Byfield setting his sights on a historic mark

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Let's talk about New York's '03 class

Our ’03 content kicks off with a look at the Empire State and a myriad of talent that profiles quite well in comparison to their fellow Americans, and the OHL Draft eligible players on the Canadian side of the border.

 

While we still have a couple of teams left to see – not to mention the fact that this story is far from finished – the early verdict is that this is a group that will certainly play a factor in OHL Draft circles, as well as the obvious NTDP and NCAA interest that will ramp up as their journey through 14U and 16U continues.

 

Our feature today focuses heavily on four teams: Buffalo (Jr. Sabres); Rochester; Long Island (Gulls); and Mid-Fairfield.

 

We’ll introduce you to the names you need to know, and start piecing together how this particular group of players are shaping up within the ’03 age group.

 

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Stranges steals the show in Pittsburgh

CRANBERRY TOWNSHIP, Pa. -- The suburbs of Pittsburgh was the showcase ground for much of the United States’ top-end talent in the 16U and 14U age groups over the past weekend.

 

With 16 teams partaking in each division, good hockey was not a rarity as the opportunity to play alongside the USHL Fall Classic and the countless scouts that come with it was surely a motivator throughout.

 

Our first installment focuses on the tournament’s 16U Division, which featured some particularly high-calibre hockey that’s bolstered by the return of a number of quality ’01-born players.

 

For us, the focus was geared towards the 02’s, with no shortage of top-end OHL Draft-eligible talent in the house. Well, houses, as our time was largely split between the state-of-the-art UPMC Lemieux Complex and Robert Morris’ twin-pad facility that lies no more than 20 minutes south.

 

While Antonio Stranges quickly proved he was the star of stars, Wyatt Schingoethe and Landon Slaggert were just a few of the other big names that did well to showcase their talent. While the same can’t be said for everyone there, we can say this was a weekend that goes another step further in painting the picture of how this ’02 crop will ultimately turn out.

 

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This ain't your average minor midget team

TORONTO, ONT -- It wasn't always going to be this way. Before their victory in the Toronto Titans Tournament, and before a compelling start to the GTHL regular season, this was a team that was pushed to the absolute brink in bantam.

 

Who finished on top of the regular season standings a year ago? That would be the Mississauga Reps. Come playoff time, the Jr. Canadiens and those same Reps pushed the Marlboros to the brink of elimination, culminating in some heroics from Will Cuylle to allow the Marlboros to advance to what would inevitably become a provincial championship in Thunder Bay.

 

The script hasn't been perfect. It's come with adversity, and it's that experience which sets the table for this Marlboros team to potentially go down as one of the top minor midget teams we've seen in the modern era.

 

How? We're going to break down the personnel on this roster that make the '02 Marlboros a special team worth knowing about.

 

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Hope reigns supreme with the '02 crop

TORONTO, ONT. -- It's no secret that Ontario hasn't exactly produced some banner draft crops over the past few years. The '96 age group produced no fewer than eight first-round NHL Draft picks, with the 97's following that up with six names that included one named Connor McDavid.

 

Since then? It's been a bit bleak by the lofty standards that have been associated with the province's ability to develop not only high-end OHL players, but those capable to excel in the professional ranks beyond.

 

That being said, there is hope for a reversal to that trend. Hope that comes in the form of the '02 age group. For the first time in several years, it's fairly evident that Ontario has the edge on American-born players in terms of talent, although it's fair to say that the combination of players from both sides of the border will make the 2018 OHL Priority Selection one that is much anticipated.

 

With two weeks of the season under our belts, let's take a look at some of the big early-season storylines that are emerging from a hectic season of hockey thus far.

 

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Marlboros, Flyers set the pace

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Welcome back, hockey.

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The Off-Season: Ontario Defense

TORONTO, ONT. -- While there's clearly exceptions, typically you don't see as much volatility with defense from bantam to minor midget as the top-end normally hold their own, for the most part. Largely for that reason, it shouldn't come as a surprise that you also don't see as much off-season movement on the back-end, especially compared to the forwards, many of which were on the move.

 

In this installment, we'll cover off those Ontario-born defenseman who were ranked in our Bantam Final Top-200 and who are on the move in 2017/18. This edition finishes our off-season look at what's happened in Ontario, but stay tuned as we turn our sights state-side where there's been no shortage of intriguing moves from the American-born players.

