The 2017 World Juniors is right around the corner…..and anybody who loves watching international hockey cannot wait till the first puck drops to start the tourney. The world juniors has fans from many countries on the edge of their seats every year, for many different reasons. This isn’t Olympic Hockey where you watch all star caliber players from the NHL, KHL and other Professional leagues battling to win either a bronze, silver or gold medal for their country. Even though this yearly IIHF tournament is about winning medals, and is about players representing their countries and not wanting to go home early…..there’s one major difference. This is a tournament showcasing the best most talented and gifted teenagers. Some of these young men have already been drafted by teams yet some currently are now draft eligible.
USA Hockey announced these 27 players they picked to be on the preliminary roster today….something us hardcore USA hockey fans were extremely excited about. Many of these players have come from various hockey loving states, while a few come from places where hockey is still learning how to grow more.
*Illinios, Ohio, Texas, and Colorado are states that have 1 player representing them on the roster.
*Michigan is home to 2 players, while Connecticut and Massachusetts each have 3.
*Missouri has 4 players from their state, and New York currently has 5.
*Minnesota which has always been known as the official the State of Hockey has the most players represented on this preliminary roster…..a total of 6.
The roster has players from 7 different leagues all around North America. One of the interesting things from the preliminary roster this year is just how many of these kids decided to play in College leagues rather than other minor leagues. Sure it’s probably the most convenient option for these young players to play College hockey as opposed to trying to play for a league based in Canada or the West. However I think it says a lot about the current state and developmental path of USA hockey and its future.
21 out of 27 players on this roster currently play hockey in college. Numerous college leagues have made an impact in the ‘World of Hockey’ with having tremendous success by turning many players into pros. Out of all of them, the HEA has an astonishing 12 players coming from Boston College, Boston University, Providence College and the University of Connecticut. The total of four college leagues that American players in the 2017 world juniors will be showing off their skills from are:
The Big Ten (The Big Ten Conference)
NCHC (National Collegiate Hockey Conference)
HEA (Hockey East Association)
ECAC Hockey (Eastern College Athletic Conference)
That doesn’t mean the other leagues are not just as important. 4 players play in the Ontario Hockey league, 1 plays in the American hockey league and 1 other plays for the Western hockey league. Every league represented by this USA hockey roster is very important and very special.
They all have shaped these players into being the best of the best Americans to play in this great hockey tournement. And while the bronze, silver and most Importantly gold medals are the grand prize..the true grand prize is much more than that. The true grand prize is seeing what the future of USA hockey & it’s presence in the NHL will look like while watching these talented American boys make their mark on the grand stage known as the world junior championships.