The oldest continuously published high school newspaper in America

The Willistonian, Est. 1881

The oldest continuously published high school newspaper in America

The Willistonian, Est. 1881

The oldest continuously published high school newspaper in America

The Willistonian, Est. 1881

U18 World Hockey Tournament Heats Up

Credit: @usahockey Instagram

The IIHF U18 Hockey World Championships are now underway in Finland, and the competition is already looking fierce.

This year’s tournament has a good group of teams, all looking to take home gold. In Group A, a strong United States team looks to win it all. Other Group A teams include Finland, the tournament’s host, as well as the Latvian, Norwegian, and Slovakian national teams.

With strong competition from these European teams, Group A will not be an easy walk for the Americans. Group B is also very competitive, fielding Canada, Czechia, Sweden, Switzerland, and the newly promoted Kazakhstan team.

Kazakhstan won last year’s U18 Division 1 A tournament and are the most recent promotion to the top division. Germany was relegated to Division 1 A, but they won this year’s tournament and will be back in the top division next year.

The International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) sanctions all international hockey competitions including the World Juniors, World Championships, and the Olympic hockey tournament. Besides the Olympics, all tournaments use a system know as “Promotion and relegation.”

Promotion and Relegation is the practice of promoting the champion of a lower division to the next better division, while sending the worst team from a division to the next lowest division.

Germany was most recently relegated with Kazakhstan being promoted.

Since the creation of the tournament, there have been 5 different countries to win the title. Four of the five past champions will compete this year, Canada, Finland, Sweden, and America, and Russia. Russia, however, is currently suspended for international play.

The United States has the most all-time titles with 11, winning their last one in 2023. The tournament began in 1999 and has played every year since, with the exception of 2020 due to COVID.

Varsity hockey Forward Declan Grenache thinks a future Boston College forward is the best player in the tournament.

“I think the best player in the tournament is James Hagans from Team USA,” Grenache, a sophomore from Sutton, MA, said. “I really like his style of play. He’s really skilled, fast, and smart. He’s also leading the tournament in points, and I believe he’s going to be the number one draft pick of the 2025 draft class.”

James Hagans is a 2006 center from Hauppauge, New York. He is currently playing for the United States U18 NTDP team where he has 87 points in 53 games leading the team in points. He is committed to the NCAA national runner-up, Boston College.

Declan also favors the Americans to win the tournament because of their fast play and abundance of skill.

“They’ve got big guns up front they got young guns on the back end with LJ Mooney, and I just think they’re the best overall team with the best structure in the tournament,” he said.

Varsity hockey player Luca Fantasia likes the skill set of a different Eagle commit.

“The best player in the tournament Boston College commit, Teddy Stiga on Team USA,” Fantasia said. “He’s got a really good hockey IQ,” the defenseman from Braintree, Mass said.

Teddy Stiga is a 2006 winger from Sudbury, Mass, who boasts an impressive skill set for the U.S. National team, with 72 points in 27 games making him third on the team in points. He is the assistant captain for USA in the tournament showing that he can not only lead teams in skill, but also in character.

 Like his teammate Hagans, Stiga is also committed to Boston College. He is projected to be a second-round draft pick in the NHL draft this year being ranked #44 by NHL Central Scouting.

Luca believes that the Americans will take gold because of their depth and talent.

“They’re loaded up with talent with new call up Trevor Conley out of California playing in Tri-City that guys disgusting and LJ Mooney a 2007 another call up with a few snipes. They just have some really good high-end skill that will be to much for other teams to handle,” he said.

Varsity Hockey player Lukas Machan thinks that the youngster from Canada is the best player at the World Championships.

“Gavin McKenna is gross. He is the youngest there and lighting it up being top three in points,” Lukas said.

Gavin McKenna is a 2007 forward from Yukon, Canada. He will be eligible for the NHL draft in 2026 where he will likely be a top selection. He currently plays for the Medicine Hat Tigers in the WHL, foregoing his NCAA eligibility.

Lukas also likes the Americans to win it.

“I think USA is going to win,” he said. “They just have more depth than the other teams and  way better players.”

Other standouts on the American team include Cole Eiserman, a left wing from Newburyport, MA, Cole Hutson a defenseman from Illinois, and Trevor Connelly, a left-winger from Tustin, CA.
















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