The International Silver Stick finals in Whitby, Ontario, CAN., brought together a remarkable collection of youth hockey talent for its four age groups. It is one of the longest standing and most iconic youth hockey tournaments in all of North America. After this weekend, four teams — two from Canada and two from the U.S. — were able to add their names to the history books.
The field for the 2007-born teams at Whitby was incredibly deep, but in the end, it played out as the rankings indicated it would. In the tournament finale, it was the Toronto Marlboros, ranked No. 1 in Canada and No. 17 in the world, taking on the Bishop Kearney Selects, ranked No. 2 in the United States and No. 5 in the world. The Marlboros took advantage of the opportunity to make a world-wide statement, defeating their American foes 4-1 to win the prestigious Silver Stick and cap off a perfect trip to Whitby.
In an age group featuring 11 ranked teams in their respective countries, it was a battle each and every game for the Marlboros — and they got some help along the way, too. Toronto started with a 5-0 win over the Huron-Perth Lakers, followed by 9-1 and 5-2 wins over the Niagara North Stars and Barrie Colts, respectively. They wrapped up preliminary-round play with a 7-4 win over the Central Ontario Wolves in the Marlboros’ last game against unranked competition.
Things got a lot more interesting in the quarterfinals, as the No. 1 ranked Marlboros found themselves sharing the ice with the No. 4 ranked Mississauga Rebels. The Marlboros prevailed 4-2, securing another Top-10 showdown with the No. 8 Southern Tier Admirals in the semifinals.
There, it was a nailbiter, as the Marlboros eventually prevailed 3-2 for their date with the BK Selects.
Bishop Kearney’s route to the finals featured a few Top-10 showdowns, as well. They took down the No. 10 ranked Halton Hurricanes in their last round-robin contest before beating the No. 7 Toronto Jr. Canadiens in the semifinals.
The Jr. Canadiens had been responsible for the London Jr. Knights’ early exit. The No. 4-ranked Knights were bounced in the quarters by the Jr. Habs in 5-0 shutout fashion.
Meanwhile, it was the Toronto Young Nationals recording a perfect 4-0-0 record in preliminary-round play that caused chaos for some of the top-ranked teams. They started the Silver Stick tournament with a 2-1 win over the No. 3 ranked Don Mills Flyers which eventually led to Don Mills not making it to the elimination rounds. The Young Nationals did the same to No. 6 York Simcoe Express.
Meanwhile, the Marlboros are carrying their Silver Stick back to Toronto while surely moving up in the worldwide rankings after surviving the Whitby gauntlet. The four top scorers in the Silver Stick tournament all suited up for the Marlboros — Lev Katzin had 13 points in seven games, while William Moore had 12, Aidan Lane and Matheas Stark finished with 11 apiece.
Cooper Dennis recorded 11 points in seven games for the Bishop Kearney Selects, while Joshua Avery registered nine points in only five games. Even more impressive was Ryan Roobroeck hitting the nine-point mark in only four contests.
It was another battle of ranked clubs from two different countries in the finals of the 2009 division at the Whitby Silver Stick. Once again, the Canadians got it done, this time with the Don Mills Flyers beating Pittsburgh Penguins Elite 2-1.
Don Mills entered the tournament the favorite, as they are currently ranked No. 1 in Canada and No. 5 in the world by the World Hockey Hub. Pittsburgh, meanwhile, checked in at No. 10 in the U.S. rankings.
It was another stacked tournament field, as seven of Canada’s top 10 teams in the birth year made the trip to Whitby. Additionally, two ranked American programs in Pittsburgh and the No. 8 Mid Fairfield Jr. Rangers.
The final was actually a rematch of the preliminary round, as Don Mills and Pittsburgh were the two top teams in Group 5. In that contest, the Flyers blanked Pittsburgh 5-0.
That also ended up being the only ranked opponent for the Flyers in their run to the final. They took care of the North York Rangers 3-1 in the quarterfinals and Huron-Perth Lakers 2-0 in the semifinals.
