The United States Hockey League announced today the full schedule and teams participating in the 2017 USHL Fall Classic 16U and 14U Tournaments. This year, 16 of the nation’s top 16U teams along with 16 top 14U teams will compete in group play, followed by a semifinal and championship game to determine the 2017 USHL Fall Classic 16U and 14U Tournament champions.
All games will take place at the UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex, training facility of the Pittsburgh Penguins, and Baierl Ice Complex in Cranberry Township, PA as well as the Robert Morris University Island Sports Center in Pittsburgh, PA from Sept. 27 through Oct. 1. Youth players will have complimentary access to all USHL games at the Fall Classic.
"We were very pleased with the overall performance of the youth events conducted last year as part of the USHL Fall Classic," said USHL President and Commissioner Bob Fallen. "Our objectives were to create events that delivered strong ROI to the participating teams, exposed players and parents to Tier 1 junior hockey and to establish our tournament invitations among the most coveted in North America. We achieved our objectives and look forward to building upon a strong foundation for USHL events."
USHL Central Scouting determined the top teams in the nation based on projected rosters and club pedigree from previous seasons. Once the 16 teams in each age group were selected, the department then determined seeding and group placement.
Each team will play all three opponents in its group, collecting points based on wins, overtime wins and overtime losses. The top teams in each group will then advance to the semifinals, while the other teams will compete in one last game for final standings. The championship will be determined with a final game, while final standings 3-16 will be determined by final points earned based upon records.
The Minnesota Blades captured both the inaugural USHL Fall Classic 16U and 14U Tournament championships and will be looking to defend their titles against 15 of the top teams in each age group.
"We are extremely excited to host what is arguably the best youth tournament in the country," said Doug Christiansen, USHL Director of Player Development and Recruitment. "It will give elite players, coaches and their families the opportunity to see the USHL firsthand while playing games against the best teams in the country in front of hundreds of scouts. To win this tournament, you will have be at your best for all five games. We can't wait to get started."
10 of the 16 teams at last season's USA Hockey National Championships, including all four semifinalists, will be participating in the 16U tournament. The programs also combined for over 65 total selections in the 2017 USHL Draft.
In total, 13 states will be represented between the teams participating in the 16U and 14U tournaments: Alaska, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas and Wisconsin.
Headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, the USHL celebrates its 16th season as the nation's only Tier I junior hockey league in 2017-18. 30 or more players from the USHL have been selected in five consecutive NHL Drafts, and more than 400 players on team rosters last season committed to NCAA Division I schools, further establishing the USHL as the world’s foremost producer of junior hockey talent.