Review & Preview: Big Events Continue Around North America
The the 2023-24 North American hockey season has gotten off to a roaring start with big events taking place starting at the end of August and continuing through last weekend. The schedule doesn't lighten up at all this weekend as more big events are scheduled in both the United States and Canada.
Here is a look back at last weekend's happenings and a look ahead to this weekend's bigger events:
Last Weekend’s Wrap
The big-time events continued as Canada got into the act with a huge U18 girls showcase that featured top programs from both sides of the border. At the same time, one of the biggest early season Tier 2 boys tournaments was taking place in Michigan and one of the top Tier 1 boys leagues in the United States hosted its first showcase weekend.
Stoney Creek U18 Showcase
Sixty-four girls teams, including many of the top U16 programs in the U.S. and top U18 teams from Canada, traveled to Ontario for the Stoney Creey Sabres U18 Showcase. Four teams walked away with championships in the various divisions after every club played at least five games.
Pittsburgh Penguins Elite 16U defeated the Stratford Aces, 3-1, to capture the Gold Division championship. Pens Elite finished the tournament with a 6-0-0 record and outscored its opponents, 24-1. The Aces wound up 4-2-0 with a 15-3 goal differential.
In the Silver Division, Intrepide de L’Outaouais knocked off the North Halton Twisters, 3-1, in the finals to finish 5-0-1. They outscored their opponents, 25-1, while the Twisters held a 13-9 scoring edge vs. their opponents in going 4-0-2.
The North York Storm beat Belle Tire 16U in the Bronze finals, to finish 5-0-1. The 1-0 decision in the title game gave them a 23-11 goal differential for the weekend. Belle Tire went 5-1-0 and outscored its foes, 15-2.
And in the Brass Division, Bishop Kearney Selects 16U beat the Stoney Creek Sabres, 3-0, to capture the championship. BK finished 5-0-1 and outscored its opponents,15-3, while the Sabres outscored their foes, 12-8, en route to a 4-2-0 mark.
Some of the top United States Tier 1 programs represented in Stoney Creek included Honeybaked, Philadelphia Jr. Flyers, Team Illinois, Belle Tire, Chicago Mission, Windy City Storm, Pittsburgh Penguins Elite, Bishop Kearney Selects and Little Caesars.
Traditionally strong Canadian AA programs that participated included the Peterborough Ice Kats, Stoney Creek Sabres, London Devilettes, Barrie Sharks, North York Storm, Toronto Leaside Wildcats, Burlington Barracudas, Etobicoke Dolphins, Oakville Hornets, St. Albert Slash, Fraser Valley Rush, Durham West Lightning and Mississauga Jr. Hurricanes.
Tournament games can be viewed on-demand via LiveBarn.
Stoney Creek 18U Showcase Schedule & Scores:
CCM Michigan Classic
Another 124 mostly AA boys teams participated across nine age groups in the Michigan CCM Classic at 10 rinks around the state. There were 86 boys teams competing in the 14U through 18U age groups along with an additional 38 in the 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014 divisions. They played a total of 275 games over the weekend in an event that was comprised mostly of AA teams from the United States along with a few high-school teams.
The CCM Michigan Classic was held at 10 venues around the state. Games were played in Grand Rapids, East Lansing, Hudsonville, Byron, Kalamazoo, Holland and Brighton. At least eight of those rinks have LiveBarn feeds, so games should be available for on-demand viewing.
Tier 2 programs competing whose AA teams often are found near the top of the U.S. national rankings or compete for berths at USA Hockey Nationals included the Chicago Jets, St. Louis Eagles, Chicago Hawks, Saint Clair Shores Saints, Naperville Sabres, Chicago Bulldogs, Chicago Blues, Oakland Jr. Grizzlies and Ashburn Xtreme.
The Arapahoe Warriors went 6-0-0 in the 2011 Division and 5-0-1 in the 14U Division to capture championships in those age groups, defeating the St. Louis Knights (5-1-0) and Kensington Valley Raiders, 5-3, respectively.
Plymouth Flyers Black finished 6-0-0 and beat the Peoria Jr. Mustangs, 2-1, in the championship game to earn the 2010 Division Title. Peoria finished the tourney 4-2-0.
