MINNESOTA MADE: Seven members of the Under-17 Team call the Gopher State home, the most from any state on either NTDP team this season.

Defensemen John Whipple (Minnetonka, Minn.), Sam Laurila (Moorhead, Minn.), Will Skahan (Woodbury, Minn.), and Logan Hensler (Woodbury, Minn.), as well as forwards Max Plante (Hermantown, Minn.), Brendan McMorrow (Lakeville, Minn.) and Brodie Ziemer (Hutchinson, Minn.) all hail from the Land of 10,000 Lakes.

In addition, three members of the team have already committed to play their collegiate hockey in Minneapolis for the Minnesota Golden Gophers: Whipple, Ziemer and forward Cole Eiserman (Newburyport, Mass.), while Plante will play for the University of Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs.

SPARTY ON: After not having a Michigan State commit since Drew DeRidder (Fenton, Mich. / NTDP 2017- 18), the NTDP has had a quartet of players sign on to play for head coach Adam Nightingale and the Spartans after their time with Team USA.

Three of those players will make their NTDP debuts this weekend in U17 forwards Austin Baker (White Lake, Mich.), Christian Humphreys (Pittsburgh, Pa.) and Lucas Van Vliet (Livonia, Mich.)

Additionally, U18 goaltender Trey Augustine (South Lyon, Mich.) announced his commitment to the Spartans earlier this week.

SOUTHPAW STANCE: The U17s roster 17 left-handed players this season including both goaltenders, six of eight defensemen and nine of 13 forwards.

That number stands as tied for the most lefties with the 2002-born class since the NTDP's move to USA Hockey Arena prior to the 2015-16 season. In all seven seasons since the move, the NTDP has rostered more lefties than righties in each birth year.

FIRST GAME JITTERS: The Under-17 Team will look to win its inaugural game at the NTDP for just the second time over the past five seasons.

The lone win during that stretch came when the 2003-born group topped the Johnstown Tomahawks, 5-1, on September 7, 2019, behind a pair of goals each from Chaz Lucius (Grant, Minn.) and Dylan Duke (Strongsville, Ohio).

Other initial U17 contests include a 7-3 loss to the St. Cloud Norsemen last season, a 6-4 loss to Johnstown in 2020 and a 6-2 loss to the Tomahawks to begin the 2018-19 season.

BENCH ADDITIONS: The NTDP has a pair of new assistant coaches for the 2022-23 campaign, one each on the U17 and U18 staffs.

Matt Gilroy (North Bellmore, N.Y.) joins Nick Fohr (Grand Forks, N.D.) and Jimmy Mullin (Philadelphia, Pa.) as the staff for the Under-17 Team this year. Gilroy spent the last two seasons as an assistant coach with the Los Angeles Jr. Kings youth hockey program, coaching at the 12U and 14U age levels.

Gilroy’s playing career spanned 10 seasons, including 225 games played in the National Hockey League with the New York Rangers, Tampa Bay Lightning, Ottawa Senators and Florida Panthers. He played collegiately at Boston University for four seasons (2005-09), where he was named All-American after his sophomore, junior and senior seasons. His amateur career culminated as just the sixth defenseman to win the Hobey Baker Award in 2009, as well as helping lead the Terriers to the 2009 national championship.

UPCOMING  PROMOS: Opening Weekend at USA Hockey Arena is quickly approaching and fans can go home with souvenirs, giveaways and player autographs.

The U18s kick off the 2022-23 NTDP home schedule with a pair of Kroger College Series matchups. Come see the boys take on Lake Superior State on Friday, October 7, where all fans in attendance will receive a 2022-23 NTDP magnet schedule, presented by X-Golf Canton.

On the following night, the Under-18 Team plays host to Michigan Tech University, when fans can collect the 2022-23 U18 Team Poster and fill it with autographs from the team after the conclusion of the game.

2022 U18 FIVE NATIONS: USA Hockey Arena is proud to host the 2022 U18 Five Nations Tournament, taking place from November 8-12, 2022, in Plymouth, Michigan.

The best hockey players under the age of 18 from the United States, Czechia, Finland, Sweden and Switzerland will all compete in a round-robin style schedule, facing off against all other teams throughout the week.

All tickets for the Five Nations Tournament will be sold as day passes - one ticket provides entry to both games on a given day. Tickets for all five days of the tournament are on sale now and fans can purchase by using the links below, visiting the USA Hockey Arena office in person or by calling 734-453-8400!