The top boys and girls hockey players ages 15-18 in Minnesota will take the ice this weekend in the Reebok Minnesota Hockey High Performance Programs. The weekend’s events will include the HP 15 Spring Festivals, HP 16 & 17 Final 54 Festivals and the CCM National Invitational Tournaments.
The Reebok Minnesota Hockey High Performance Programs are a prestigious series of tryouts, camps, and festivals that provide the top players from each district or section a chance to play with and against the best players in the state. These programs are conducted in conjunction with USA Hockey and are referred to as “Select” programs in other parts of the country.
Boys and Girls HP 15 Spring Festivals
The HP 15 Spring Festivals consist of the top players with a 2000 birth year. The Boys HP 15 Spring Festival will take place at Plymouth Ice Center while the Girls HP 15 Spring Festival will be held at Braemar Arena in Edina, MN.
The festivals consist of Bantam/14U and high school players who participated in tryouts and skill sessions within their Minnesota Hockey district before being selected for the festival. The district teams compete in a round robin format. The boys’ teams will have three pools of four teams, based on the results of the seeding games played last weekend. The girls’ teams will play games out of two divisions of five teams.
A team of knowledgeable coaches and scouts evaluates all of the players for participation in the Reebok Minnesota Hockey High Performance Summer Camps in St. Cloud, MN. The top players from the Summer Camps are selected to represent Minnesota Hockey at a USA Hockey Player Development Camp.
Boys and Girls HP 16 &17 Final 54
The Final 54 Festivals feature the top 54 boys and girls hockey players in Minnesota that were born in 1998 and 1999. During the Final 54, each age group will be split into three teams. The teams play two games within their age group and one crossover game against players in the other age level.
The top 54 players were selected based on players’ performance in the Boys and Girls HP 16 & 17 Spring Festivals that took place April 17-19. The Spring Festivals consisted of eight teams from the high school sections at each age level with 20 players on each team.
At the end of the Final 54 Festivals, the top players from each age group will be selected to represent Minnesota Hockey at a national festival/camp, sponsored by USA Hockey, which involves the best players from each of the USA Hockey districts. The national camps are used by USA Hockey to identify the top performers in each age group for possible opportunities to represent the U.S.A. at advanced levels of national and international hockey competition.
CCM National Invitational Tournament
Every Minnesota Hockey, in conjunction with Reebok-CCM and the Minnesota Hockey Coaches Association, hosts one of the top showcase tournaments in the country, the CCM High School National Invitational Tournament (NIT). This year’s Boys CCM NIT will be held on April 23-26 at Plymouth Ice Center, and the Girls CCM NIT will take place at the same time at Braemar Arena.
“Many high school players have the potential to play at the next level after their high school career is over,” said Mike MacMillan, Executive Director of the Minnesota High School Coaches Association. “This tournament will give these young men and women a chance to showcase their abilities in front of scouts from the NHL, NCAA and junior leagues.”
The Boys CCM NIT will feature the top 18U (1997) players from Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan as well as a Senior All-Star Team from North Dakota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Massachusetts and Minnesota. The Minnesota Seniors were selected from the Ted Brill Great 8 and will be led by Wade Chiodo (Bemidji) and Tom Benson (Spring Lake Park), who were both honored as Coach of the Year this season. The Minnesota 18U team is composed of high school juniors that are too old to compete in the HP 17 program and were chosen during the HP 18 Festival.
The girls’ tournament features teams from North Dakota, Wisconsin and Michigan as well as a Senior All-Star team and an 18U team from Minnesota. The Minnesota Seniors team was selected from players participating in the High School Senior Classic. The Minnesota 18U team has been chosen from high school juniors with a 1996 birth year.