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James Hagens Sets New Tournament Points Record in MVP Effort

By Dan Scifo, 05/07/24, 1:00PM EDT


Hagens tallied 22 points in seven games at the 2024 Under-18 World Championship.

James Hagens was happy to break a 13-year-old record at the 2024 IIHF Under-18 Men’s World Championship.

However, he would’ve rather brought home a gold medal.

Hagens set a new single-tournament mark for most points (22), but the U.S. took home silver following a 6-4 loss against Canada in the gold-medal game.

“Records are records, but the most unreal moments are being with the guys, going through the games and the ups and downs,” Hagens said. “That’s what you remember most, not the records you break. It’s tough when you’re standing on the other blue line watching a team celebrate the gold medal. You’re not thinking about a record that you set. We came in here and we were striving for a gold medal, and not being able to come out with that is tough.”

Hagens finished with 22 points in seven games, besting the 2011 mark previously set by Tampa Bay Lightning forward Nikita Kucherov — this year’s Art Ross Trophy winner — by one point. Hagens also established a new U.S. single-tournament record, previously held by Jack Hughes and Will Smith.

“It’s cool being able to see your name up there with those guys,” Hagens said. “Those are guys I grew up watching and they still inspire me. I’m extremely grateful, but at the end of the day, the records, they don’t ultimately matter.”

Hagens broke the U.S. record for most points in a single-tournament (21) against Slovakia when he assisted a Cole Eiserman goal. Eiserman later broke the National Team Development Program’s career goal-scoring record during the tournament, scoring his 127th goal in the gold-medal game to pass Cole Caufield’s previous mark of 126. 

Hagens went on to break the tournament record for points later in the game with a primary assist on a Cole Hutson goal. Hagens recorded nine goals and 13 assists in seven games and was named the tournament’s most valuable player and best forward.

U.S. head coach Nick Fohr said Hagens’ play throughout the season and tournament proves he belongs in the conversation with Kucherov, Hughes, Smith and others. While Fohr admits Hagens still has more to prove at the collegiate and eventually professional level, the standout forward is putting up numbers at a historic pace.

“It’s something that he’s earned, honestly,” Fohr said. “It’s only the best tournament that has ever been played. James is dynamic and he was the best player on the ice every game, from start to finish. His tournament showed that. The game is always evolving, but that record could be there for 20 or 30 years. It’s going to be a hard one to touch for anybody in the future.”

Hagens collected three or more points in six of the seven games during the tournament, including a six-point effort in a 9-4 win against host Finland in the preliminary round. 

Hagens is no stranger to international success, as he set the single-tournament points record at the 2022 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge with eight goals, 13 assists and 21 points. Last season, Hagens helped the U.S. win a gold medal at the U18 World Championship.

Hagens finished this past season with 102 points, making him the ninth player in NTDP history to hit the century mark in a single season. His 187 career points rank fifth all-time at the NDTP.

“He’s not satisfied with being one of the best players,” Fohr said. “He’s driven to be the best. I’m really excited for his future and being able to watch him over the next few years of his career moving forward. I just think there is a lot in front of him.”

Hagens will join his brother, Michael, at Boston College next season. Michael Hagens is currently a defenseman with the Chicago Steel in the USHL.

“I’m super happy to get [to Boston College] and to be able to play with my brother again,” James Hagens said. “It’s not only big for me, but for my parents too because they don’t have to book two plane tickets to different states. It’s going to be nice.”

James Hagens is already receiving buzz as the projected top pick in the 2025 NHL Draft for his play with the NTDP. While Hagens appreciates the recognition, he admittedly doesn’t think about his future draft prospects.

“I try to live in the moment, especially [with the NTDP] where I spent the last two years with these guys and it’s going to be different once we head home,” Hagens said. “I’m really fortunate and grateful for the guys I’ve been able to call family the past few years. These are guys that are going to be showing up at my wedding one day. If you’re in the moment and focus on what’s ahead of you, then you’re better off. If you’re caught in the future and what people are saying about you, it can only hurt you.”

Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.

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