Illinois Grabs 22 Out of 56 Spots for USA Hockey National Camps

By Doug Becht

The Central District 2013 Player Development Process 

The USA Hockey Central District is comprised of six (6) states, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska and Wisconsin. (Iowa, Kansas and Nebraska are called the Midwest States) Mr. Norm Spiegel is the USAH Central District Player Development Coordinator who oversees the Central District Camp. Norm is also a USA Hockey Director Representative, serves on the USA Hockey Youth Council and the USAH Player Development Committee.

“It was an exceptional year for Illinois. This also speaks to the integrity of the process. Our staff of evaluators sent the top players to the National Camp regardless of where they come from. This happens consistently every year. I’m very proud to work with all of them!” – Norm Spiegel

Norm took the time to go into each team’s locker room on the first night to explain to all the players that they would ONLY be evaluated on their on ice efforts and the skills shown during this camp. He also explains that the allocations to move players on to the USA Hockey National held in Amherst, NY is very limited. Of course, Norm also had the same discussion with all of the evaluators.  During this three (3) day camp held for the 96, 97, and 98’s last weekend, May 10th – 12th, in Fond du Lac, WI, Norm had 17 very highly respected evaluators in attendance. These included USA Hockey’s Matt Walsh, the Central District Coach-In-Chief and newly hired Assistant Coach at the University of Wisconsin. Also, Guy Gosselin, USA Hockey’s American Development Model Regional Manager, a two-time U.S. Olympian and member of three U.S. Men’s National Teams. In addition to the other unbiased, high quality, very knowledgeable evaluators that come from within each District which includes ex-pro players, High School, College and Junior Coaches.


The USA Hockey National 2013 Player Development Camps

It is very important that the evaluators at the Central District Player Development/Identification Tryout Camp select only the highest quality and skilled players to compete at the USA Hockey National Camps. At the USA Hockey National Camps, the very elite level of evaluators rank all the players attending from around the country with an “A”, “B” or “C” grade. The “A” players are D1 quality players, the “B” players are D2 quality and the “C” player is not likely to move on. If a District moves “C” players into the National Camp, they will lose a portion of their player allocation to send to the National Camp for the next season.

“The Central District is considered one of the leaders when it comes to the quality of players they move on to the USA Hockey National Player Development Camps. Their process of selecting players to move on to the National Camps is transparent, fair and inclusive. This is something we strive for with all of our District Camps.” – Jim Smith, USAH Executive Committee Member, USAH Treasurer, USAH Finance Committee Chair and USAH National Player Development Chair

At the National Camps, the staff selects the top players in the country at the 16 and 17 birth years to make up two teams that travel to Europe over the summer to compete and represent the United States in International competition. We, at AHAI, are equally as proud of those coaches and evaluators from IL who made the hard decisions to choose the right players to represent our State’s hockey programs. Clearly, with the recognition that we in Illinois are getting at the District and National levels, the whole Player Development/Identification process is definitely working. Congratulations and the very best of luck to all those players selected for participation in this year’s USA Hockey National Player Development Camps.

Players selected to represent the Central District at the USA Hockey National Camps this summer in Amherst, NY. 
Stefanos Lekkas – G
Peter Tischke – D
Ryan Wagner – F
Christian Dvorak – F
Ryan Blankemeir – F
Kevin Fitzgerald – F


Elliot Gerth – G
Dryden McKay – G
Vasili Kolias – D
Tory Dello – D
Charles Raith – D
Christian Fischer – F
Jason Dhooghe – F
Kip Hoffmann – F
Tanner Laczynski – F
Michael Floodstrand – F


Demetri Katsis – D
Ryan Carlson – D
James Sanchez – F
Martin Yale – F
Hugh McGing – F
Michael Cali – F

May 2013

Categories: Player Development

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