According to long term athlete development principles, it is at the ages of 14 and 15 years old when athletes desiring to play their sport at an elite level are encouraged to elevate the intensity of their training. This is also the age when playing with and against other top players becomes more important as coaches and scouts begin to evaluate players against their peers.
The CCM Minnesota Hockey High Performance programs help players in Minnesota fulfill both of those goals. As a component of USA Hockey’s national player development and identification process, the CCM High Performance programs provide the top Minnesota players in each birth year the opportunity to train with and compete against each other while being evaluated for possible opportunities to represent the U.S. at advanced levels of national and international hockey competition.
During the 2017-18 season, a record setting 57 Minnesotans participated in the NHL. With the exception of Dustin Byfuglien, who moved to Canada before he was old enough to participate, all of those Minnesotans (56 of 57) also played in the High Performance programs, formerly Advanced programs.
The first step in making it to a CCM High Performance Festival involves making the team from your District or Section. The nomination and selection process can vary by age level so this article is designed to guide players and parents to the right program and provide information on how to make the appropriate district or section team.
CCM High Performance Boys 14 (2005) and Boys 15 (2004)
Most of the participants in the Boys 14 and Boys 15 programs are still playing at the Peewee or Bantam level. Therefore, the player selection process starts with district tryouts.
It is common for districts in the Twin Cities metro to have several hundred players eligible to participate. When this occurs, the district typically works directly with association coaches to collect nominations and form an invite list of players from the district’s top teams and players.
In districts with fewer players, an open tryout may be offered. In those cases, age-eligible players who are currently playing on their association’s top team for their age classification can attend and attempt to make the team.
To learn more about the procedure in your district, contact the appropriate Boys 14 or Boys 15 General Manager (GM) for the Boys 14 or Boys 15 program. High school players who are age-eligible for these programs should contact their District GM.
CCM High Performance Girls 14 (2005) and Girls 15 (2004)
The Girls 14 and Girls 15 programs operate similar to the Boys’ programs. However, more of the players come from high school teams instead of youth teams so high school coaches play a larger role in the nomination process.
Teams are still formed at the district level and typically follow either the invitation or open tryout formats outlined previously. High school coaches are encouraged to nominate their age-eligible players to District GM's.
CCM High Performance Boys 16 (2003) & Boys 17 (2002)
The Boys 16 & Boys 17 programs are designed around high school Sections instead of Minnesota Hockey Districts, as a majority of the players are competing at the high school level. Each Section forms one team from the age-appropriate players on their Class A & AA teams (ex: Section 1A/AA).
Players must be nominated by their high school coaches. Then, approximately 40 players are invited to participate in section tryouts, where all players are evaluated for the Section’s Spring Festival team.
Questions on the nomination process or tryout schedule can be directed to the appropriate Section GM.
CCM High Performance Girls 16 (2003) & Girls 17 (2002)
The teams in the Girls 16 & Girls 17 programs are formed by high school Section as well. It is common for high school coaches to contact the Section GM and notify him or her that one or more of their players intends to tryout. However, most sections host open tryouts.
The dates and locations for tryouts are posted on the Girls 16/17 web page. Contact your Section GM with questions regarding tryouts.
CCM High Performance Ted Brill Great 8 (HP Seniors & HP 18/2001 birth year)
The CCM High Performance Ted Brill Great 8 now features four teams made of the top high school seniors and four teams formed from the top juniors (2001), who aren’t eligible for the Boys HP 17 program. The teams are formed and compete by paired Sections (Section 1 & 3, Sections 2 & 6, Sections 4 & 5 and Sections 7 & 8).
The Ted Brill Great 8 is the only festival in the CCM High Performance programs in which teams are selected without tryouts. High school coaches are provided with the opportunity to nominate their eligible players. Then, all of the appropriate coaches vote on who they think should represent their Section team at the Ted Brill Great 8.
The process outlined in this article focuses on how to make your district or section team for each age level. While making those respective teams is a significant accomplishment of its own, it is only the start of a fantastic opportunity for the players.
Each of the programs outlined above provide players an opportunity to test their skills against the best competition in the state. In each case, the players are evaluated and the top players are selected to move onto the next phase or festival. At the HP 15, HP 16 and HP 17 levels, Minnesota eventually selects its best players from each age level to participate in the appropriate USA Hockey Player Development Camps, where players are evaluated for opportunities on international teams. The players at the Ted Brill Great 8 are also evaluated for the chance to represent Minnesota on one of the two teams (HP 18 and Seniors) it enters in the CCM High School National Invitational Tournament.