USA Hockey Nationals Information Finalized

Mar 15, 2023 | World Hockey Hub


At-Large Bids, Groupings and Schedule Announced for 14U, 15O, 16U tournaments

On Wednesday, USA Hockey unveiled the groupings, schedule and information regarding the 2023 national championships. In doing so, the four at-large teams for each of the 14U, 15O and 16U tournaments were announced, finalizing the field of 16 teams at each age level. Additionally, the groupings for each of the 16 teams were released, accompanied by complete pool-play schedules.

All three age groups will get underway on March 29th, with championship games taking place on April 3rd. The 14U age group will compete in Plymouth, Michigan, while the 15O age group will compete in Wayne, New Jersey. Both the 16U and 18U age groups will bein San Jose, California.

Shattuck, Stars Elite Set to Clash in 14U Tournament

Nine of the Top 10 teams in the U.S. will be in Michigan for the 14U USA Hockey Nationals. Preliminary-round groupings include No. 1 Shattuck-St. Mary’s sharing the USA Pool with No. 4 Dallas Stars Elite. The two teams have yet to meet this season, and will clash for the first time on the second day of the tournament at 10:30 a.m. They’re joined by Little Caesars — who once ranked as high as sixth in the country — and split-season squad Team North Dakota

The Olympic Pool is loaded with three Top-10 teams, including No. 2 Chicago Mission, No. 5 Bishop Kearney Selects and No. 10 Pittsburgh Vengeance. The fourth and final team is unranked Carolina Jr. Hurricanes, who earned an automatic bid with a Southeastern District championship. Mission won the 14U tournament in 2022. While the ‘07s who brought home gold have graduated to the 15O tournament this year, the 2008s will look to repeat as champions for the program in 2023.

No. 3 Pittsburgh Penguins Elite come in as the highest ranked at-large bid in the tournament. They will be joined by No. 8 Boston Jr. Eagles, and again, two top-ranked teams that have yet to meet this season. Unranked Valley Forge Minutemen and split-season Minnesota Lakers will round out the four teams in the NHL Pool.

The Liberty Pool is highlighted by No. 6 Los Angeles Jr. Kings and No. 7 Mount St. Charles. Those two teams won’t meet until the final day of pool play, and in all likelihood, should determine the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds to come out of this group. Unranked Oakland Jr. Grizzlies and Team Wisconsin will have their hands full in this four-team group. 

#1 Shattuck-St. Mary’s
#4 Dallas Stars Elite
Little Caesars
Team North Dakota
#2 Chicago Mission
#5 Bishop Kearney Selects
#10 Pittsburgh Vengeance
Carolina Jr. Hurricanes
#3 Pittsburgh Penguins Elite
#8 Boston Jr. Eagles
Minnesota Lakers
Valley Forge Minutemen
#6 Los Angeles Jr. Kings
#7 Mount St. Charles
Oakland Jr. Grizzlies
Team Wisconsin

Tough Draw for Top-Ranked Little Caesars in 15O Tournament

They’ve been the No. 1 ranked team in the country for 18 consecutive weeks. Little Caesars’ reward for their dominance in ‘22-23? Arguably the toughest draw in the tournament. Both No. 8 Pittsburgh Penguins Elite and No. 9 Mid-Fairfield Jr. Rangers will be looking to take down the giant that’s been Caesars this season. Split-season squad Team North Dakota will have its hands full as the only unranked team in the USA Pool.

No. 3 Chicago Mission comes in as defending national champions of the 2007 birth year. They’re joined by No. 5 Long Island Gulls, Carolina Jr. Hurricanes and Compuware in the Olympic Pool. Mission and Long Island have yet to meet this season, but are set to do so for the first time on the last day of pool play. That game could potentially determine the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds to advance to the quarterfinals.

Shattuck-St. Mary’s came up just short in the national championship last season. This ‘07 group has played with something to prove all season long, entering the tournament ranked No. 4 in the country. They’re joined in the NHL Pool by two teams they have already beaten this season in No. 6 Mount St. Charles and unranked Team Wisconsin. The fourth team in the mix is Dallas Stars Elite, who’s just 5-5-0 in their last 10 games. 

The Liberty Pool is headlined by No. 2 Bishop Kearney Selects and No. 7 Los Angeles Jr. Kings. They’ve met twice this season, with each team picking up a win over the other. The swing game in the series comes on the final day of pool play, where they’ll likely determine the top two teams advancing to the next round. Unranked Neponset Valley River Rats and New Jersey Rockets will look to disrupt that narrative. 

#1 Little Caesars
#8 Pittsburgh Penguins Elite
#9 Mid-Fairfield Jr. Rangers
Team North Dakota
#3 Little Caesars
#5 Long Island Gulls
Carolina Jr. Hurricanes
#4 Shattuck-St. Mary’s
#6 Mount St. Charles
Dallas Stars Elite
Team Wisconsin
#2 Bishop Kearney Selects
#7 Los Angeles Jr. Kings
Neponset Valley River Rats
New Jersey Rockets

Can Bishop Kearney Repeat as 16U National Champions?

The 2005-born Bishop Kearney Selects won last season’s national championship, and the ‘06s will look to repeat as champions for the program. They come into the Liberty Pool ranked No. 5 in the country, but may not even be the favorite in their own group. No. 3 New Jersey Rockets are ahead of them in the standings. Plus, a pair of West Coast teams look to play spoiler in the Anaheim Jr. Ducks and Phoenix Jr. Coyotes.  

Top-ranked Shattuck-St. Mary’s headlines the USA Pool, with No. 8 Chicago Mission and split-season squads Boston Little Bruins and Team North Dakota. Shattuck has been the No. 1 ranked team in the country for 26 consecutive weeks, and will look to go wire-to-wire as the undisputed top team in America. A Friday matchup with Mission may be the only resistance Shattuck sees in pool play. Even then, the Sabres have a 4-0-1 head-to-head record against Chicago and could very easily run the table.

The NHL Pool features No. 6 North Jersey Avalanche and No. 7 Little Caesars. Unranked Cleveland Barons and Seacoast Performance Academy enter the tournament on the heels of automatic bids earned through their respective district playoffs. Caesars enters pool play as the only team with wins over all three of its future opponents, defeating the Avs twice, the Barons twice and splitting with Seacoast. 

No. 2 Long Island Gulls, No. 4 Compuware, No. 10 Mount St. Charles and unranked Nashville Jr. Predators make up one of the toughest foursomes in the country in the Olympic Pool. The top three have been among the Top 10 in the country virtually all season. Only Long Island and Mount have played each other this season, clashing four times in close games separated by an average differential of 1.75 goals.

#1 Shattuck-St. Mary’s
#8 Chicago Mission
Boston Little Bruins
Team North Dakota
#2 Long Island Gulls
#4 Compuware
#10 Mount St. Charles
Nashville Jr. Predators
#6 North Jersey Avalanche
#7 Little Caesars
Cleveland Barons
Seacoast Performance Academy
#3 New Jersey Rockets
#5 Bishop Kearney Selects
Anaheim Jr. Ducks
Phoenix Jr. Coyotes

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