MARLBORO, Mass. — Forty Bay State '05s converged on the New England Sports Center over the weekend looking to secure a coveted spot at the USA Hockey Select 17 Player Development Camp in June in Amherst, N.Y.
The third and final portion of the Massachusetts Hockey CCM High Performance Festival was the "Final 40" where that number of players competed in front of college coaches and NHL scouts with the hope of making national camp. The added incentive for the '05s is the chance to make the USA Hockey roster for the Hlinka-Gretzky Cup, following the conclusion of the national camp at the Northtown Center.
There’s no sugarcoating the fact that the 2005 birth year in Massachusetts takes a huge nosedive without the three NTDP players from the Bay State. Forwards Will Smith (Lexington), Ryan Leonard (Amherst) and Will Vote (Arlington) are all ineligible for national camps. Also missing from the Final 40 was the best goaltender in the state, Sam Scopa (Lexington), and the fourth-best forward, Will McDonough (Duxbury), a USHL player who sat out the festival with an injury. Scopa was given a pass to the national camp by virtue of being named to the USA Hockey National Goaltending Camp, run by former UNH and Dartmouth assistant coach Dave Lassonde.
This isn’t a knock on any of the observers or Massachusetts Hockey, but something needs to be done so that tryouts like this can be conducted without rewarding players for bad hockey. Pushing players through to national camp who go minus-5 and give up countless breakaways isn’t doing anyone any favors.
The college coaches, Jerry Keefe (Northeastern), Brendan Buckley (Boston College), James Tortorella (Harvard), and NHL scout Derek Richard (Vancouver Canucks) were tasked with finding seven forwards, five defensemen, and one goaltender. It was not easy to come up with that many deserving players in this birth year. Below are evaluations on 20 noteworthy players from the '05 group from the Mass. Final 40.