The Chicago Bulldogs defeated the Chicago Blues in the 15/16U title clash, 2-1, to finish 4-1-1 while the Blues ended up 4-2-0.
In the 16U Division, the St. Louis Sting concluded a perfect 6-0-0 weekend with a 5-2 championship-game win against the Chicago Blues to take home the hardware, while at the 18U level the 6-0-0 Chicago Jets beat the 5-0-1 Ashburn Xtreme, 3-1, to capture the title for that age group.
CCM Michigan Classic Scores, Standings and Schedule:
Northeast Pack Showcase
Back East in Rhode Island, one of the top AAA leagues in the U.S., the Northeast Pack, held its first weekend showcase of the season with 10 teams competing over three days at Adelard Arena in Woonsocket and Smithfield Municipal Ice Rink. Both rinks have LiveBarn, so on-demand viewing should be available, and all games featuring Mount St. Charles can be seen on-demand via the Fans Only Sports Network.
The Northeast Pack began play in 2019. It is a compilation of prominent youth hockey organizations that share a vision for player-focused development. It is a Northeast-based league that features five AAA programs that traditionally compete for top national rankings and USA Hockey National Championships.
Last weekend’s initial event featured the league’s 16U and 18U teams: the Long Island Gulls, Mount St. Charles, New Jersey Rockets, Pittsburgh Penguins Elite and Bishop Kearney Selects.
Sept. 8 18U Scores:
Sept. 8 16U Scores:
Sept. 9 18U Scores:
Sept. 9 16U Scores:
Sept. 10 Scores:
Northeast Pack League Information:
A Look Ahead
Stoney Creek University Showcase
The big tournaments keep coming this weekend, with top U22 Canadian and 19U American girls teams also descending upon Hamilton, Ontario, for another great three days of high-level hockey featuring some of the up-and-coming North American women’s hockey superstars Sept 15-17. Another 64 team will compete in eight different divisions at Gateway Arena and Mowhawk 4 Ice, with games available for live and on-demand viewing on LiveBarn. Many of the same top girls and women’s hockey organizations that sent teams to the U18 Showcase will be competing this weekend.
Calgary Firestarter U18 AAA Tournament
The GHC Calgary Fire AAA/AA female hockey organization and its volunteer members created the Calgary Firestarter Tournament, a widely attended tournament of that raises the profile of AAA/AA female hockey in Western Canada, in 2016. Featuring teams from the U13 AA level through U18 AAA, it also provides an opportunity for participants to diversify their competition pool and allows teams to finalize their rosters for the upcoming season.
Many of the athletes who compete in the Firestarter have committed to university or college teams in Canada and the United States. The teams provide a strong representation of the highest level of amateur female hockey in Western Canada.
This weekend, the U18 AAA event is being held in Calgary. It started on Thursday, Sept. 14 and runs through Sunday, Sept. 17.
NAPHL T1ER Showcase
In conjunction with the annual North American Hockey League Showcase in Blaine, Minn., the North American Prospects Hockey League is holding its first T1ER Showcase Sept. 14-17. The T1ER season begins in cooperation with the showcase, often referred to as “The Greatest Show on Ice.” The NAHL Showcase attracts more than 9,000 spectators annually, including 300-plus professional, college and junior scouts. The entire weekend represents one of the best scouting opportunities for NCAA, junior and professional coaches and scouts.
All of the weekend’s NAPHL games will be broadcast live on NAHLTV.
The NAPHL's T1ER League is comprised of teams at the 18U, 16U, 15U and 14U levels competing in a full NAPHL schedule that includes strategically located and scheduled showcases during the 2023-24 season. T1ER teams compete in a combination of league-wide and regional exposure events that bring everyone under one roof to make it easier for junior and college scouts to attend and evaluate.
The league’s primary mission is to provide development and exposure opportunities for players as they advance along the pathway toward junior and college hockey. Members get the opportunity to participate in some of the most dynamic and highly scouted events in the United States.
CCM Invitational Denver
Also being held this weekend is the CCM Invitational Denver, a 92-team Tier 2 boys tournament for eight different age groups. Teams representing birthyears 2013 through 16U will be competing from Sept. 15-17 at four different Colorado facilities, at least three of which are serviced by LiveBarn.