 

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The Off-Season: Ontario Forwards

TORONTO, ONT. -- In just four weeks we'll see the return of hockey as we know it, with the Toronto Titans Tournament kicking off here in Toronto. Yes, you read that correctly.


So as we begin to say goodbye to summer as we know it, what better way to continue our off-season features with a rundown of the off-season movement we've seen on the free agent front. 

 

In this installment, we'll cover off the Ontario-born forwards who were ranked in our Bantam Final Top-200 who are on the move in 2017/18, and there's a lot of them. Stay tuned for more as we also continue our look at the defensemen, as well as their American counterparts in our next additions.

 

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The Off-Season: Ontario Goaltenders

TORONTO, Ont. -- Some might be apt to call it the silly season. Whatever you want to make of it, there's been no shortage of off-season movement across the minor midget ranks in Ontario as teams look to gear up for one final run at minor hockey glory, capping it off with dreams of hoisting the coveted OHL Cup.

 

It may be a cliché to say, but the backbone of invariably most minor hockey teams is the goaltender position. With few exceptions, you can only go so far with average goaltending which is why it's no surprise to see the off-season carousel in full effect as teams have been poised to get the guy they want in between the pipes.

 

Today, we'll break down a number of off-season moves - including Tristan Lennox - our top-rated goaltender coming out of bantam who will also find himself wearing new colours this fall.

 

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Bradley among Select 15 standouts

AMHERST, N.Y. -- It was the most anticipated event of the summer hockey schedule on the calendar, and while the hockey was nominally average for most of the time, the 2017 US Select-15 camp provided a nice reprieve from what is otherwise a quiet summer as it pertains to hockey.

 

As always, it's a mistake to read too much into this camp - good, or bad - but we've got no shortage of tidbits and thoughts to send your way as the stage has been firmly set for the 2017/18 season that lies ahead.

 

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US Select 15 Camp highlights summer slate

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2018 OHL Draft: Let's talk defense

scott campbell | priorityselection.ca

 

It was 13 picks before Grayson Ladd went up on the board as the first defenseman selected in the 2017 OHL Priority Selection. While four defenseman would wind up going in round one, it got me thinking about when was the last time a defenseman didn't wind up going in the top-10.


The answer? You have to go all the way back to 2001 in a draft that would feature the genesis of what would go on to be arguably the best NHL Draft crop in history. Ironic, perhaps, that it's the very same year these 2017 OHL Priority Selection players were born in.

 

Now that the page has been turned on this '01 crop, the focus shifts squarely to an '02 age group that's showing more promise to make an impact early on in the draft.

 

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2018 OHL Draft: The way too early edition

scott campbell | priorityselection.ca


As the leader indicated, it's still far too early to figure out exactly how the 2018 OHL Draft is going to play out.

 

That said, as we approach the summer, let's try and get an early handle on how the draft's top tier is projecting at this point; yes, while being fully cognizant that a lot could, can, and most certainly will change before the '02 crop has their turn under the OHL Draft spotlight.

 

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Final bantam rankings released

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Bantam final rankings set for May 2nd release

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Lennox tops the goaltending charts in bantam

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Kuntar, Mastrosimone ink tenders ahead of USHL Phase I Draft

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Put a wrap on the 2017 OHL Priority Selection

scott campbell | priorityselection.ca
 

TORONTO, Ont. -- April 8th has come and gone. And with it, the '01 crop's progression in hockey is a heck of a lot clearer than it was at this time last week as several OHL teams will kick off their rookie development camps as early as the Easter weekend.

 

While it would be completely naive to suggest you can really determine who won - and lost - the draft less than a week after the picks, we're going to take our stab at recapping some of the intriguing storylines and surprises that came along with this year's OHL Priority Selection.

 

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Follow the OHL Draft with Priority Selection

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Hughes closes out with top prospect status

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2017 OHL Draft: Top 30 Goaltender Ranking

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OHF's set to kick off in Thunder Bay

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NTDP Selection Camp: Who makes it?

TORONTO, Ont. -- While it's getting a later start than usual, the always anticipated NTDP Selection Camp kicks off today at the USA Hockey Arena in Plymouth, Mich., which is home base for what's popularly referred to in hockey circles as The Program

 

Link: NTDP Selection Camp Roster + Schedule

 

That program, of course, refers to USA Hockey's Under-17 and Under-18 teams, which play out of the USHL in addition to a host of international tournaments and exhibition games over the course of the season.

