Big winners from the 2022 Shanahan International Tournament

Running for more than a decade now, the Shanahan International Tournament has brought top teams from Canada and the U.S. together for November hockey action. 

The 2022 edition of ‘The Shanahan’ didn’t disappoint, either, as a few U.S. programs were able to make the trek across the border. Here’s a look at how each of the divisions played out:

The 2008 York Simcoe Express wrapped up a tournament title with a victory over the North Central Predators in the U15 championship game. It was the final push to bump the Express into the Top 10 in Canada, as they move all the way up to No. 6 in our latest Canadian rankings.

York Simcoe started with a pair of 3-1 games. First, it was a win over the Toronto Titans and then a 3-1 loss to the Kingston Jr. Gaels. That lone loss of the tournament led to an offensive explosion in the next game. The Express found the back of the net eight different times in a 8-2 beatdown of the Ottawa Valley Titans.

They wrapped up preliminary-round play with a 2-1 win over the London Jr. Knights. In the semifinals, they played Ottawa Valley once again, and the Titans shrunk the final score from 8-2 down to 4-2.

In the championship, it was a nail-biter, but York Simcoe prevailed 1-0 over the North Central Predators. Finn Kearns scored the lone goal between the two clubs for the tournament-clinching tally.

Brayden Boyle and Jackson Halloran led the Express in scoring for the tournament. Both recorded six points for a point-per-game average at the Shanahan. 

Riley Barkey and Colin Ellsworth split time between the pipes; Barkey finished with a 3-0-0 record and a 1.67 goals-against avearge. 

Ryder Cali of the North Central Predators led the U15s in scoring with eight points in six games. Kingston’s Maxim Dube and J.C. Lemeiux both had seven points in five games, as did Ottawa Valley’s Jordan Perrier.

Cyclones Blow Through U14 Division

The Upper Canada Cyclones prevailed in the championship game of the U14 division, claiming a Shanahan International Tournament title with a 5-2 win over the Mississauga Reps.

Their tournament run started nearly the same way it ended, as they beat the Reps 5-1 in their first game on Friday. After that, the Cyclones topped the Hamilton Huskies 7-3 before dropping their lone game of the tournament Saturday. They fell to the No. 5 ranked team in the world, Toronto Jr. Canadiens 4-0.

Upper Canada rebounded with a 5-3 win over the Niagara North Stars Saturday evening to wrap up preliminary-round play. In the quarterfinals, they snuck past the Mississauga Rebels with a 3-2 win in overtime, before topping the Windsor Zone 5-4 in the semifinals.

The Reps had pulled off the upset of the tournament when they beat the Jr. Canadiens in a shootout in the semifinals, but they ran out of steam and fell to the Cyclones in the final.

Brody Robertson led the Cyclones in scoring with 10 points in seven games, while Carter Cuglietta had nine. 

Connor Haffner finished with a 3-1 record and a 3.25 goals-against average between the pipes; crease partner Beckett Campbell was 3-0-0 with a 2.00 GAA.

The Reps’ Cannon Thibodeau led the tournament in scoring with 13 points in seven games, while a pair of Jr. Canadiens — Noah Laus and Kingston Harris — had nine points in five games.

Jr. Canadiens Continue Dominance of 2010 birth year

In the 2010 birth year, the Toronto Jr. Canadiens emerged at the top of a crowded Shanahan Invitational field. 

There are three teams in the Canadian Top-10 Rankings who competed in the U13 division: the No. 1 Jr. Canadiens, No. 4 Don Mills Flyers and No. 9 Barrie Colts. Three other teams have been ranked previously or are knocking on the door in the Soo Greyhounds, Markham Majors and London Jr. Knights

Ranked No. 1 in Canada and for good reason, the Jr. Canadiens’ lone blemish on the weekend was a Friday 4-4 tie with the Greyhounds. Other than that, it was all additions to the win column for the Toronto squad. They topped Ottawa Valley 5-2, the Ajax-Pickering Raiders 5-0 and Barrie 5-0 to round out the preliminary rounds.

In the semifinals, they blanked the Don Mills Flyers 3-0, and in the finals, it was nearly the same, as the Jr. Canadiens beat the Markham Majors 4-1.

Unranked American Squad Tops 2011 Teams

Little Caesars crossed the border and claimed the Shanahan Invitational title at the U12 division. The 2011-born Michigan squad thrived against Canadian competition.

They were perfect through the preliminary round, beating Lambton Jr. Sting 4-0, Brantford 99ers 5-1, Niagara North Stars 6-1 and North York Rangers 5-2. 

Things were tighter in the elimination rounds. Caesars prevailed 4-3 over the Mississauga Reps in the quarterfinals. Then in the semifinals, they needed overtime to top the Rochester Coalition 5-4. In the title game, however, it was all LC, as they beat the Upper Canada Cyclones 4-1 to finish off a perfect tournament outing in Canada.

The 2012 birth year featured some top-notch competition, as well. The impressive finals matchup between the Toronto Jr. Canadiens and Toronto Marlboros went to the Jr. Canadiens in a 5-2 final.