The Lakers took down the No. 8 Toronto Marlboros in preliminary-round play, and in the quarterfinals, they eliminated No. 10 Ottawa Myers Automotive with a 3-1 victory.
The No. 4 ranked Sun County Panthers ran into trouble in the round robin, falling to the No. 6 Toronto Titans 3-0 in their first game, and the unranked Niagara North Stars 5-3 later in the same day.
Meanwhile, Pens Elite were responsible for bouncing the No. 2 ranked team in all of Canada, as they beat the Toronto Jr. Canadiens 3-2 in the semifinals before running into Don Mills for the finale.
Another cross-country showdown between highly ranked squads, but this time, the Americans won. In the 2011 title game at Whitby Silver Stick, it was Mid-Fairfield Jr. Rangers, ranked No. 2 in the U.S., beating the Toronto Jr. Canadiens, ranked No. 1 worldwide and in Canada, by a final score of 4-2.
The two programs highlighted a field that featured the No. 1 ranked teams in both the U.S. (Pittsburgh Penguins Elite) and Canada (Jr. Canadiens). Four top-five teams from Canada were competing, with the Elgin-Middlesex Canucks, Vaughan Kings and Oakville Rangers joining the Jr. Canadiens. Three top-five teams from the U.S. crossed the border for the tournament, as well, in the Penguins, Mid-Fairfield and No. 4 ranked Chicago Reapers.
The Jr. Rangers had a challenging path to their Silver Stick title, as they started with a 5-4 win over the No. 5 ranked Oakville Rangers. They dropped their second game of the tournament, however, losing 2-1 to the Quinte Red Devils.
Mid-Fairfield bounced back with a huge 2-1 win over the No. 3 Vaughan Kings on Saturday morning, however, and they wrapped up preliminary-round play with a 2-1 win over York Simcoe Express.
In the quarterfinals, they took care of American foe Little Caesars 5-1. That led to back-to-back games with teams ranked No. 1 in their respective countries. Mid-Fairfield beat the Pittsburgh Penguins Elite 4-3 in the semifinals before the aforementioned 4-2 win over the Jr. Canadiens in the final.
Little Caesars prevailed in the title game of the 2013 birth year, as they won an All-American battle with Mid-Fairfield Jr. Rangers, 7-3.
Little Caesars dominated from start to finish in their run to the youngest Whitby Silver Stick division title. On Day 1, they recorded 10-0 and 11-3 wins over the Elgin-Middlesex Canucks and Oakville Rangers, respectively.
The next day, they beat the South Shore Kings 6-1 and the Toronto Young Nationals 7-2.
In the elimination rounds, it was more routs. Caesars beat the Pittsburgh Penguins Elite 8-0 in the quarterfinals, the Toronto Jr. Canadiens 7-3 in the semifinals, and Mid-Fairfield 7-3 in the final.
A tournament that dates back to 1957, the International Silver Sticks is one of the oldest and longest running youth hockey events in North America. This season, some of the top teams from the United States and Canada clash at the 2007, 2009, 2011 and 2013 birth years. They compete with the hopes of winning one of the most unique trophies in the sport; a full-size silver hockey stick. One hundred AAA-level teams will compete in the top divisions of the tournament. We dive deep into the field to offer one team from each Group with the potential to win the whole thing.
It’s called 15O in the U.S., and U16 in Canada. At the end of the day, they’re all 2007-born players. This year’s field consists of 30 teams, three of them from below the 49th parallel. The No. 2 Bishop Kearney, No. 9 Pittsburgh Penguins Elite and unranked Cleveland Barons join a field that consists of the top nine teams from Canada. That’s right, from No. 1 Toronto Marlboros and No. 2 Don Mills Flyers down to No. 10 Halton Hurricanes, the 2007 division is stacked.
Group 1: Three teams have a legit shot at winning this group of five. Unranked Vaughan Kings could play spoiler, but it will come down to the matchup between Bishop Kearney and Halton. The Hurricanes have lost outright just once since September. They stay hot and win the group.
