Team USA will play a full, 60-game schedule in the USHL, as well as maintain its commitment to international and college competition. They will compete for the Anderson Cup in the regular season, and will be a participant in the Clark Cup playoffs. Team USA will also participate in the annual USHL Fall Classic, which has evolved to become the most heavily scouted and most significant try-out showcase event in hockey. The USHL expects that nearly 200 scouts will participate in this year's showcase in Sioux City, Iowa, home of the USHL Sioux City Musketeers.
Adding the NTDP will help increase the exposure for the USHL and its players and help them catch the eyes of scouts and move up in their careers. It will also be interesting seeing them compete for Andy and Clark Cups. I don't think they were allowed to play for the Cups when previously affiliated with the USHL. It will also be fun to see some future NHL stars in the USHL rinks. Reserve your seats now for the Fall Classic, because there will be a ridiculous amount of scouts this year with the NTDP taking part.
"For us, (the biggest benefit) is the elite caliber of competition, a step up in competition for us," said Scott Monaghan, NTDP's director of operations. "This gives us a great opportunity to play the very best and be challenged every game, which ultimately is what we want."
No knock on the NAHL, but this statement pretty much sums it all up. The U-18 team would play a handful of NAHL games and then some exhibition games. It just didn't seem like the NAHL gave the NTDP the type of challenge they needed each night. Hopefully the USHL teams can do a better job.
Chris Peters, coordinator of media relations and marketing for the NTDP, said players not selected to play for Team USA at the international junior tournament will play in the USHL playoffs. He also said the U-17 team will play about 34 games in the USHL, and the U-18 squad will play the remaining 26.
Thirty of those games will be held on the development program's home rink at the Ann Arbor Ice Cube, Monaghan said.
He added the program, which previously played in the USHL in the 1998-99 and 1999-2000 seasons after going about five years with a partial USHL schedule, also intends to maintain its relationship with the NAHL in the form of exhibition games or other scheduled contests.
This was brought up by another fan, but is it fair if a team plays the U-17 team 3 times, but the U-18 team just once? Maybe they will think about it and make sure it's evened up.