 

This year is a particularly wide open year, so expect competition for the final invites to be highly competitive over the course of the five games that will be played as part of the camp. With a focus on the OHL Draft region, we're going to handicap the potential of each player to potentially make this team.

 

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'01 final goaltender ranking set for March 27th release

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Five things to watch for at the OHL Cup

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Whitby seeks to defend their OMHA title

TORONTO, Ont. -- Heading into the most critical juncture of the season, the Whitby Wildcats couldn't be in a better place. Heading into the OMHA Championships, the unquestionable favourite is in prime position to not only punch their ticket to the OHL Cup, but also to win those coveted red hats as OMHA champions.

 

Link: 2017 OMHA Championships

 

This year's field features several returning faces, including the silver medalists from last year - the Quinte Red Devils. After being defeated 3-2 in a closely contested gold medal match last year, the Red Devils will be looking for some redemption as they travel to Whitby. The SCTA also has a returning face in the Brampton 45's, who will be looking for more success after managing just a lone win in last year's championship.

 

Of course, there's new faces this year as well; as the Ajax-Pickering Raiders and the upstart Grey-Bruce Highlanders round out the five team field.

 

So how will this year's tournament play out? Well, that's an excellent question; and one that we'll try to break down in this tournament preview.

 

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Chase Bradley commits to Northeastern

TORONTO, Ont. -- It should come as no surprise that one of the top 14U teams in the United States is already a source of Division 1 talent, and it's a trend that just keeps on churning.

 

Following in the footsteps of the commits of Alex Gaffney (Harvard) and Cole Vallese (Providence), Chase Bradley is the most recent teammate to add his name to the college pledge list, as he's made a commitment to Hockey East's Northeastern Huskies.

 

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Priority Pass: The Top 10

With less than two(!) months to go until the 2017 OHL Priority Selection, the always intriguing process of projecting the first round is starting to ramp up. 


As is the case every year, there's always a few picks that seem like locks; a few that seem possible; and the occasional pick out-of-left-field that absolutely nobody saw coming. In this year's crop, there might be a few more that fit that latter description, as this draft is as wide open as they come.

 

That said, we're going to break down some of the storylines to monitor for teams that would currently be picking inside the top-10, as the OHL standings are starting to stablize with teams rapidly approaching the end of the league's regular season. 

 

The rest of the article is a subscriber feature so please log in or register for a full 365 days worth of subscriber news, scouting reports, and player rankings covering the '01 and '02 age groups relative to the OHL Draft region.

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Priority Pass: The Russian curveball

If you're not familiar with the name Andrei Svechnikov, you probably should be.

 

The Russian-born winger isn't just the top '00 birthyear player in his country. He's the best in the world at this point, and there's no signs of slowing down. Plying his trade with the USHL's Muskegon Lumberjacks this season, Svechnikov's 1.19 point-per-game clip is second in the league, while his 20 goals rank third. Keep in mind, he's just 16.

 

So why does this matter for the OHL Draft? He might apply to get in. And if he does? All bets are off.

 

The rest of the article is a subscriber feature so please log in or register for a full 365 days worth of subscriber news, scouting reports, and player rankings covering the '01 and '02 age groups relative to the OHL Draft region.

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Priority Pass: The college question

TORONTO, ONT. -- Yeah, there's still no shortage of playoff hockey left to be played. And yeah, the OHL Cup is still a month away from happening.

 

But if you look closely, you'll notice that April 8th isn't all that far away anymore. 

 

As OHL teams really start to ramp up their preparations for 2017's edition of the Priority Selection, we're going to start delving into some deeper thoughts as to how the actual draft may play out, and the variables that need to be taken into consideration as the draft day approaches.

 

To start the series off, we're going to focus on the annual question that has perhaps more of an impact than any other: How do NCAA committed players factor into the draft? There's no shortage of players who fit the bill this year, and expect the list to continue to grow over the next couple of months as college's look to lock in their key targets prior to the draft.

 

The rest of the article is a subscriber feature so please log in or register for a full 365 days worth of subscriber news, scouting reports, and player rankings covering the '01 and '02 age groups relative to the OHL Draft region.

 

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Goaltender ranking release dates announced

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'02 Mid-Term Top 200 rankings released

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Size is the story in an impressive '02 crop

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Forwards headline '01 January Top-200

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Oakville has title aspirations in Port Huron, Syracuse headlines field in Buffalo

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Gaffney kicks off 2017 commitments

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It's the holiday season, so allow us to update you

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Border Battle Part II: The Americans

BRAMPTON, ONT. -- As we covered off in Part 1 of our Border Battle review, the '02 age group is tracking quite well at this point. While the defensive depth in the class hasn't been established just yet, if you're looking for forwards, this age group is the place to get them.