The 2013 group featured a Little Caesars team capturing the title, as well. The 9U Michigan squad topped the Soo Jr. Greyhounds 3-1 in the final.

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More than 500 teams expected to be in the Chicago for CCM World Invite

The party starts Thursday, while the games officially start on Friday. This weekend, Chicago will be the busiest city on the planet when it comes to youth hockey. Roughly 528 teams will be in the Windy City for the annual CCM World Invite.

A total of 10,032 players will be playing in a combined 1,210 games from Nov. 4-6, as the tournament continues to claim the honor of the largest youth hockey event in the world. 

Because of those grandiose attendance numbers, most age groups are split into as many as three sub-divisions — Supertacks, Jetspeed and Ribcor. This provides a competitive balance for all teams involved. Because of this, our focus is narrowed to the Supertacks Divisions that include elite and top-level AAA teams.

A Loaded 2009 Division of Top Teams

We’re starting with the 2009 birth-year because it reads like a USA Hockey Nationals lineup, not a November tournament.

Six of the top 10 teams in the country are slated to compete in the World Invite. The No. 1-ranked Chicago Reapers will look to defend home ice, while being challenged by No. 2 St. Louis AAA Blues, No. 4 Windy City Storm, No. 6 Little Caesars, No. 7 New Jersey Rockets and No. 10 Chicago Mission.

An added bonus? The Huron-Perth Lakers, ranked No. 9 in Canada, crossing the border to join the crowded field.

Big games appear on the calendar rather quickly, as Little Caesars and New Jersey Rockets square off at 2:55 p.m. on Friday. Elimination rounds should be where the most drama happens, as these top teams will likely clash in playoffs.

Too Many Teams For One Division

Continuing down in age groups, the 2010 birth year has so many participating clubs that they made Supertacks Crosby and Supertacks Ovechkin Divisions. The 2010 Supertacks Crosby has the highest-ranked teams competing, and there are three from the American Top 10. The No. 3 Chicago Mission, No. 4 Anaheim Jr. Ducks and No. 10 Chicago Fury will clash in the top 2010 division. 

American teams like Florida Alliance, South Shore Kings and Top Gun Elite will travel from across the country to challenge the top group. Additionally, the Sun County Panthers join the mix from Canada. The trio of top-rated teams will have plenty of hurdles to clear if they want to win a World Invite title.

International Opponents In Illinois

In the 2011 Supertacks Division, the hometown Windy City Storm is the only ranked competitor — they check in at No. 5. The K&B Slovakia Stars surely don’t want to waste a trip all the way across the globe though. There are plenty of storied programs showing up in Chicago, as well. The 16-team field contains the Los Angeles Jr Kings, Sun County Panthers, Chicago Mission, St. Louis AAA Blues, Belle Tire, Oakville Rangers, among others.

Going back up the age groups, the 16U Supertacks field is wide open. None of the teams are ranked, but that doesn’t mean it’s a group to sleep on. Minnesota and Michigan both show up with all-star teams of high school hockey players in Minnesota SDP and Michigan Hockey Advancement, while the Wenatchee Wild and Elgin-Middlesex Canucks represent the Canadian contingent. There’s also three California teams in the Los Angeles Jr. Kings, Golden State Elite and Anaheim Jr. Ice Dogs.

Home Cooking For Chicago Mission

The 15O age group — split into Crosby and Ovechkin divisions — has some ranked teams, on the other hand. In the Crosby Division, No. 1 ranked Chicago Mission looks to win a tournament without leaving home, while No. 3 Mount St. Charles arrives in the Windy City looking to make some noise. Those two will be challenged by No. 5 Little Caesars, and a bevy of other squads looking for some hardware. Watch out for Minnesota SDP, Minnesota Blue Ox and Team Wisconsin, among others.

And to round things out, the 2008 age group is led by No. 2 Chicago Mission. They are the only ranked team out of the 16 participants, but nonetheless, they will have challenges. The Burlington Eagles, Lambton Jr. Sting, and Markham Waxers all come in from Canada, while in-state rivals Chicago Fury and Team Illinois will try to make things rough, too.

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HoneyBaked defends home ice to win ‘08 division

The 2022 CCM World Invite Motown took place across Metro Detroit this past weekend, as 352 teams traveled to Michigan to compete.

With multiple divisions for the 2008-2013 birth-years, as well as 150, 16U and 18U brackets, we focused on the Supertacks divisions of the birth-years that are included in the World Hockey Hub rankings, as well as the two youngest divisions at the bottom for good measure.

It was the first CCM Motown since 2019 that featured Canadian teams, and they certainly made up for lost time. 

Here is a Supertacks division breakdown by birth-year:

16U Supertacks 

At the 16U age level, Michigan Hockey Advancement – a collection of high school hockey players skating together before their winter school season – captured the ‘06 Supertacks division title at the 2022 Motown. 

MHA started with a 6-2 win over the Wasatch Renegades and a 4-2 win over the Pittsburgh Predators on Friday, before wrapping up the round-robin play with a 5-0 win over Golden State Elite Saturday morning. In the quarterfinals Saturday evening, they beat Team Wisconsin 3-2.

