USA Hockey High School Nationals and team selection

Does anyone know anything about the team selection for the High school National tournament being held by USA Hockey.

I don’t mean to disparage any of the teams participating but the selected teams seem kind of strange.

This should link to the bracket


It’s a USA Hockey event, so the qualification comes from regional associations that sponsor high school hockey. The host also gets in.

These teams are not part of the more traditional scholastic varsity competitions, though. For example, the Minnesota teams in that bracket, Edina and Wayzata (the host, I believe), come from “Junior Gold” hockey in Minnesota, which is a secondary developmental path for high school aged players. Those are not the high school varsity teams, i.e the ones that play in the MSHSL.

The other teams - like Stoneman Douglas in Florida (yes, THAT Stoneman Douglas) and Santa Margarita in California - come from USA Hockey sanctioned high school leagues that may or may not cover the whole state (I think those two in particular are sort of partial state leagues). The article linked about the Stoneman Douglas state championship quotes:

The league is sponsored by Statewide Amateur Hockey of Florida, not the school or the state’s high school athletic association.

Most states where the state high school athletic association sponsors high school hockey don’t have a separate USA Hockey sponsored league, though, since there wouldn’t be enough players to field a school team (Minnesota is a bit of an outlier there). That is why this field may seem somewhat strange.

Junior Gold in Minnesota is the equivalent of AA or AAA Midget hockey in most other states. In fact, Junior Gold was called Midgets before they rebranded in the late 90s to get away from the scrappy fighting image they had. Unlike a lot of other states, Minnesotans don’t play for both club and school teams in high school. They choose one or the other, and the scholastic leagues are the preferred route. But there’s enough good hockey throughout the state to fill two classes of high school teams AND two to three Junior Gold levels.