Champions were crowned on Wednesday in the seventh annual World Selects Invitational (WSI), with DraftDay Black claiming the U-15 World Championship and Blue Army winning the first ever U-16 title in Philadelphia. With 48 teams from 10 different countries across two divisions, the 2019 WSI-Philadelphia drew more than 600 of the best ‘04-birth year players in the world as well as eight ‘03 teams.
The 2019 WSI-Philadelphia featured another amazing pool of talented players with 27 Division-I college commitments and 49 WHL Bantam Draft selections active in this year’s tournament. DraftDay Black’s road to a championship began with a 4-1-0 record in pool play, earning the No. 6-seed in the playoffs.
In the 16-team bracket, DD-Black would outscore opponents 16-to-8, avenging its only loss to Western Canada Selects with a 3-0 shutout win in the tournament quarterfinals and earning a spot in the Final Four.
A second-half goal by tournament MVP Rutger McGroarty would propel DraftDay past CSKA and into the championship game against East Coast Selects. There, DD-Black was carried by what had made them successful all tournament long — a high-powered offense. Three goals in a six-minute span during the second half would separate themselves from ECS and earn the U-15 world championship.
McGroarty led the team — and the tournament — in scoring, as the Notre Dame commit posted 10 goals and nine assists during the five-day event, matching a WSI-Philly record for scoring with 19 points. Teammate Lane Hutson was honored as the tournament’s best defenseman while Charles-Edward Gravel of East Coast Selects was named the top goaltender and Minnesota Blades’ Maddox Fleming earned top forward honors.
The All-Tournament Team was announced on Thursday, naming Gravel and Roman Rybakov of Vityaz as goalies. Marek Alscher (Czech Selects), Seamus Casey (East Coast Selects) and Aiden Dubinsky (East Coast Selects) as well as Trey Ausmus (Minnesota Blades) and Tucker Schedd (Hockey Essentials) were named among the six defensemen along with Hutson. The nine forwards consisted of McGroarty, Fleming, Kirill Dolzhenkov (CSKA), Roman Makarov (CSKA), Gavin Brindley (East Coast Selects), Isaac Howard (Minnesota Blades), Frank Nazar (Oshawa Jr. Generals), Connor Bedard (Pacific Selects) and Bowden Singleton (Western Canada Selects).
In the U-16 Division, Blue Army went 7-1-0 overall, earning the top seed in the four-team playoff and allowing just two goals in their final four tournament games. Tournament MVP Jack Stark went undefeated during the weekend, going 5-0-0 in five starts with a goals-against average of 1.00 and save percentage of .956 for Blue Army. Teammate Max Burkholder earned best defenseman honors while Cameron MacDonald (My Edge Hockey) was named top forward and Cole Wheaton (My Edge Hockey) was named top goaltender of the division.
The World Selects Invitational has proved to feature some of the best talent at the U-15 age group for the past seven years. Breeding ground for the next crop of upcoming stars in the sport, the WSI-Philadelphia has seen the likes of 88 NHL Draft picks, 400 college commitments and more than 1,000 CHL Draft picks while hosting some of the best players from 15 different countries around the world. As hockey’s version of the Little League World Series, this international event is where you can see tomorrow’s stars today, click HERE to learn more.