A look at the No. 1 teams in final rankings of 2022-23 season
For the last 36 weeks, the most elite teams in AAA hockey have bolstered their resumes, won tournaments, league championships and national titles. The results are in, schedules completed and the World Rankings, presented by World Hockey Hub, have been finalized.
As the 2022-23 season comes to a close, we crown the No. 1 teams across six different age groups to finish as the best in the youth hockey landscape:
2006: Long Island Gulls (59-10-4)
Ending the ‘22-23 campaign as National Champions among 2006-born U.S. teams, the Long Island Gulls cemented their status as the best program in that birth year. A 17-game unbeaten streak to start the season would only be a sign of further things to come for this squad. They secured a district title at the New York State Amateur Hockey Association (NYSAHA) with a 5-1 win over the Buffalo Jr. Sabres. That victory earned them a spot at USA Hockey Nationals, where the team skated to a 5-1-0 record. Long Island deservedly won the championship by shutting out Little Caesars 2-0 in the title matchup. In 15 of the 17 World Rankings updates this season, the Gulls were the No. 1 team.
Forward Jesse Orlowsky and defenseman Donato Bracco were invited to the USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program’s (USNTDP) annual U17 Evaluation Camp. Bracco was later announced as having earned a spot on the team. Earlier this month, five Gulls were selected in the United States Hockey League’s (USHL) Phase-I Draft. Orlowsky, Ethan Wyttenbach, Malachi McKinnon, Nicholas Sykora and Brendan DeFeo all had their names called.
2007: Little Caesars (71-7-2)
You would be hard pressed to find another youth hockey team this season that won as much as ‘07 Little Caesars. After alternating wins and losses in the first four games of the year, the team hit its stride with a 46-game unbeaten streak. Along the way, Caesars nabbed titles at the CCM World Invite and USHL Youth Fall Classic. At USA Hockey Nationals, the skilled group was positioned as favorites to win the tournament. That was, until they fell in the semifinal round in overtime to Shattuck-St. Mary’s.
Despite a tough ending to an almost storybook season, players from Caesars were among some of the most popular this offseason. Goaltender Joey Slavick, defenseman Charlie Thretheway and forward Will Horcoff were named to the USNTDP U17 roster. Additionally, seven players — including Horcoff and Tretheway — were also chosen in the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) Draft. Six others were also selected in the USHL’s Phase-I Draft as well.
2008: Vaughan Kings (76-6-2)
The Vaughan Kings have held down the No. 1 spot in the ‘09 World Rankings for 24 consecutive weeks. They made their first big splash of the season by going undefeated at the Little Caesars Invitational. The team continued to roll along into the Vaughan Kings Classic, where they defeated York Simcoe Express in the final. The New Year began with another tournament win, this time by emerging as champions at the International Silver Stick. It was the second year in a row that the Kings were the last team standing at the major event. Next up was the Greater Toronto Hockey League (GTHL) Championships. It was here that Vaughan bested the Toronto Jr. Canadiens in a tough five-game series. The Kings wrapped up the campaign with an appearance at the U15 All-Ontario Championships. In the title game, they shut out the Soo Jr. Greyhounds 4-0.
2009: Toronto Jr. Canadiens (54-14-1)
The ‘09 Toronto Jr. Canadiens had a strong finish to their ‘22-23 schedule. This allowed them to hold onto the No. 1 World Rankings spot since May 7th. Since that date, JRC were winners in 10 of its final 13 contests. The pinnacle of their season was a 5-0-0 run at the U14 OHL Cup. Included in that performance were victories over fellow World-ranked teams Don Mills Flyers and Sun County Panthers. The club was undefeated in three different stretches of at least eight games. One of the most offensively gifted rosters in the world, the Jr. Canadiens finished with an incredible goal differential of plus-199.
2010: CSKA Moscow (45-0-1)
What else can be said about 2011-born CSKA Moscow that hasn’t been written already? The team opened their schedule with one of the best winning streaks in recent memory. Winding up in the win column in the first 36 games of a season is nothing short of spectacular. And when adversity finally did hit, they rebounded in full. After they suffered their only loss of the season — in overtime to Spartak — . The major players who helped CSKA’s incredible performance were the dynamic duo of Nikita Siniken and Roman Andreev. Siniken used stellar hockey sense and puck-handling skills en route to putting up 76 goals and 169 points. Andreev managed to record 98 goals and 165 points. Odds were one of these two were tasked with getting the job done if a big play was needed.
2011: Toronto Jr. Canadiens (53-8-3)
One of two teams from the Jr. Canadiens program to finish atop the World Rankings, the ‘11 squad for Toronto hit the ground running this season. Thrown into heavy competition early at the Toronto Marlboros Friendship, JRC collected its first trophy of the season with a tournament win. Shortly after, a perfect 6-0-0 weekend saw Toronto take gold at the CCM Motown. The team once more made it to another tournament final, this time at the International Silver Stick tournament. However, a solid run of championship success ended when they became runners up after a 4-2 loss to the Mid-Fairfield Jr. Rangers. The club added to their trophy case when they nabbed a title at the Vaughan Kings Classic by defeating Little Caesars 6-2.
Be sure to check out the complete world rankings, including Top 10s by country and World Top 25s for each of the 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011 birth years.