Group 2: This should come down to No. 7 Toronto Jr. Canadiens and No. 8 Southern Tier Admirals. The two teams played last month, and the Jr. Canadiens came out on top 3-1 at the Wendy Duffton Memorial Tournament. Nico Addy, Jake O’Brien and the Jr. Canadiens have a deep offense that gives them an advantage here.
Group 3: If the London Jr. Knights want to be talked about amongst the best in the country, they need to have a strong showing here. Ryan Roobroeck is one of the best forwards in the country, and he’s playing like it too. He has 45 goals and 77 points in 25 games for London and he alone could be enough for them to advance to the playoff rounds.
Group 4: Toronto Marlboros. That’s it. They’re the No. 1 team in Canada and should be considered one of the favorites to win the entire tournament. They’re 10-2-0 in the last month and should make quick work of pool play opponents.
Group 5: Don Mills Flyers come in as the highest-ranked team in the field. However, they’ve already lost to pool opponents No. 6 York Simcoe Express 5-3 and unranked Toronto Young Nationals 4-3. The ‘favorite’ ain’t the favorite here; take the Nationals as an underdog in the pool, and potentially in the playoffs as well.
Group 6: It’s unfortunate that the No. 3 Mississauga Rebels and unranked Peterborough Petes open up pool play against each other. Odds are, the playoff bid for Group 6 will be decided on the first day of the tournament. Rebels run wild after an opening-day win and make a push deep into the final day of the weekend.
Mid-Fairfield Jr. Rangers, Middlesex Islanders and Pittsburgh Penguins Elite represent the U.S. among the field of 25 teams. MFJR sits at No. 7 in the country and the trio of American teams will compete with No. 1 Don Mills Flyers, No. 2 Toronto Jr. Canadiens, No. 4 Sun County Panthers, No. 5 Toronto Red Wings, No. 6 Toronto Titans and No. 8 Toronto Marlboros.
Group 1: The Jr. Canadiens are the No. 2 team in the country, and should be one of the favorites to win Silver Sticks. The Toronto Red Wings may be the only team to put up a fight in pool play, and that’s a team that the Jr. Canadiens have already defeated 8-1 earlier this season.
Group 2: Ottawa Myers Automotive has played a tough slate of games this season and competed with the best in the country. They survive a really close, scrappy group where multiple teams finish with multiple wins and multiple losses. Ottawa takes that survive-and-advance mentality into playoffs and may even steal a game there as well.
Group 3: Sun County and Mid-Fairfield will meet for the third time this season, each team with a win apiece. The winner advances to the playoff rounds — and the loser may, as well — but the Panthers win a close one in the final game of pool play to lock up a spot.
Group 4: One more upset to keep an eye on. Watch unranked Huron-Perth Lakers give No. 8 Toronto Marlboros all they can handle on Friday night. It just might be enough for the Lakers to pull an upset and steal an automatic playoff bid out of Group 4.
Group 5: Don Mills Flyers should go 4-0-0 in pool play. They might not get tested until the quarters or semifinal playoff rounds. On one hand, it can be beneficial to cruise into the final four. On the other, DMF runs the risk of an upset when facing the first signs of adversity. Nonetheless, the Flyers should be one of the last teams standing on Sunday.
Once again, the Pittsburgh Penguins Elite and Mid-Fairfield Jr. Rangers will represent the U.S. in the 2011 Division just like their 2009-born counterparts. The difference here is PPE is No. 1 in the country and MFJR is No. 2, respectively. If the U.S. has a shot at winning a Silver Sticks tournament on Canadian soil, these two teams may lay claim to it. Five teams in the Canadian Top 10 will stand in their way, making the 2011 Division a close one to call.
Group 1: Mid-Fairfield, welcome to Canada! You get the No. 4 Vaughan Kings and No. 6 Oakville Rangers in pool play. It’s not a great draw for anyone in Group 1, but someone’s gotta survive. Advancing could come down to tiebreakers like goal differential or something wonky. Vaughan doesn’t give up much defensively, so maybe that gives them a leg up in a tight group.