On Championship Sunday, they first beat the Maine Nordiques 4-3 in the semifinals, before taking down the Anaheim Ice Dogs 2-0 in the championship game to wrap up a perfect 6-0 mark on the weekend.

15O Supertacks 

In the 2007 birth-year Supertacks division championship game, it was the Chicago Reapers prevailing over Team Illinois in a Windy City rivalry showdown. 

The Reapers had a dominant Friday, blanking the PHA Icemen 6-0 before beating Michigan Hockey Advancement 7-1. On Saturday, they ran into two more Michigan clubs, defeating Belle Tire 6-1 to conclude preliminary-round play and later Victory Honda 5-4 in the quarterfinals.

In the semifinals, they shut out Omaha Mastery 3-0, and in the aforementioned finals, the Reapers beat Team Illinois 4-2.

2008 Supertacks

Playing in their home city of Farmington Hills, HoneyBaked successfully defended home ice, winning the 2008 Supertacks division of the 2022 Motown.

It was a dominant Friday for HoneyBaked, as they started with a 7-2 win over the SHAHA Panthers before shutting out the Ohio Jr. Blue Jackets 6-0 in the evening.

Saturday started with a 5-3 loss to the Toronto Red Wings, but it didn’t keep HB out of the playoff round. 

In Saturday night’s quarterfinals, they bested the Chicago Reapers 3-2 before beating their HPHL rivals in the Oakland Jr. Grizzlies 5-4 in the semifinals.

In the final, HB posted a 5-2 win over the London Jr. Knights to capture the hardware for the ’08 bracket.

2009 Supertacks

It was an all-Canadian final for the ’09 birth-year, as the Toronto Titans topped the Toronto Red Wings 4-1 in the championship game Sunday.

It didn’t come as much of a surprise that the Titans took home the championship banner, as the Toronto-based club was ranked No. 2 in Canada and No. 7 in the world heading into the Motown.

The Titans topped the Milwaukee Jr. Admirals 4-2 to start tournament play on Friday, and they wrapped up Day 1 with a 7-1 win over Team Illinois. On Saturday, they beat the No. 5 Anaheim Jr. Ducks 3-1 to conclude round-robin play.

The Elimination rounds started with a 2-1 nail-biter win over the Pittsburgh Penguins Elite. That’s as close as the Titans would come to defeat, as on Championship Sunday they posted a 3-0 win over Team Illinois in the semifinals, and a 4-1 win over the Toronto Red Wings in the final.

2010 Supertacks

A Canadian squad prevailed in the 2010 Supertacks division, as the Sun County Panthers played to a perfect 6-0 record.

The Panthers opened things up with a tight 3-2 win over the Credit River Capitals Friday morning before cruising 6-0 over the Indiana Elite later in the day. 

On Saturday, they played Fox Motors in a preview of the championship contest, with Sun County prevailing 3-1. To start tournament play, they squared off with the Soo Jr. Greyhounds, and the Panthers won 5-0 over their Canadian counterparts.

On Sunday, they took down the Pittsburgh Vengeance 2-1 in the semifinals – a big win over a Pennsylvania club that had recorded victories over the No. 8-ranked Chicago Fury and No. 5-ranked Little Caesars.

Fox Motors got a shot at revenge in the title game, but the Panthers played a full 200-foot game and won a 1-0 thriller. 

2011 Supertacks

The Toronto Jr. Canadiens – ranked No. 2 in the world and No. 1 in Canada – kept the Canadian winning streak going in the 2011 birth-year, as they too registered a perfect 6-0 weekend en route to a championship.

Familiar foes in the London Jr. Knights were the first team on the schedule for the Jr. Canadiens – the Toronto club prevailed 5-1. Later on in Day 1, the Jr. Habs beat Chicago Fury 8-2.

Saturday featured more high-scoring performances, as Toronto beat the Oakland Jr. Grizzlies 6-4 and then the Buffalo Regals 7-1 in the quarterfinals.

In the finals, the Jr. Habs beat the Vaughan Kings 4-1 in the semifinals and the No. 6 Chicago Reapers 4-3 in the final.

2012 Supertacks

At the 2012 birth-year, Little Caesars was able to defend home ice, as the Michigan-based squad recorded a 5-1 record on their way to a Supertacks title at Motown.

2013 Supertacks

The 2013 birth-year Little Caesars club got it done, as well, going 6-0 to win the Supertacks division title. 

Little Caesars becomes just the second American team to win top-level Canadian tournament

One of the premier U11 and U10 — formerly referred to Squirt-level — tournaments in Canada, the 2022 Drew Doughty Invitational crowned a pair of champions over the weekend. The host team, London Jr. Knights won the 2012 age group with a 6-0-0 record; American participant Little Caesars took the 2013 championship back across the U.S.-Canada border to its home in Detroit, Michigan.

Two pools of eight teams competed in the 2013 Division. Little Caesars was the lone American representative at the tournament with the other 15 participants hailing from all corners of Ontario. Caesars dominated Group B, out-scoring opponents 56-2 in four games with forwards Cameron Coombe, Colin Kim, Parker Miller and Luke Merdinian leading the way. They accounted for 80 percent of the team’s offense over the weekend, and earned Caesars the top seed in a four-team playoff.

