Players arrived for the first day of the Boys Select 17 Player Development Camp in Amherst, NY today. Checking into their dorms and dropping their equipment off at the rink, there was an excitement in the air of the possibility of making the Hlinka Gretzky Cup team, which will be picked at the end of camp. Each of the kids met their teammates, coaches and team leaders and started with some team building activities before getting on the ice together for the first time for practice.
Throughout the day, the coaching staff, created practice plans for the the two days of practices. Today's practice consisted of small area games, and the coaching staff discussed drills that would help breakouts, forecheck and power play along with general skill development.
There were also discussions about the type of player that the staff would be looking at for the Hlinka Gretzky Cup. Of the 180 players in camp, 22 will be chosen to compete for Team USA in the Czech Republic/Slovakia.
Hlinka Gretzky Cup Staff Announced
Pat Ferschweiler (Rochester, Minn.), who spent the last four years as an assistant coach for the NHL's Detroit Red Wings, will serve as head coach for the 2019 U.S. Under-18 Men's Select Team that will compete in the 2019 Hlinka Gretzky Cup. Ferschweiler will be joined behind the bench by assistant coaches Mark Dennehy (Andover, Mass./Binghamton Devils (AHL)), Roger Grillo (Providence, R.I./USA Hockey) and Kevin Moore (Belle Mead, N.J./Adrian College).
For more information on the coaching staff, click here.
Coming Up Wednesday
Following a practice in the morning, the teams will take the ice for their first games in the afternoon. The schedule can be found below, and the games can be streamed live at USAHockey.HockeyTV.com.
Royal vs. Red - 3:00 p.m. ET
Black vs. Columbia - 3:30 p.m. ET
Kelly vs. Grey - 5:00 p.m. ET
Forest vs. White - 5:30 p.m. ET
Navy vs. Gold - 7:00 p.m. ET
Ben Warda is the Team Leader for Green at the Boys Select 17 Player Development Camp. This is his first time working a USA Hockey camp.
Warda is from Lake Orion, Mich. and currently coaches the 16U AAA Colorado Springs Tigers. Prior to that, Warda's first year of coaching was in Nashville for the 16U Junior Predators.
One of the many coaches with high-level playing experience, Warda played professionally in Germany for four years after playing Division I hockey at Western Michigan University.
"It's been exciting," said Warda. "I've learned so much right away, and just getting to know the kids has just been so fun. Not only are they great players, they are great people, too."