USA Hockey Communications Director, Dave Fischer,spoke to usedview.com at length about the success of youth hockey in the USA.
The Olympic team won a gold medal, but more importantly the depth of talent is elevating many youth players to the junior hockey ranks, NHL and one of the best barometers is that Canadian youth players are not only regularly playing American based teams as part of their fall schedule, but some are even electing play on American based teams.
Sean Day is an example of that; the smooth-skating defenseman out of the Detroit Compuware program was granted “exceptional status” for the Ontario Hockey League draft. Day, 15, is ranked among the top players in his age group in the world Although he grew up in Rochester, Michigan, Day is a Canadian citizen and has said he’ll play for Canada during international competitions.
Sean Day distinguished himself from a talented age group of US based talent while often standing out in games against players a year older. Day was selected fourth by the Mississauga Steelheads in the 2013 Ontario Hockey League Priority Selection.
The 6-foot-2 defenseman, who was born in Belgium and is a Canadian citizen but hails from Rochester, Mich., was made eligible for the OHL draft after an impressive season competing for the Detroit Compuware youth hockey program.
He is the fourth player to be granted exceptional player status, following John Tavares in 2005, Aaron Ekblad in 2011 and Connor McDavid last season.
Day is the first such player to not be taken first in the OHL draft.
Priority selection has at times been an accurate predictor of what future NHL drafts might resemble.
Former top picks in the OHL draft include Alex Galchenyuk ( Montreal 2010), Steve Stamkos ( Tampa Bay 2006), Tavares (Islanders 2005) and Jason Spezza (Ottawa 1999), who all became top-three picks in the NHL draft and soon became star performers in the NHL. Among those Tavares was the only other player granted ‘exceptional’ status.
Day is positionally sound and efficient using the appropriate skill set to match the situation. Perhaps the most immediately recognizable aspect of Day’s play is his skating which can be considered elite for age groups higher than the one he currently plays at.
Day is a fluid effortless skater with finesse and skill..
Day’s passes are hard tape to tape ones and he can rush the puck from end to end as well as often controlling the pace of the play around him.
Sean Day could very well pave the way for other players to achieve hockey success in the United States.