World Selects – DraftDay
Posted April 30th, 2022
Four Teams Come To Nashville Competing Under The DraftDay Banner
It is one of the most influential spring-summer programs in North America.
DraftDay — based out of Ontario, Canada — has been an impressive developmental program that has impacted the likes of NHL superstars like Aaron Ekblad, Tyler Seguin, Logan Couture, Tyler Toffoli and Nick Suzuki. Most recently, top prospects such as 2005-born Connor Bedard and 2004-born Matthew Savoie have sported the black and red for DraftDay.
It has become a regular participant in the World Selects tournament series, and has three world championships to its name. DraftDay-Black is also the two-time, reigning champion of the 15U tournament, having won the 2019 and 2021 championships.
For the 2022 event, DraftDay enters four teams into the field of 32, including the defending champion Black squad. Red and White both return to the mix for a second consecutive tournament, while WestCan is slated to make its debut. The program has made an impact on youth hockey for 25 years, and has competed in WSI events since 2016.
5-foot-9 goaltender Jaeden Nelson will defend the net for Black. He played in the 12U WSI in 2019, and was a top performer in that tournament. After playing last season with the U18 Nepean Raiders, Nelson will once again look to be a standout in the 15U event. Fellow Ontario natives Matt Schaefer and Tyler Hopkins will play a significant role in the program’s drive to a three-peat. Edge School forward Nathan Behm will provide plenty of offensive power as well, coming off of a 28-goal season in Western Canada’s top league, the Canadian Sport School Hockey League (CSSHL).
A trio of defensemen will look to slow down opposing offenses in Nashville. Canadian-born Casey Bridgewater will work with Americans Eric Alexander and Keegan Gillen to provide a strong defensive effort. As long as Darren Mayhew and forwards up front can provide a few goals up front, the D corps should be able to contain most opponents’ offensive surges. Look for Red to slow the pace, and grind out low-scoring games against top teams in the Music City.
Another roster with a heavy Canadian influence, White — like Black — will lean on its goaltender, Owen Edwards, for a strong showing. Edwards played last season for the Whitby Wildcats in Ontario’s Eastern AAA Hockey League (ETAHL). Forward Carson Cameron was an opposing shooter for the Central Ontario Wolves, but will be teammates with Edwards this time around in Nashville. If Cameron and Greater Toronto Hockey League (GTHL) forward Matthew Scozzesse can heat up offensively, White could climb the standings early in the tournament — and stay there.
WestCan — given the name — consists of players primarily from the west coast of the U.S. and Canada. American Kejia Ni was an impactful forward for Top-10 team Los Angeles Jr. Kings. He scored eight goals and 24 points this season. Fellow forward Pryce Thiessen is expected to influence the offense as well, he played a similar role as Ni this past season for the Burnaby Winter Club U15 Prep.Thiessen and goaltender Burke Hood will go from foes to friends, after competing against each other all winter in the CSSHL to now teammates on WestCan. Hood was a top goalie in the league with a 9-4-1 record and 2.62 goals-against average.
With four horses in the race, no other organization will be better represented at the 2022 World Selects tournament. Will any of them survive the field of 2007-born teams to win the championship?
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