The USA Hockey Nationals will take place March 26th-30th in Amherst, NY. The tournament is sponsored by Toyota and will be hosted by the Amherst Youth Hockey Association. 

The following teams have qualified for the National Tournament in their respective age groups. 

U-14 (Bantam)

Amherst Knights (NY) (HOST)
Boston Jr. Eagles (MA)
Shattuck St. Mary’s (MN)
Buffalo Jr. Sabres (NY)
Detroit Honeybaked (MI)
Anaheim Jr. Ducks (CA)
TPH Thunder (GA)
Dallas Stars Elite (TX)
Cleveland Barons (OH)

U-16 (Midget Minor)
Colorado Thunderbirds (CO)
Michigan Nationals (MI)
Anaheim Jr. Ducks (CA)
Selects Academy (CT)
Cape Cod Whalers (MA)
Syracuse Stars (NY)
Carolina Jr. Hurricanes (NC)
Pittsburgh Jr. Penguins (PA)

U-18 (Midget Major) 
Culver Academy (IN)
CT Jr. Wolfpack (CT)
Springfield Rifles (MA)
Buffalo Jr. Sabres (NY)
Dallas Stars Elite (TX)
Detroit Little Ceasers (MI)
TPH Thunder (GA)
Ontario Avalanche (CA) 


Notes : The U-18’s are loaded with committed D1 players every year. The CT Wolfpack and Springfield Rifles will bring some of New England’s top prep players to the tournament. The Wolfpack will bring 6 of the 7 NEPSAC All-Stars : Alex Esposito (Loomis-Chaffee / Vermont) – Vimal Sukumara (Salisbury) – James Gobetz (Salisbury) – Zach Giuttari (Loomis-Chaffee / Brown) – Nick Quillan (Salisbury) – Sam Tucker (Choate / Yale).

The Springfield Rifles feature DJ Petruzzelli (Springfield Cathedral / Quinnipiac) – Chase Zieky (Avon Old Farms) – Brendan Ashe (Avon Old Farms) – Andrew Tucci (Choate) – Ben Freeman (NMH / Connecticut). 

Dan Hickling Photo Cred

The U-16 age group will be full of high caliber players as well. The Colorado Thunderbirds (56-4-0) (10-time defending state champions) are the defending champs at this level and will come in as the overwhelming favorite. The team is led by (D) Callan Foote and (F) Max Gerlach. Foote is the son of former NHL star Adam Foote and is being highly recruited by top NCAA programs as well as the WHL (round 3 selection by Omaha in the USHL) (round 2 selection by Kelowana in WHL). Gerlach is committed to North Dakota. Like the rest of his star teammates, the WHL is on him (6th round by Medicine Hat in WHL). Gerlach is from Texas, but has played for the Thunderbirds since he was a bantam. Also competing for the Thunderbirds is 98′ F Brian Hawkinson, a Miami (OH) commit. And of course, it wouldn’t be the Thunderbirds unless there was a Shore on the team. 99′ (F) Baker Shore is another solid prospect who should garner some attention up front. 

In net, the Thunderbirds have one of the top 98′ goaltenders in Dayton Rasmussen (formerly of Holy Family). Rasmussen is a high draft choice (47th overall) of Waterloo in the USHL and could start for them next season. 

One of the top prospects in any level of USA Hockey at this time, 99′ (D) David Farrance will also be present, suiting up for the Syracuse Stars. Farrance is committed to Boston University and is a strong candidate for the USNTDP, but it is rumored that the OHL might be in the picture. 

Another team to look out for is the Selects Academy U-16’s. The biggest stars are up front, 00′ (F) Matthias Emilio-Pattersen is committed to Denver. Another 00′ (F) Joel Farabee is committed to UNH. That’s two players who are playing up an age group and have already secured D1 commitments to top level programs. They also have one of the top 99’s in (F) Matt Allen (Providence). Also look out for 00′ (F) Drew Elser and 00′ (D) Connor Hutchinson. The team is obviously a bit younger and probably won’t compete for the championship, but they should be fun to watch.

(Dan Hickling Photo Credit)

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