They were joined by second-place Elgin-Middlesex Canucks out of Group B, while the Toronto Young Nationals and Quinte Red Devils came out of Group A.

Even when the field was whittled down to the four best teams, Caesars was still able to exert its dominance. They defeated Quinte handedly in the semifinal and topped the Young Nats four hours later to win the championship.

It was the seventh annual Drew Doughty Invitational, and just the second time that an American team has won the championship. New York-based, ‘08-born Long Island Gulls won the tournament in 2018. 

Host Jr. Knights Hang on to Doughty Championship

The older group — 2012s — was also split into two groups of eight teams. Again, Little Caesars was the lone American team competing against 15 Canadian clubs. The Host team, London Jr. Knights, went 4-0-0 in group play, claiming the No. 1 seed in the process. They were joined in the playoffs by Caesars, who also went undefeated in Group A.

Elgin-Middlesex Canucks and Halton Hurricanes, on the other hand, came out of Group B. A 4-0-0 record gave EMC the No. 1 seed, while a 3-3 tie left Halton as the lowest-ranked team to advance to the four-team playoff.

Both semifinals resulted in one-goal games, with EMC defeating Caesars 4-3 and the Jr. Knights surviving a 3-2 scare over Halton. The all-Canadian championship, however, was not nearly as nerve-racking. London ended the weekend the way it started, with a shutout of its opponent in the form of a 5-0 win over the Canucks. 

According to the tournament website, the Drew Doughty Invitational is committed to presenting the pre-eminent U10/U11 hockey tournament in North America. This commitment to excellence is reflected in the tournament committee, their sponsors, the London Jr. Knights and, of course, in Drew Doughty’s name.

The most memorable experience for young minor hockey players is competing in tournaments, traveling with their families and spending time with teammates that create bonds that last a lifetime.

Proceeds from the tournament are split equally between the Jr. Knights and Ronald McDonald House Charities of Southwestern Ontario. 

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Puck drop is right around the corner; Here’s what to watch for out of the gate

The bad news? It’s back-to-school season.

The good news? It’s hockey season.

While youth hockey players pack up their backpacks to begin another school year, they’re also loading up their hockey bags for the beginning of the fall hockey campaign.

While the Canadian hockey community may be waiting a few more weeks to really get going, the end of August marks the start of some big, early-season tournaments in both the United States and Europe.

Let’s take a look at some of the early-season offerings and tournaments the World Hockey Hub will be keeping an eye on as we put away our sunblock and dust off our preferred rink attire.

AAA Kickoff Classic
August 25 – 28, 2022

The AAA Kickoff Classic brings top talent to Grand Rapids, Michigan, for a season-opening tournament in the 14U through 18U age groups. At the 14U level, eight teams will do battle, including two from Czechia — HC Trinec and the Pilsen Wolves. The six-team 15U division features the likes of Team Minnesota and New Hampshire’s Seacoast Performance Academy, while 10 teams show up for 16U, including Little Caesars, Team Wisconsin, and the Nashville Jr. Predators. The largest field is a 12-team 18U division.

Eastern Exposure Series
August 26 – 28, 2022

While the west coast of Michigan will have a big-time AAA tournament taking place, the east coast of the United States will be having one, as well. The NJ August Showcase for the Eastern Exposure Series is bringing a select group of teams together in the same 14U through 18U age brackets for an early-season tune-up. At 14U, the St. Lawrence Steel, Mercer Chiefs, New Jersey Devils and New Jersey Jets will square off for a five-game weekend, while the older groups will play three-game showcase-style tournaments. Showing up in the older brackets are the likes of the North Jersey Avalanche, the Philadelphia Hockey Club, the New Jersey Rockets, and the PAL Jr. Islanders. It will be some tough competition for teams that will be spending a lot of time together this year.

Sweden Hockey Trophy
September, 2022

The Sweden Hockey Trophy tournament series kicks off Sept. 1 – 4 for the 2008 age group. 2007, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012 birth years will follow suit over the following weeks, making Stockholm the place to be in Sweden. This preseason event regularly sets the tone for top teams in the country, separating contenders from pretenders. It isn’t just local, either. Teams from Finland, Norway, Czech Republic, Slovakia and other Central European countries have competed in this Swedish tournament in recent years.

DIF ElitCup
September 9 – 11, 2022

Another top-level, early-season Scandinavian event is the U15 DIF Elitcup, set to showcase 2008s next month. Hosted by one of the top clubs in the country, Djurgårdens IF welcomes other reputable programs like Frölunda HC, Färjestad BK and a select few others to compete in an elite eight-team tournament. Nearly 30 games in three days of some of the best teams in Sweden.

ZERO CUP
September 3 – 4, 2022

Tuki-Areena in Rauma, Finland, will host a bevy of teams from the 2010 age group across three different divisions. The AAA+ Division features arguably the top eight clubs in the country with Jokerit, Kärpät, and Tappara leading the way.

