Over the weekend of February 8, both the U.S. National Under-18 and Under-17 Teams laid claim to the 2014 Five Nations Tournament Titles. Representing Illinois on the Under-18 roster was forward, Ryan Wagner of Park Ridge, who is committed to the University of Wisconsin and Defenseman, Louie Belpedio of Skokie, member of the 2013 U.S. Under-17 Team, who is committed to Miami University. Forwards Michael Floodstrand of Hinsdale and Christian Fischer of Wayne represented Illinois on the Under-17 Roster. Floodstrand is committed to Harvard and Fischer to Notre Dame. Wagner, Floodstrand and Fischer most recently played for the Chicago Mission Midget Minor team. Belpedio played for the Chicago Mission as a Bantam before continuing to Culver Military Academy. In addition to our four talented players, Illinois hockey is proud to claim Under-17 Head Coach, Don Granato of Downers Grove and Under-17 Team Physician, Andrew Hunt of Lake Bluff.
In 1996, USA Hockey launched a new initiative called the National Team Development Program, based in Ann Arbor, Mich. Celebrating its 17th season of play in 2013-14, the goal of this full-time development program is to prepare student-athletes under the age of 18 for participation on U.S. National Teams and success in their future hockey careers. Its efforts focus not only on high-caliber participation on the ice, but creating well-rounded individuals off the ice.