Group 2: U.S.-based Rochester Coalition took top-ranked Toronto Jr. Canadiens to overtime last month. They might’ve surprised Toronto in the first go-round but that won’t happen again. Toronto takes care of business in a big way.
Group 3: Little Caesars is a storied program that has had a lot of success throughout this tournament’s history. Expect a strong showing from its only team in the field at any group. However, the automatic bid goes through Halton Hurricanes — a game that Caesars can win, but just not expecting it.
Group 4: It’s Elgin-Middlesex Canucks’ group to lose, but it won’t come easy. Both Middlesex Islanders and Toronto Titans provide big obstacles to tackle. As long as the Jr. Canadiens aren’t in EMC’s way — they’ve handed the Canucks two of their three losses this season — Elgin-Middlesex has a real shot at winning the entire tournament.
Group 5: If the Pittsburgh Penguins Elite don’t survive pool play, it’s a bad sign for Americans. Pens Elite have played nine games this season against Canadian opponents in preparation for this tournament. They’re 6-3-0 in those games and if PPE can’t make a run here, USA may be shut out of a Silver Stick championship altogether.
It’s the smallest field of teams with just 20, at the youngest age group of the tournament. It’s the most diverse field of the tournament, though, with a third of the teams representing the USA. World Hockey Hub does not provide rankings for this age group, however, there’s one team from each group below with a chance to win it all.
Group 1: Quinte Red Devils
Group 2: Little Caesars
Group 3: Mid-Fairfield Jr. Rangers
Group 4: Toronto Jr. Canadiens
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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The 2013 birth-year Little Caesars club got it done, as well, going 6-0 to win the Supertacks division title.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
World Hockey Events is headed to Hockeytown, USA for the first ever AAA Spring Invite. Eighty Elite and AAA programs from all across North America are headed to the Motor City on April 22nd for a tournament that’s guaranteed to be an instant classic. Bragging rights are on the line for Michigan programs as they look to defend their home turf against teams from New Jersey, Tennessee, Nebraska, New York, and New Hampshire. Nobody does hockey better than the city of Detroit, and this tournament better be on your spring team’s to-do list.
“The World Hockey Events team is chomping at the bit to kick this thing off,” said Jason Deskins, National Director of Recruitment at Total Package Hockey. “This is the first tournament we’ve developed under the newly formed World Hockey Events umbrella, and we can already tell that we’ve got a recipe for success. Our team has over 20 years of tournament experience, so it only made sense to host our first event in America’s favorite hockey city. We can’t wait for you and your team to experience the inaugural AAA Spring Invite.”
All of the action is going down at two of the metro area’s premier hockey venues; Troy Sports Center and Viking Ice Arena. Combined, the two facilities feature six full-sized rinks, which is more than enough ice for the 200-plus games taking place over the tournament’s three-day span. Not to mention, each venue is conveniently located near plenty of places to grab a bite, pick up a new stick, or take your mind off the game for a bit.
Already looking for things to do in the area? You came to the right spot! Detroit has no shortage of off-ice activities, whether you’re looking for team bonding experiences or some plain, old R&R. The AAA Spring Invite takes place just a quick ride away from the Arena District, which is home to four professional sports teams. Plus, you can’t forget about all of the spots to grab a team dinner on Detroit’s renowned Monroe Street. All parents and coaches are highly encouraged to round out the weekend by sharing a pint at the home of All Day IPA, Founders Brewing Company.
Want more from World Hockey Events? Check out our complete lineup of tournaments HERE.
One of the most demanding positions in any sport is playing goalie. All eyes are on them. They can’t hide from a mistake or a misstep. When the game is over the goalie is analyzed by everyone including their own coach, teammates, parents of the team, the opposing team and coaches, and even themselves.
The position often receives the most credit for a team win, but at the same time receives the most criticism following a loss. The most elite goalies not only require physical strength but mental and emotional strength as well.