SYMPPISTURNAUS
August 19 – 21, 2022

Just concluded over the weekend, but worth noting another event out of Finland. The Symppisturnaus featured 16 teams at the U15 age group across two divisons: AAA+ and AAA. Only one team was shut out on the weekend; each of the other 15 teams all picked up at least one point in the three-game round robin. Tappara Black defeated KalPa Black 3-2 in the AAA+ championship game; the last of 23 tournament games to be decided by two goals or fewer over the weekend.

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Players from six countries gear up for regular season with final event of the summer

A tournament that typically features 40-50 summer hockey teams, hosted just 14 teams over the course of two weeks in Sweden and France. While it was significantly downsized, the European Hockeyfest had a very intimate feel in 2022. A smaller field of teams provided participants with an exclusive experience both on and off the ice.

While this year’s lineup was a fraction of what we’ve typically come to expect from Hockeyfest, it still featured players from as many as six different countries. Sweden, Finland, Norway, Czech, Latvia, U.S. and Canada were all represented in the two host cities of Stockholm and Paris. The 2010 age group got the event started on July 22, while the ’09s and ’12s closed it down on July 30.

Here’s a look at the results from all three birth years:

2009 Division

Sweden SHD Light Blue prevailed 6-2 over Sweden SHD Blue in the final. It was a revenge game for the Light Blue squad, after Sweden SHD Blue handed them their lone loss on July 29 — a 3-1 final. Aside from that, the Light Blue squad took care of business over the week, winning a bunch of tight contests before running away with things in both the semifinals and finals.

They topped Finland SHD Blue 6-3 to start, before recording a 3-2 win over Norway Selects, a 1-0 win over Sweden SHD Blue, a 5-3 win over Finland SHD Blue and a 4-3 win over Norway Selects in preliminary-round play. 

To earn another match with Sweden SHD Blue in the final, they topped Norway 6-2 in the semifinals.

The Light Blue squad did it with balanced scoring, as Ludvig Westman was the only player to have more than a point per game; he finished with seven points in six games in the prelims. Filip Leijonhielm had six points, while Samuel Barthelson and William Olofsson had five apiece.

Yury Rodichev and Andrii Pyl split time between the pipes en route to the championship.

A pair of Sweden Blue skaters led the tournament in scoring, as Oscar Wennberg had 12 points in six games, and Filip Wahlen had 10. Norway’s Isak Bjorland also cracked the top five in scoring, registering seven points in six games.

Carl Johnsson and Vilmer Salen-Forsberg were outstanding between the pipes for Sweden Blue, as well — Johnsson finished with a .938 save percentage, and Forsberg had a .914.

2010 Division

The Czech Knights Gold squad got a wake-up call when they lost in the first round of the playoffs. After posting a perfect 5-0 mark in the preliminary round, they dropped a 5-4 battle to Finland SHD, but luckily for the Knights, they got a chance for redemption in Round 2.

There, they blanked the same Finland squad 7-0, and in the finals, they continued to roll, beating the Sweden SHD team 10-0.

The dominating performances in their final two games certainly represented the Knights’ trip to Paris; aside from the aforementioned loss to Finland, they were unstoppable all week. 

In the preliminary round, they out-scored the competition 40-3 in their five games, beating Draftday Canada 6-1, ALPS SHD 16-0, the Czech Knights Black squad 8-0, Sweden SHD 5-1 and Finland 5-1.

Six of the top seven scorers in preliminary-round play were members of the Czech Gold squad. Denis Dobias led the field in scoring with 14 points in five games, while Jakub Milanic had 13, Nicholas Novak had 12 and Sven Stalder had 11. The lone player outside of the Czech Knights Gold team to crack the top seven was still a Czech skater; Czech Knights Black’s Erik Zahradnik had 11 points, as well.

Novak led the postseason in scoring with seven points in two games, while Dobias had six, which means that those two tied for the tournament overall scoring lead with 20 apiece in just seven games.

Sweden’s River Kallander posted some impressive numbers between the pipes, registering a 2.40 goals-against average and .910 save percentage in the five preliminary contests. August Uutela of Finland was right there with him, racking up a 2.67 goals-against and .909 save percentage.

As we’re sure you guessed from the numbers discussed above, Tobias Orechovsky of the Czech Gold team put up some remarkable stats, as well. He finished the prelims with a 0.60 goals-against average and a .946 save percentage.

2012 Division

Finland SHD Blue emerged victorious in a four-team field for the 2012 birth-year, topping Sweden SHD Blue in the last contest by a score of 6-2. 

The 2012 birth-year featured a Finland SHD Blue squad, Sweden SHD Blue and Sweden SHD Yellow, and a Latvia SHD squad. 

The Finland squad posted a 5-1 record in the preliminary rounds before recording a 13-0 win over Latvia in the semifinals, and the aforementioned final against Sweden in the championship. 

Ashton Salts of Sweden Yellow and Robin Torkki of Finland Blue finished atop the scoring list with 16 points in six games apiece. Signar Klingzell of Sweden Blue had 15, while Neo Huang of Sweden Blue had 14, Liam Jarvinen of Finland had 13 and Mikael Saila of Finland had 12.

