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American Hockey Is On The Rise

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(author: Will C) 03/05/2016 – Hockey is and perhaps will always be Canada’s game. Canada’s owned the sport of ice hockey for many, many years. But, how good is American hockey these days?

From 1963 and for the next 20 years it was all Canadians, as they had the number one draft pick locked in each year. However, American Hockey is on the rise with Brian Lawton from Brunswick New Jersey broke the streak in 1983, who played for Mount St Charles Academy from Woonsocket Rhode Island. There have been five other number one draft picks from the US since then, and now there are 213 players in the NHL from the United States currently in the NHL. There are currently 446 Canadians in the NHL. The total of all players from the USA and all of the other nationalities exceeds them with 464 players.

American players can also bathe in hockey history with the Miracle on Ice in 1980 when the US Olympic team won gold against the best team in the world at that time, the almighty Russian Red Army. Most of that Gold Medal team’s roster went onto NHL successful careers. The US also had a leg up many years prior as the first player in the Hockey Hall of Fame was Hobey Baker (the award named after him for the best collegiate who hailed from Pennsylvania).

As hockey continues to grow there are also more players from unlikely places in the US such as Florida, Texas, Nevada, Arizona (the home state of the predicted number one draft pick for the 2016 draft Auston Matthews) and California.

Two Americans also grace the top 25 on the all-time NHL scoring leaders list with Brett Hull and Mike Modano each having over 1300 career points. Coaching hasn’t fared too bad either. American coaches are also on the rise — with Massachusetts native John Tortorella of the Columbus Blue Jackets who has over 460 career wins, and Jack Capuano of the New York Islanders.

In my humble opinion, Canadian hockey should look in the rear view mirror for speeding American players approaching, especially guys from the National Junior Training Development Program which is has almost become something of a feeding ground for top players in the world who happen to be American — not to mention players from the USHL, the United States top junior league, also one of the best in the world, which sends almost all of it’s players to top colleges and features high draft picks every year.

The US’s hockey future is looking bright.

 

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