An invaluable asset to goalies is to have a mental recovery plan. One that works following a loss, but also can be used right after a bad goal.
Goalies have, on average, less than a minute to get ready and set for the next play. That means if the goalie is thinking about the past mistake, what they should have done better, complaining about the ref, or worrying about their teammates, their mind is not where it needs to be.
If your mindset is not focused on the present play, your performance suffers.
A great question I like to ask athletes I work with is, “Who is the person you listen to the most?” Often, answers include parents, coaches, teammates, or teachers. Many people tend to forget that saying “myself” is an option.
The person you listen to most is yourself. Your internal narrative or self-talk consists of the thoughts and dialogue in your mind that you have all day long. This occurs automatically and we may not even pay attention to messages we send ourselves daily.
When goalies are in the crease, they need to be intentional about the messages they have on repeat. Their self-talk is critical for top performance.
If your self-talk is negative, overly critical and harsh, you are not helping yourself. You need to support yourself through positive self-talk. You don’t have to lie and tell yourself everything is great. But you need to be intentional about helping yourself perform better.
Cue yourself with instruction; “see the puck,” “play strong,” and “quick feet.” These phrases help you stay on task. You can also use motivational self-talk; “trust yourself,” “I got this,” “I’m ready,” or “I trained for this.”
Have 3 to 5 self-talk phrases that help keep you ready, positive and focused. Don’t help your opponents out by beating yourself. Create your top performance through great self-talk.
The best way to let your opponent know they’ve gotten the best of you is through body language. Many athletes don’t recognize the importance of body language.
Picture your opponent throwing their head back, then putting their hands up as if to blame their teammates for a bad play. Or if your opponent bends over, slams and breaks their stick, and skates slowly to the bench. Or imagine the players who have their head down on the bench and no one’s communicating with each other. Those players have already lost. They have been mentally beaten. They have checked out and their mindset is not in a place for their top performance.
As a goalie, you cannot let the opponent take up space in your mind. Be intentional about your body language. Imagine 5 things a goalie with good body language does.
Could you do all those things in practice and in games? Don’t allow your body language to be something that just happens. Practice it. Do not allow your body language to give anything away for free.
Positive body language for goalies includes keeping your head up, eyes on the play, standing tall in between plays and communicating effectively with teammates. Work to avoid blaming teammates, slamming your stick, throwing your head back or hanging your head, bending over in disappointment or getting in the referee’s face.
Goalies need to use their mind to their advantage. It’s great to keep the positivity up through self-talk and body language but these skills bring you back to your baseline performance. Imagery and visualization take your performance to the next level.
You cannot outperform your self-image. That means if you don’t see yourself making incredible saves, showing up big in the third period or shutting down the opponent’s power play, your chances of doing so greatly diminish.
Imagery involves all the senses — seeing, feeling, hearing, movement, smelling, taste — to recreate positive plays in the mind’s eye. The mind is so powerful that simply imagining great plays and good techniques solidify those brain-thinking patterns leading to quicker reaction times, increased performance and improved self-confidence.
Create a self-image of an elite goalie. See yourself succeeding and making the clutch plays.
It’s easy to get stuck in the last play. Our minds want to analyze the past and make corrections for the future. But there is not time to go through that thinking process during a game. This activity is better saved for after the game.
Instead, you need to forget the last play and re-focus on the immediate task. This is easier said than done, it’s a skill that requires practice.
With intentional attention shifting, you can get yourself back into the present by focusing on exactly what is right in front of you.
One of my favorite re-focus cues from a collegiate goalie I’ve worked with is, “Next Shot. Next Save.” This four-word phrase moves the attention to the next play. The past play doesn’t matter anymore, I need to focus on my next save.
Another goalie reset focus through a physical routine of tapping the goal post with their stick, adjusting their pads and getting back into their ready stance. Doing this routine intentionally helps them reset their mind and body.
The paradox of being a goalie is that you must be alert while at the same time relaxed.
