over the list the more the statements will ring true to you. Your pattern of thoughts will develop your mindset. Thinking specific confidence boosting thoughts will strengthen specific neural-pathways in your brain. The statements will become an automatic response when you’re faced with difficult or challenging times. You will maintain a sense of belief and confidence by choosing a confident mindset. This mindset determines your behavior and subsequently your performance.

By Blaise Fayolle, EdD, CMPC, LLPC 

Blaise Fayolle holds a doctorate in Sport and Performance Psychology and is credentialed as a Certified Mental Performance Consultant® through the Associated for Applied Sport Psychology. Blaise is also a licensed mental health professional in Michigan. 

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