Three TPH (Total Package Hockey)-trained standouts have been named to the prestigious U.S. National Team Development Program U-17 roster for the 2016-17 season.
Blade Jenkins, Will MacKinnon and Bode Wilde were all selected to the development team following last month’s evaluation camp, which was held in Plymouth, Michigan. All three have attended the TPH CoE and have used its variety of elite resources to develop a complete hockey lifestyle that translates to success and growth on and off the ice.
“All three of these players met with us on day one of school and mentioned that their number one goal was to play for the NTDP two years down the road,” said Brandon Naurato, TPH Detroit director of hockey operations. “We are extremely proud of them for the workload and sacrifices that they have made to earn the honor of accepting an invitation to represent Team USA. The opportunity in front of them to continue to develop as men on and off the ice while pursuing their dream of playing in the NHL is second to none with the resources that they will be provided with daily by the National Program.”
A 5-foot-11 defenseman, MacKinnon is lighting it up from the point for Honeybaked U16 this year, tallying 32 points in 57 games. The two-year CoE student-athlete was a member of the U.S. team that took home the gold medal at this year’s Youth Olympic Games. He recently committed to play college hockey at seven-time national champion Denver University.
“It was really exciting,” MacKinnon said when he learned he made the NTDP. “It’s going to be pretty cool to represent the USA. I did it in Norway for two weeks so it’s going to be really cool to get to do it again for the NTDP.”
Jenkins is in his second year at the TPH CoE and put up 36 points in 22 HPHL league games with Compuware U16 this season. A center with high-end talent, the 15-year-old committed to the University of Michigan back in January of 2015.
“At first it was a surreal feeling, to be honest,” he said. “It’s an honor when people ask you where you’re playing next year and you say you get to represent your country.”
Their fathers both said that pride is the first emotion they felt after hearing the news and reflected on what two years at the TPH CoE has done for the development of their sons on and off the ice.
“The environment that TPH provided where Will was able to balance school, get the rest he needed, follow training programs and get good nutrition and sleep was huge,” said Dan MacKinnon, director of player personnel for the Pittsburgh Penguins. “I credit Brandon Naurato and Sean Perkins for really drilling down into what Will needed to do to get better. It was so productive.”
“It took a lot of hard work over the last 10 years or so to get to this point,” Todd Jenkins said. “The desire for him to get better has always been there and I’m excited for where Blade is at now compared to two years ago. (The TPH CoE) expects a lot out of their kids, not only how they compete on the ice but what they do in the classroom and the community.”
Wilde attended the TPH CoE during the 2014-15 school year and committed to Harvard University last summer. The physical defenseman with offensive talent currently plays for the Chicago Mission U16 team and is one of the top 2000-born players in the U.S.
“I don’t even know how to describe it still, I’m just so excited,” Wilde said. “At TPH we worked a lot on shooting and I think that has helped me this past season and helped me at the evaluation camp too. They teach you the game within the game and the small details that you don’t know unless you’ve played hockey for as many years as they have. Knowing that before the camp was a huge advantage, not only for me but for Blade and Will.”
The 2016-17 U.S. NTDP U-17 team will be coached by Danton Cole, a Michigan State grad and Pontiac native. The three newly-minted NTDP players will be competing just down the road from the TPH Canton CoE at Plymouth’s USA Hockey Arena.
The TPH Center of Excellence is an elite training program for student-athletes that features a unique blend of academics and athletics. Its balance of on-ice instruction and classroom work pushes students in grades 6-12 to become well-rounded hockey players on and off the ice. The TPH CoE currently has locations in Canton, Michigan, and Gwinnett, Georgia, with a third school in Troy, Michigan, scheduled to open before the 2016-17 school year.
Total Package Hockey is one of the largest hockey service providers in the country, offering youth and adult programs from Detroit to Atlanta. TPH provides programs, which are staffed by highly qualified elite hockey coaches and professionals, to more than 4,000 players each year. With programs in 18 total U.S. cities, including teams in the NA3HL and T1EHL, TPH specializes in skill-based player development and has a track record of moving players to junior, college and professional hockey.
Visit TPH online at www.totalpackagehockey.com and follow TPH on Twitter and on Facebook.
TPH would like to congratulate current Lone Star Brahmas (NAHL) goaltender Erik Gordon on his call-up to the U.S. National Team Development program.
Gordon, a long time TPH standout with the TPH Thunder AAA program, is expected to start in the next two NTDP games. The Duluth, Ga., native is having an incredible season with the Brahmas, posting an 11-2 record with a .909 save percentage in 17 games. He also has a 2.23 GAA, which ranks fifth in the NAHL.
The goaltender ranks as one of the best to come through the TPH Thunder AAA program. In his U16 season with the Thunder, Gordon posted a remarkable 1.97 goals against average and .925 save percentage. The season before in bantam play, Gordon had a 1.12 GAA in 36 games. Gordon has also played in the OHL Cup with the Thunder.
Congratulations, Erik, on your achievement!