 

That theme is prevalent with four of the five American participants in this year's Super Series Border Battle, which was hosted by the Mississauga Rebels. Despite numbering just five teams in total, the field was impressive with - MyHockeyRankings as of this writing - #4 New Jersey Colonials; #6 Westchester Express; #7 Syracuse Nationals; and the #8 ISS Kings among the field of participants.

 

The rest of this article is a subscriber feature so please log-in or register for a full 365 days worth of subscriber news, detailed scouting reports, and player rankings covering the '01 and '02 age groups within the OHL Draft region.

 

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Jr. Canadiens, Reps, turn in impressive Super Series performances

BRAMPTON, ONT. -- The Super Series Border Battle, hosted by the Mississauga Rebels, is arguably one of the top tournaments you'll come across in bantam or minor midget each calendar, with some of the top American teams going head-to-head with many of Ontario's top bantam-aged squads.

 

This year's edition of the tournament featured 12 teams in total, with the Barrie Colts playing the role of the "sixth" American team as a late invite to balance the field.

 

Part One of our recap focuses on the Ontario teams who partook in what was a quality weekend of viewings. The rest of the article is a subscriber feature so please log in or register for a full 365 days worth of subscriber news, scouting reports, and player rankings covering the '01 and '02 age groups relative to the OHL Draft region.

 

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Preliminary '01 top-100 released

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Don Mills is perfect at the Kitchener Blueline

KITCHENER, ONT. -- While perhaps not the most prestigious tournament on calendar, the Kitchener Blueline Tournament still provides some decent insight to some of the middle tiered Bantam teams in the Ontario Hockey League draft region.

 

Containing teams from all leagues in Ontario, the tournament also featured a couple of entries from the US of A, with the Wheatfield Blades and Rochester Monarchs partaking in the affair. The rest of the article is a subscriber feature, so please log in to access the additional content, or register for a full 365 days worth of insider news, scouting reports, and rankings that cover the '01 and '02 age groups, relative to the OHL Draft region. 

 

Our full recap of the Super Series '02 Border Battle will also be forthcoming, so stay tuned for another set of commentary covering some of the top prospects for the 2018 OHL Priority Selection.

 

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OHL Battle of the Border: Part 2 - United States

SARNIA, ONT. -- Following up on Part 1 of our Battle of the Border recap on Monday, which covered the Ontario teams in action, we're back with the much-anticipated follow-up, which focuses on the HPHL representatives from this past weekend's showcase. 

 

While all six of the HPHL 16U teams were in action, much like Part 1, our notes will be somewhat restricted to coverage of the Chicago Mission, Compuware, Honeybaked, and Little Caesars. That said, we did catch a peak of Team Illinois and have seen some nice year-over-year improvement in Camden Thiesing's game, while former Chicago Young Americans Ryan Sorkin and Cameron Rowe will also factor in, in some capacity.

 

The rest of the article is a subscriber feature, so please log in to access the additional content, or register for a full 365 days worth of insider news, scouting reports, and rankings that cover the '01 and '02 age groups, relative to the OHL Draft. 

 

Stay tuned next week as we'll release our coverage notes from the '02 Border Battle, which will be taking place throughout the Greater Toronto Area this weekend, featuring no shortage of high-end talent for the 2018 OHL Priority Selection.

 

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OHL Battle of the Border: Part 1 - Ontario

SARNIA, ONT. -- The third annual OHL Battle of the Border showcase has come and gone, and with it, the American-based HPHL teams walked away the victors. Perhaps unsurprisingly, given the fact that the HPHL teams have an age advantage as the American 16U category allows teams to carry both '00 and '01-born players, but it would be unfair to say that the Ontario minor midget teams didn't hold their own – and then some.

 

Part 1 of our showcase recap focuses on the Ontario teams, which are principally focused on the GTHL's Toronto Marlboros and Toronto Young Nationals; the Alliance's London Jr. Knights; and the ETA's Whitby Wildcats. Our attendance was limited to Friday and Saturday, so this doesn’t take into account any of the games on Sunday morning. While we did have a look-see at Vaughan and Brampton in action, the way the schedule was situated, they were brief viewings. That said, we'll continue to have no shortage of viewings on both of those GTA-based squads in the forthcoming months.

