It’s not like most of these players are new to the scouts and executives in attendance. They trace their work on these players back two, sometimes three years. But it is the first opportunity to see where they stand going into the most critical year of hockey to that point in their careers. Now the games really start to matter.
What I’m saying is that this tournament is kind of a big deal. And given the weight of this tournament, my colleague Mitch Brown and I have set up shop at the Peavey Mart Centrium in Red Deer, Alberta, ready to take in all of the week’s action. We’ll be filing scouting reports for the Elite Prospects 2023 NHL Draft Guide and even offering coverage on EP Rinkside.
That coverage is going to kick off with the first installment in a daily three stars article, looking at the three best performances from the day’s action at the 2022 Hlinka-Gretzky Cup. To make things interesting, we’re going to find one player from each game to include in this exercise, and we’ll even add in some write-ins for stuff that we find interesting or want to riff on or whatever. Let’s have some fun with this.
No shortage of action from the first day’s slate of games either. The six participating teams combined for 30 (30!) goals by the time the final horn sounded on the third game.
The best of the lot was Czechia’s 4-3 shootout win over Finland, a back-and-forth affair that saw the Finns claw back from a 2-0 deficit to push this game to overtime before falling in the shootout. The other two games were about as competitive as one might’ve expected going into the whole ordeal; the Americans beat Germany 8-1, and Canada beat the Swiss 14-0. Still, what the last two games may have lacked in competitiveness, they more than made up for with displays of individual skill.
With that, let’s take a look at the three stars from Day 1 of the 2022 Hlinka-Gretzky Cup.