Organization from Connecticut successfully defends its tournament title not once, but twice in Edmonton

A two-year delay didn’t keep the Connecticut Jr. Rangers from defending its Brick Tournament crown. In fact, the defending champions were so determined to maintain the team’s spot at the top, they won the Brick title twice in back-to-back weeks.

Fresh off the 2011 group capturing the “2021” Brick tournament that was held as a make-up for the original getting canceled last summer, the 2012 group of Jr. Rangers continued the organization’s ownership of the prestigious summer tournament.

The ’12s capped off a perfect 8-0 stay at the West Edmonton Mall with a 5-2 victory over Team Minnesota on July 10 to win the summer tournament. 

The first period was a wild one and it set the tone for the championship battle between the two U.S. squads. Team Minnesota sent 12 shots at CJR netminder Luke Thompson, but he turned aside all of them. Meanwhile, the Rangers had seven shots in the opening frame, but both Andrew Hargadon and Nikita Kochetov found the back of the Minnesota net, giving their team the momentum needed to control the rest of the contest.

Maverick Schiltgen scored with 1:29 remaining in the second period, but Team Minnesota couldn’t find the equalizer.

Goals from Jack Brayman and Luke Whalen put CJR firmly in control of the contest in the third period, despite Schiltgen scoring his second of the game for Minnesota.

Matthew Tselnik started the party early for CJR, scoring on an empty net with 1:04 remaining to seal the deal for the Rangers.

Thompson finished with 23 saves on 25 shots to wrap up an impressive Brick Tournament showing between the pipes for CJR. He finished with a 5-0-0 record, a .900 save percentage and a 1.34 goals-against average. Crease companion Nathan Zakowich was just as stellar for Connecticut, as he recorded a 3-0-0 record, a .920 save percentage, a 1.00 goals-against average and one shutout.

Brayman led the Rangers in scoring with nine goals and 17 points in eight games. Ryan Graves was second with five goals and 12 points. Whalen scored an impressive six goals and eight points, and both Hargardon and Christian Talapila had six points apiece.

While Schiltgen scored twice in the final, CJR managed to hold two of the top scorers in the tournament at bay. Jack Allgood led the Brick in scoring with a whopping 18 points and Austin Jarvi had 16 points, yet both were held in check in the championship.

Other tournament standouts included the Montreal CanadiensFlavio DiPlacido, who recorded 15 points in eight games, and the three players who all hit the 13-point mark – Lyrik Selch of the Manitoba Junior Ice, Jack Keiser of Team Minnesota and Peter Broccolini of the Canadiens.

There were some exceptional goaltending performances, as well. Dylan Lavallee of Team Brick Alberta finished with a 3-1-0 record, a .930 save percentage, a 1.21 goals-against average and one shutout. Jackson Zinner of the BC Junior Canucks registered a 3-0-0 record, a .943 save percentage, a 1.46 goals-against average and a shutout.

Christian Arianna of the Toronto Bulldogs posted two shutouts in his two wins, finishing with a 2-2-0 record, a .904 save percentage and a 1.56 goals-against. Ethan Fullarton of Toronto Pro Hockey also had a 3-0-0 record, a .921 save percentage, a 1.60 goals-against and one shutout.

Here were the all-star teams, as selected by the organizers:

First Team All-Stars:

Jackson Zinner, BC Junior Canucks
Drew Simpson, Manitoba Junior Ice
Cohen St. Louis, Team Brick Alberta
Flavio DiPlacido, Montreal Canadiens
Jack Allgood, Team Minnesota
Jack Brayman, Connecticut Jr. Rangers

Second Team All-Stars: 

Mason Khoury, Montreal Canadiens
Miles Shillings, Team Minnesota
Kwensy Fontaine, Montreal Canadiens
Brayden Pearsall, Team Pennsylvania
Matthew Dodic, Toronto Bulldogs
Kale Nicol, Manitoba Junior Ice

Midway through the tournament has seen plenty of standout performances and exciting action

The 2012 birth year had some big shoes to fill in the West Edmonton Mall this week after the warm-up act of 2011s dazzled in the Brick Invitational just days earlier. 

Last week’s event featured plenty of drama with 13 one-goal games, including an overtime thriller in the championship between the Connecticut Jr. Rangers and Toronto Bulldogs. How could the regularly-scheduled ‘12s raise the bar? 

The Toronto Bulldogs and Toronto Pro Hockey wasted no time, clashing in Game 1 on Monday. They set the tone for what has proved to be one of the most competitive and tightly contested Brick tournaments in recent memory. Nate Deagazio scored a shorthanded goal with four minutes remaining in the second period for the Bulldogs; the first of 208 goals in the tournament this week. 

With 14 teams divided into two divisions, the Connecticut Jr. Rangers and Team Minnesota currently sit atop their respective round-robin groupings. In the Styles Division, CJR stands as the only undefeated team in the field with a 5-0-0 record and 14 of a possible 15 points in the standings. Jack Brayman scored the game-winning goal in an overtime victory against the Saskatchewan Junior Pats. The next day, Brayman did it again, scoring with 8:34 left in the third period to give the Rangers a come-from-behind win over the Montreal Canadiens. Brayman leads the Jr. Rangers in scoring with five goals and 10 points, and is one of two players to find the back of the net in every game they’ve played in.

