USA Hockey’s National Festival starts today. The camp, held at HarborCenter in Buffalo until Aug. 13., features 116 players split over two rosters - over 18 and under 18 - in order to name three teams: the National Team, a Collegiate Select team, and a U18 Select team.
The three teams will be named at the end of the camp. The National Team will stick around Buffalo for their pre-tournament camp before heading to Denmark for the World Championships tournament, which starts on Aug. 25. The U18 and Collegiate Select will each go to Calgary to play their Canadian counterparts in a three-games series on Aug. 17, 18, and 20.
Over 18 Roster
USA Hockey is putting any player over the age of 18 in this bucket from which they will choose the National Team and the Collegiate Select Team. The latter is formerly the U22 Select team, with eligibility now covering anyone with college eligibility in the upcoming season. Six players from the 2022 U18 Silver Medal team are on this roster.
A big standout in the defenders named to the camp is the return of Emily Matheson (nee Pflazer). A standout defender, Matheson recently had a child and thus hasn’t played on the National Team since 2019 - she was, however, named on the pandemic-cancelled 2020 Worlds team.
Kali Flanagan is also back on the roster after being cut from Olympics Residency ahead of the 2022 Games. She’s been on two National Team IIHF rosters - the 2017 World Championships and the gold medal-winning 2018 Olympics roster - but hasn’t made the cut since. She had a solid first season in the PHF with the Boston Pride in 2021-22, something that could help her make another roster.
Northeastern alum Skylar Fontaine is on the camp roster, after being what many considered a snub from the 2022 Olympics Residency roster. She doesn’t have much experience in the National Teams, but she’s a playmaking defender who more than deserves a shot (and a roster spot).
Fans may remember Caroline Harvey, who played really well at the 2021 World Championships and was named to the 2022 Olympic roster but then rarely saw the ice. Despite the impressive resume thus far, the 18-year-old has yet to even start college. Given the bench management at the Olympics - though there is a new head coach behind the bench - and her age, it’ll be interesting to see onto which team she’s placed.
Another goal for Team USA. Caroline Harvey from Dani Cameranesi. It's 7-2. pic.twitter.com/1PL1A3DS2C— Mike Murphy (@DigDeepBSB) August 28, 2021
Laila Edwards had an absolutely monster showing at the 2022 U18 Worlds, racking up 8 points (4g, 4a) in USA’s five games. It will be really fun to see her progress as she’s just heading into college at the University of Wisconsin. If she’s not named to the Collegiate Select Team, I’ll be surprised.
NCAA-leading scorer Maureen Murphy had quite the college season - obviously - and is a great name to see on this camp roster. She played in one U18 World Championships and two U22 Series for Team USA, and like Harvey but for a slightly different reason, I’ll be watching to see which - if either - team Murphy lands on. I think she could slot into the National Team and make an appearance at Worlds on her way to a longer career in the program, but she does have another year of college eligibility left and will head back to Northeastern in the fall, making her eligible for the Collegiate Select team.
Natalie Snodgrass wrapped her college career at UConn and signed with the PHF’s Minnesota Whitecaps for the upcoming season. She was a member of two gold medal-winning U18 Teams (2015, 2016) and put up nearly a point per game in the NCAA.
Abby Roque had a stellar college career which translated well into the PWPHA and National Team after graduating in 2020. After putting up six points in her first two Dream Gap Tour games, teammate Hilary Knight said “I think she’s going to be the best player in the world, plain and simple.” High praise for someone under 25. She saw limited ice time at 2021 Worlds so she wasn’t quite as prolific, but when her ice time at the 2022 Olympics went up, so did her point production.
How the goaltender situation shakes out will be extremely interesting. Alex Cavallini was invited but isn’t attending. Nicole Hensley and Maddie Rooney both are. The rest of the goaltenders invited are all relatively young, none with any true senior National Team experience. Who - if anyone - is picked as a third goaltender for the senior team should be interesting to see.
A rising junior at Ohio State, Amanda Thiele was asked to step up in a big way last season. Thiele went from playing three games her freshman season to playing 23 her second season. She backstopped the Buckeyes to their National Championship win, stopping 17 of the 19 shots she saw in the title game. She was a member of the 2020 U18 team as well.
Callie Shanahan was also on that 2020 U18 team but didn’t see any ice team. She’s going into her second year at Boston University after posting a .925 save percentage in 13 games as a freshman.
If Cavallini isn’t an option for Worlds, it would be a crime not to see Aerin Frankel land the third spot, though USA Hockey’s track record with goaltenders is a bit spotty. But it’s a new coaching staff in place for this tournament and cycle so we’ll see.
Under 18 Roster
Of the 32 players in this camp roster, seven were on the 2022 U18 Silver Medal team.
Forwards Cassandra Hall, Finley McCarthy, Margaret Scannell, and Josie St. Martin all tied for third on the team in goals scored in the tournament with two goals in the five games. Hall and McCarthy also had two assists and Scannell had one. Ava Lindsay added one goal and one assist.
The lone defender from that roster at camp, Molly Jordan, scored as well, meaning every skater that didn’t age out of the U18 camp put up a point.
Annelies Bergmann was their main goaltender at the tournament, playing all but one of the game. She had a 1.51 goals against average across her four games.