Several local players have made the 22-man USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program for the 2014-15 season. The players, members of the Under-17 and Under-18 squads, will live in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and attend school there.
The U-17 squad will play in the United States Hockey League, the top junior league in the United States. It will also compete in three international tournaments, including the 2015 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge. St. Louis area players on the team include forward and Wisconsin recruit Trent Frederic and defenseman and Michigan recruit Luke Martin.
The 6-foot-2, 180-pound Frederic scored 15 goals and added 18 assists as a sophomore for De Smet Jesuit last winter. Frederic lit the lamp 11 times for the St. Louis Blues midget minor program of the Tier I Elite Hockey League. He also had 19 assists in 32 games played.
The 6-foot-2, 196-pound Martin was a freshman last season at John Burroughs. Martin also played for the St. Louis AAA Blues and scored four goals and 17 assists in 30 games.
The Under-18 squad, comprised of some of the top American-born players in the 1997 birth year, will compete as a member of the United States Hockey League and also against NCAA Division I and III schools, in addition to participating in three international competitions.
The national team includes forward Matthew Tkachuk, a Notre Dame recruit and the son of former Blues star Keith Tkachuk; forward Luke Kunin, of Chesterfield; and goalie Luke Opilka. Both Kunin and Opilka have committed to Wisconsin.
Tkachuk played for St. Louis Blues midget minor team. Last year, the 5-foot-11, 165-pound forward played for the U-17 national team. In 33 games, he had five goals and 17 assists.
The 5-foot-11, 170-pound Kunin was a standout right winger with the St. Louis AAA Blues as well as Whitfield High School.
Opilka played last season with Team USA Juniors while previously playing for the St. Louis AAA Blues and Lindbergh High.