The other player on a goal-scoring streak? Canadiens’ Flavio DiPlacido. He leads all skaters with seven goals through five games. That includes a hat trick against Team Pennsylvania on Monday that has put an exclamation point on his performance this week. 

A trio of Minnesotans have cluttered the scoring leaderboard, as Jack Allgood, Austin Jarvi and Jack Keiser all sit among the top seven in points. At least one of those three skaters has factored in on 23 of Team Minnesota’s 29 goals in the tournament. That has led Minnesota to a 4-1-0 record, putting them atop the Wigston Division. Allgood leads the tournament in scoring with 14 points; he recorded a hat trick against Pro Hockey on Wednesday and followed it up with a six-point performance on Thursday against CCM Chicago. That game is the highest-scoring contest of the tournament thus far, with Team Minnesota edging out CCM Chicago 8-7, and the trio of forwards combining for an astounding 16 points.

Dylan Lavallee has been in net for all three of Team Brick Alberta’s victories. He has turned away 61-of-66 shots on goal through four games. Minnesota’s Graham Olson is the only goaltender with multiple shutouts to his name. He has logged more minutes than any other player in the field, and blanked both the Manitoba Junior Ice and Toronto Bulldogs in consecutive starts.

Montreal’s Kahne Laplume has allowed just one goal against, stopping 31-of-32 shots in two games and holds onto the highest save percentage in the tournament. He’s followed closely by Jackson Zinner with a .938 save percentage for BC Junior Canucks

Six teams will advance from round-robin action to the elimination rounds. Through the first 34 games, the Jr. Rangers have clinched the No. 1 seed in the Style Division. The Canadiens and Junior Canucks are set to play Friday morning with the winner earning the second playoff bid and the loser potentially eliminated. Brick Alberta could squeeze their way into the playoff picture as well with a win in regulation or overtime. 

Team Minnesota has also secured one of the three spots up for grabs in the Wigston Division. A win on Friday would clinch the No. 1 seed. The Toronto Bulldogs appear to have clinched a playoff spot as well, with the Manitoba Junior Ice and Toronto Pro Hockey still in the hunt for the final spot.

World Hockey Hub will have continued coverage of The Brick, so be sure to follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok and YouTube for more!

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Iconic tournament returns after two-year hiatus; 2011 and 2012 events ready to go

Visit most malls, you know what you’re going to see. 

Stores. Food courts. Retirees power-walking.

One particular mall in Edmonton, however, will host one of the greatest youth hockey tournaments in the world over the next few weeks.

The Brick Invitational — a tournament played at the Ice Palace inside the West Edmonton Mall — is back.

After being impacted by COVID-19 for the last two years, The Brick will be taking place for the 31st time, and it will have two birth years coming through town for some elite hockey.

“We are pleased to confirm the Brick Invitational’s commitment to host two separate tournaments in the coming year, including rescheduled dates for the tournament that was deferred from 2021. Regrettably, we were not able to accommodate the 2010 birth-year players from the original 2020 tournament year,” said Brick Invitational chairman Craig Styles in an announcement on The Brick website.

“Our committee has already commenced planning for this monumental endeavor, with full support of the teams, volunteers, sponsors and suppliers. There is still a lot of preparation required and we will need to be mindful of any health restrictions and/or safety protocols that may be in effect at this time, however we strive to provide a truly exceptional experience for all players and families in attendance.”

The 2012 birth-year participants will play from June 29 through July 3, while the 2011 teams will play from July 4 through July 10.

The kids are young, but if you look at the alumni list The Brick proudly displays, it’s easy to see that it’s a tournament worthy of following. It’s a who’s-who of NHL all-star talent, with players like Auston Matthews, Steven Stamkos, Max Pacioretty, P.K. Subban, Tyler Seguin, Zach Werenski, Seth Jones and the three Hughes brothers – Quinn, Jack and Luke – all being notable tournament alums.

The Brick organizers achieve the feat of bringing future NHLers together by having a substantial list of requirements for teams to meet. To apply for a spot at the tournament, teams have to spell out how long they’ve been in operation, what tournaments they play in, how the organization is structured and the quality of their coaching staff, and if they can make a three-year commitment to bringing a competitive team to Edmonton. That just gets applicants to the waiting list.

That’s why most of the teams are all-star collections from a state or province. On the schedule, you see team names like Team Brick Alberta, Team Minnesota, the Detroit Jr. Red Wings, the Boston Jr. Bruins, etc., as team organizers bring together the region’s best. For instance, the Detroit Jr. Red Wings may feature some Detroit Little Caesars players (the AAA organization affiliated with the NHL franchise), but AAA players from other teams across the state of Michigan try out for the summer team squad.

