One of the most exhilarating moments in a young hockey player’s life is learning he has been chosen to represent his country in an international tournament. Imagine his increased excitement when he discovers two of his friends would also be going with him.
Davis Burnside, Simon Motew and Jack Silich had just completed USA Hockey’s Boys Select 16 Player Development Camp in Buffalo earlier this summer. The boys, who have played in the Chicago Mission High Performance Hockey League program together since age 10, were present following the camp’s All-Star Game when the coaches announced their names were on the roster of the U.S. Under-17 Select Team that would participate in the Five Nations Tournament in Füssen, Germany.
“Me and Jack looked at each other, and gave each other a big hug,” recalled Motew, a defenseman from Highland Park, Illinois, whose older brother Max played college hockey at Plymouth State. “We were [all] excited. To see how far we’ve come, it’s unbelievable.”
The three played for the Mission 15-Only club this past season. While Burnside and Motew have competed together overseas before, it’s the first time they’ve shared that experience as a trio.
“Going over to a different country is a bit scary at first,” admitted Burnside, a center from La Grange, Illinois. “But to know you have two kids you’ve been with pretty much your entire life, it kind of calms you down a little bit, and makes it a better overall experience.”
It didn’t take long for them to make their presence felt. In Team USA’s first game in pool play Aug. 13, Silich scored two goals in a 9-3 victory over Slovakia. The trio has combined for three goals and four assists for seven points over the course of the tournament, and play their final game on Saturday against Germany. Silich, a right winger from Long Grove, Illinois, admitted playing a couple of exhibition games before tournament play helped him get over his initial nervousness.
“We felt pretty comfortable, as soon as the tournament actually started,” Silich said.
Last season, the Mission 15O team captured the Illinois state title. They advanced to the semifinals of the Chipotle-USA Hockey Youth Tier I Nationals before falling to the Oakland Jr. Grizzlies. Burnside had nine points (two goals and seven assists) during Nationals. Motew scored two goals and three assists for five points, while Silich chipped in with three goals.
"We played [the Grizzlies] many times throughout the season," Burnside said. "We beat them every time. They came out really strong and ended up beating us. But, it was an overall great experience, because it was probably the last year all of us were going to play together before we all split up.”
There’s an easy camaraderie that comes with bonding together on and off the ice. Motew and Burnside trained together this summer. Each year, the team gathers at the Silich family’s lake house for a party. Silich’s uncle, Chris, was a former professional golfer. Burnside enjoys playing his father (and beating him) in golf and tennis. Motew also enjoys playing the links, and the three teens golf together on occasion, although, as Burnside points out with a chuckle, “we’re not very good, so it’s just friendly play.”
Burnside, an Ohio State commit, is looking forward to playing junior hockey for the Tri-City Storm of the United States Hockey League. Silich has committed to Quinnipiac University, and wants to pursue a career as a venture capitalist. Motew signed to play for the Kitchener Rangers in the OHL next season. All three have NHL aspirations, but understand the hard work and sacrifice it takes to get there. Right now, they are focused on the task at hand, the Five Nations Tournament.
“We want to win, and we have a great chance,” Silich said.
Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.
|Fri., Aug. 9||Red Bull Academy U-18 (Exh.)||W, 7-1||N/A||N/A|
|Sun., Aug. 11||Germany (Exh.)||W, 5-0||N/A||N/A|
|Tues., Aug. 13||Slovakia||W, 9-3||SportDeutschland.tv||Box Score|
|Thurs., Aug. 15||Switzerland||W, 5-2||SportDeutschland.tv||Box Score|
|Fri., Aug. 16||Czech Republic||L, 3-6||SportDeutschland.tv||Box Score|
|Sat., Aug. 17||Germany||W, 7-3||SportDeutschland.tv||Box Score|