 

Stay tuned for Part 2 of our recap, which will focus on the American HPHL teams that participated in the showcase.

 

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Ranking release dates for 16/17 season announced

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Tier 1 Scouting Notes: Part Deux

TORONTO, ONT. -- Below is a summary of some thoughts, tidbits, and additional commentary that's sprung to mind regarding the following teams: Ohio, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Thunder AAA, and Victory Honda. It's a subscriber feature, so please log in to access the content or register for a full years' worth of content, scouting reports, and rankings!

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Warren, Bertuzzi headline the star power in Windsor

WINDSOR, ONT. -- It was one of the best stops in the scouting circuit this season, and last year's Tier 1 Showcase in Windsor failed to disappoint. Held at the Windsor Family Credit Union Centre - yeah, it's a mouthful - the full throng of Tier 1 teams participated in a three-day showcase over the Canadian Thanksgiving weekend.

 

As if there was much doubt going into it, the tireless Marshall Warren was on full display, logging heavy minutes for his top-ranked North Jersey Avalanche side; while at forward, Oakland's Tag Bertuzzi had the type of impression we've been looking for, that is, a very impressive one.

 

Below is a summary of some thoughts, tidbits, and additional commentary that's sprung to mind regarding last weekend. This is the first of two features, with notes covering Belle Tire, Buffalo, Fox Motors, North Jersey, and Oakland. It's a subscriber feature, so please log in to access the content or register for a full years' worth of content, scouting reports, and rankings!

 

Oh, and stay tuned for part two, which will be released shortly!

 

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Hughes tops the chart for October

It may only be Canadian Thanksgiving, but the scouting season is already in full swing on both sides of the border. Coming off our recent trip to Detroit for the Compuware/Honeybaked Invitational; and Windsor, for the Tier 1 Showcase; we're all set for the first update of our top-10 ranking for the '01 draft class.

 

 

The top-10 is free to view, but please log in or register for additional commentary in this article discussing some of the rationale and decision making that went into this first release for the 16/17 season.

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Alliance Showcase: St. Mary's edition

Often overlooked and underappreciated, the Alliance continues to be a source of some quality prospects, with several of those being of the high-end variety in terms of the 2017 OHL Priority Selection.

 

This past weekend, we were able to cover a day of affairs in St. Mary's, Ont., where not even a town without an open restaurant for lunch could throw a wrench into a day of valuable viewings. So, where to start? 

 

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Alliance face-off set for St. Mary's

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Big 10 lands big with Gretz, Trombley, Paquette

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Rebels take 2016 Titans Tournament, remain good at hockey

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Stranges headlines underage players for 16/17

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'01 preliminary goalie ranking to be released Monday

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Turcotte headlines slew of July commitments

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USA Hockey Select 15 camp set to kick off July 16th

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Farinacci commits to Harvard

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Priority Selection releases '01 top-200 ranking

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Hughes maintains pole position in latest top-10

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Get ready Anchorage, 14U is going natty

When you think of Alaska, you're probably thinking about cold weather. Luckily for parents (and players) heading to Anchorage for the 14U National Championships, temperatures approaching the 50's doesn't sound so bad.

 

Nor does the prospect of watching 16 of the best 14U (2001 age group) teams compete for a national title.

 

The tournament, which kicks off on March 31st, sees the 16 teams equally divided into four-team pools where the top-two teams in each division will eventually make it to the single-game elimination knock-out round; which features a quarter-final, semi-final, and championship game. Who will come out on top? Well that's an excellent question, so let's see about handicapping how some of the pools could play out. For reference, the team's MyHockeyRanking will be included in parenthesis.

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'01 goaltender ranking set for March 27th release

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Bantam AAA championship field set

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Colonials reign continues, Ontario playoffs excite

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The road to Rockland: February 24th

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Alliance semi-finals begin tonight

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ETA playoffs set to kick off February 10th

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GTHL playoffs primer

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Priority Selection unveils Top 100 rankings

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Ice Chips: February 2nd

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Top 100 Rankings set to be released

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Little Caesars reigns supreme in Port Huron

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Initial top 20 rankings released

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Reps take home highly contested Holiday Classic

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Priority Selection officially launches

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London takes home 2015 Vaughan Kings Classic

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Varga paces Washington to quick AYHL start

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Rebels run the table in Super Series Border Battle

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Tier 1's brightest stars showcase in Fraser

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