Eight teams vying for gold at annual tournament
This week, eight teams will travel to Stockholm, Sweden for the 15U AAA World Selects Trophy. The annual tournament is an opportunity for teams to compete nationally among fellow players of their birth year. Czech Knights, Astana HC, Slovenia Selects, TPH Selects, DevCo Hockey, Finland SHD, Sweden SHD Yellow and Sweden SHD Blue will be the participating clubs. The top six squads will qualify for the playoff round, with the top two seeds securing automatic spots in the semifinals.
Sweden spreading the wealth
Of the players making up the rosters of Sweden SHD Blue and Yellow, five of the top Swedish ‘08 WHH-ranked programs will have numerous players represented. Nacka HK and Södertälje SK will have the most representatives with five each. Mikail Kim was a standout winger at the Uplandia Trophy back in April for Nacka. He will suit up for SHD Blue. Defenseman Arvid Ermeskog will join him as a crucial part of the team’s defensive unit. All five skaters from Södertälje will be on SHD Blue as well. Christian Furuvik’s heroics at the Folke Filbyter Cup helped Södertälje win gold. The team hopes he still has some of that magic left for this run.
Four players from Boo HC will lace up the skates for SHD Yellow. The trio of Viggo Fors, Lukas Svensson and Alexander Engman will be a hassle for any opponent. All three lit up the scoresheet at the Folke Lindström Cup, helping Boo to a championship. Defender Gustav Révay will be the fourth player from their group. Some of AIK Hockey’s top producers will be joining SHD Yellow as well. Defensemen Henry Nicolaysen and Sixten Zakrisson will bolster the blue line. Viggo Låhdö’s offensive skill will be a big boost to the roster’s forward selections. Låhdö and Nicolaysen finished as the top two point scorers for AIK at the Folke Lindström Cup and helped the team nab a second-place finish. Flemingsbergs IK rounds out the world-ranked portion of players with the addition of Salim Ismailov to SHD Yellow.
Best odds for success
Given the immense talent divided among both Sweden teams, it would not be surprising to find one of them as the last team standing once the dust settles. Their preliminary round schedules are fairly similar and each has a matchup with the Czech Knights. The Knights went unbeaten in pool play last year and have already won championships at other World Selects events this year. They are a program that knows how to produce talent to win at these types of showcases. The Knights stand as the biggest obstacle in the way of any Sweden success. Time will tell if they will face off against one another in the playoffs. Should that happen, it will be a thrilling 40 minutes of hockey.