This year’s tournament features the Toronto Bulldogs, the Connecticut Jr. Rangers, Toronto Pro Hockey, the B.C. Junior Canucks, Team Brick Alberta, Team Minnesota, the Detroit Jr. Red Wings, the Montreal Canadiens, the Western Selects, Team Chicago, the Manitoba Junior Ice, the Boston Jr. Bruins, the Saskatchewan Jr. Pats and Team Pennsylvania for both age groups. 

If you’re keeping score at home, that’s seven Canadian clubs and seven American clubs, making for the perfect split between the two powerhouse countries. As the hockey world starts to assume a little normalcy, the battle for North American bragging rights is reinvigorated in Edmonton this summer. 

Connecticut Jr. Rangers beat Team Brick Alberta 3-2 in overtime in the 2019 title game for the last edition of the tournament. In 2018, it was an All-Toronto finale, with the Bulldogs topping Pro Hockey 2-1, again in overtime.

In 2017, the Bulldogs beat the B.C. Junior Canucks 6-5 in overtime. Michael Misa, the No. 1 overall pick in this year’s OHL Draft, had an assist on the game-winner and a whopping 18 points in the tournament.

What’s going to happen this year? The World Hockey Hub will be watching closely and ready to report on the highlights of the tournament. Be sure to follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok and YouTube for the latest from The Brick!

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What events to watch for this offseason

It may be summer, but it’s hard to keep hockey people away from the rink for too long.

There are major hockey events sprinkled across the “off-season” calendar, and the World Hockey Hub will be keeping an eye on them as we fly through the warmer months of 2022.

Here are some of the highlighted hockey events taking place in North America this summer:

Brick Invitational
June 29 – July 10

What’s better than one Brick? Two Bricks. The organizers for the Brick Invitational Hockey Tournament have expanded the annual summer tournament to two birth years, in an effort to accommodate a birth year that missed out on the tournament last year because of COVID-19. The 2011 birth-year will play from June 29 to July 3, and the 2012 birth-year will play from July 4-10. The tournament — played in the West Edmonton Mall — is one of the most unique events in all of youth sports, and while the 2010 birth year never ended up being able to participate, it’s great to see the 2011 group not miss out on the remarkable experience.

QMJHL Draft
July 4 – 5

It may be a holiday in America, but it’s a work day for one of Canada’s three Major Junior leagues. The Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) will start its annual draft on July 4, with the league setting aside two days to conduct its selection process of the 2006 birth-year class virtually.

NHL Draft
July 7 – 8

The culminating event of youth hockey is the NHL Draft, where every summer the hockey world gets to experience dreams coming true for its best and brightest. The World Hockey Hub will be watching, as well, to see where the newest NHL Draft picks came from and how their youth hockey resumes shaped their journey to hockey’s highest league. 

USA Hockey Boys Select 15 Camp
July 15 – 20

There are six different USA Hockey Player Development Camps, but the Boys Select 15 is the one that may have the most impact on top-level American talent. The first year of national camps for players progressing through the USA Hockey ranks, the Select 15 — held in Amherst, N.Y. — is the first big event of the year-long recruiting and evaluating process for the NTDP and junior league drafts.

Chowder Cup Series
July 15 – 17, 21 – 24, 28 – 31

The Chowder Cup — featuring a Mini, Junior and Senior divisions — brings top youth hockey talent to the Boston area for some impressive summer on-ice action. The Mini Chowder Cup features the 2008-09 classes on July 15-17, while the Junior Chowder Cup hosts the 2006-07s on July 21-24 and the Senior Chowder Cup for the 2002-05 groups on July 28-31.

Hlinka Gretzky Cup
July 31 – Aug. 6

It may not get as much publicity as the World Juniors (more on that below), but the Hlinka Gretzky Cup is a huge summer showcase to keep an eye on this year. USA Hockey and Hockey Canada use their summer player development camps as a tryout for the tournament, which will be taking place in Red Deer, Alberta this summer. It’s an Under-18 tournament that brings together elite players from across the globe heading into their NHL Draft year. 

PHD Best of Best Series 
Aug. 3-25

The Best of Best series, in its second season, aims to bring the best GTHL, Eastern OMHA, South-Central OMHA and ALLIANCE players together for elite hockey starting at the 2010 and 2011 birth-years. The idea is to bring the players in each summer, and in their fourth year through the program, play in a full OHL/NCAA showcase event.

World Juniors
August 9 – 20

One of the greatest events in all of sports will be a little warmer than usual, as the 2022 IIHF World Junior Championship will be taking place Aug. 9-20 in Edmonton and Red Deer, Alberta. The original tournament, which usually closes out one calendar year and opens the next, was postponed due to COVID-19 concerns, but the hockey community is making sure it still takes place – this time in the dead of summer.

CCM 68 Combine
Aug. 11-14

For the 2008 birth-year class in the United States, few events are as big as the CCM 68’s. Hosted in Chicago, the 68’s annually bring together the best players in the country, both boys and girls, for a weekend of on- and off-ice training and education. Alumni include Jack Hughes, Cole Caufield, Trevor Zegras, Spencer Knight, Jacob Trouba, Tyler Seguin, Matthew Tkachuk, Clayton Keller and more.  

Stay up-to-date on everything coming up in the world of youth hockey by following WHH on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok and YouTube!

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