If you become too anxious, you may play ahead of yourself. Getting yourself out of proper position, cheating on your corners or playing too far off the crease.
If you contract your muscles too tightly, you lose reaction time, your movements lose their flow and you get tired much more quickly.
If your mind is not relaxed, tunnel vision occurs and you may not be able to see the entire ice as you should. You may start overthinking about the last couple of plays and losing present focus.
The best performances for goalies requires the right amount of energy.
I’m not saying you should be falling asleep out there; that’s too far in the other direction. You need to find the right energy level for you. Some of your teammates require their energy to be at 10, headbutting one another, jumping up and down, and hyping themselves up. Others require a lower energy level of 3 or 4, listening to music and being calm but ready.
Think of your best performance, what was your energy level at on a scale of 1 to 10. It’s important to work to recreate that exact energy level. Many professional goalies tend to have a lower energy level where they are intensely focused, in the zone and ready for anything.
If your energy level gets too high, which is often the case, you need to be able to relax the body and the mind. Through squared breathing you can calm the mind and the body. This technique requires four-second inhale, four-second hold, four-second exhale, four-second hold and then repeat. This short breathing exercise can be done in between plays, after a goal or during the period break.
Also combine your self-talk and re-focus cues to bring your energy level to where it needs to be. These techniques do not have to occur in isolation and help improve your recovery plan while used together.
Having a planned recovery plan will set you apart from your competition. Some of the best goalies in the NHL credit their success to sports psychology skills. Those goalies include Braden Holtby and Carter Hart.
Create your personal recovery plan using the suggestions above. As a goalie you need to be able to shake off the last play. Good or bad, it’s in the past. The most important play is the next one.
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.
It’s supposed to be Canada’s game. For the better part of a fiscal year, though, it was one thing Canadians were restricted from partaking in. Whether it was at ice arenas, local rinks, frozen ponds or ODR’s in the backyard. It didn’t matter if they were high-ranking junior leagues, youth leagues or city rec leagues. The COVID-19 pandemic put the brakes on the game of hockey nationwide, in an unprecedented way.
After nearly 16 months without hockey — among many, many other things — Canada has slowly begun to return to normalcy, as rinks begin to open fully and players get back on the ice.
It was a year where two of the country’s premier youth events were canceled, with the PeeWee Quebec in February and The Brick earlier this month in Edmonton. So when the puck dropped at the Montreal Meltdown, the 29-year-old event was a symbolic beam of hope for hundreds of hockey families.
“Amazing,” said tournament founder Dave Harroch. “People just want to play hockey. We don’t care, we just want our kids to play hockey. It feels like we’re normal again.”
Started in 1993 with just 11 teams, the Meltdown has swelled to more than 300 boys and girls teams across 11 age groups in a typical year. While Canadians have gotten the go-ahead to return to hockey, travel restrictions and closed borders still limit the 2021 event in some capacity. No American teams were admitted, and a field that usually consists of participants from countries around the world were limited to the provinces of Ontario and Quebec.
That’s okay to Harroch and the current field of teams; they’re just happy to be back on the ice.
“Up ‘til last week, we were limited to 25 fans per game,” he said. “As of this past Monday, we’re up to 50. We’re lucky enough to have LiveBarn in the venues to provide streaming for parents and people who couldn’t get in as well.”
The country, like the rest of the world, is not completely in the clear. Precautions are expected to continue for the foreseeable future, and any remaining restrictions will continue to be levied slowly. Harroch and his team have followed any and all protocols throughout the process in an effort to deliver high-quality and safe events to participants.
July 2nd marked the official start of the Montreal Meltdown, with five Girls’ Divisions competing on opening weekend. Over the next four weekends, more than 400 games will take place, before closing out festivities on August 2nd at the Pierrefonds Sportsplex.
The month-long tournament will see hundreds of teams and families finally able to satisfy their hunger for hockey. What’s the expression? ‘Absence makes the heart grow fonder.’ After nearly a year-and-a-half hiatus, Canadians can be summed up in three words.
“We’re just happy,” said Harroch.