Making USA Hockey's National Team Development Program is not a guarantee of success. But it's pretty dang close.
The program, based in Plymouth, Mich., thrusts players into an environment full of difficult competition and gives teenagers a taste of what hockey is like as a full-time job. All the while, they get to represent their country. Players who find success with the U.S. NTDP usually find themselves with their choice of a Division 1 college and NHL teams fighting to select them in the first round.
It's similar to when a person goes to college at an Ivy League school or Stanford, MIT or Johns Hopkins. Going there does not ensure a premier job, but it puts you in a very good position to have one.
Two players from New England, along with one who plays on a New England-based team, were recently selected for the U17 team next season.
Richard Gallant (Concord, Mass.) from St. Mark's, Carter Amico (Westbrook, Maine) and Conrad Fondrk, both of Mount Saint Charles, were selected. The three are different players with a wide array of strengths and few weaknesses.
The common thread: All three have very high ceilings. The program might be the best place for them to reach it.