Baldino, Gacek, Hartigan & Pike Off to U-15 Camp in August
The 2008-09 VJW season begins in just two short months. So much will happen to a core group of players before the first puck is dropped, however.
Matt Baldino, Alex Gacek, Aidan Hartigan and Dylan Pike – all members of Mike Holubowich’s Midget U-16 squad – will represent the program at the USA Hockey Player Development Camp in St. Cloud, Minnesota on August 2-8.
“Being selected to attend camp means that you are getting looked at on the national level,” explains Fred Devereaux, VJW Director of Player Development and scout for the Calgary Flames. “Not everyone is selected, so getting chosen means that you are in the top 2 percent of players in your age group in the entire country.”
One player that Devereaux – as well as many other VJW coaches – knows well is Baldino, who has seen his game mature over the years. Baldino has been a part of the program since 2003 and was a member of four Massachusetts Selects Tier I State Champion squads.
On the high school scene, Baldino was a rising star for Woburn High School last season as he earned his team’s Rookie of the Year award after finishing as the second leading scorer with nine goals and seven assists. The 5-5, 151-pound forward will be attending Lawrence Academy next fall and will surely be a key offensive juggernaut for that squad.
“[Matt] is a competitor and when the game is on the line he is going to bring you the win,” said Devereaux. “At that same time, he is also a happy, go-lucky kid who takes everything in stride. He keeps everyone loose and is a tremendous team player.”
Gacek is another player who is regarded as one of the best in the country at his position. The forward from Governor’s Academy is small in size – he stands at only 5-7 and 160 pounds – but he is one of the smartest players who always manages to be in the right position on the ice. His speed and agility around the net and his explosiveness in the neutral zone make him an all-around offensive threat.
“He is one the most skilled players in the country in his age group,” explains Holubowich. “He was the second leading scorer at [national] camp last year. He is a complete player with a ton of skill.”
Hartigan and Pike are newcomers to the program. Over the years, they have made an immediate impact on every single team they have been a part of… and their presence in the VJW program in 2008-09 shows that they are ready to serve on a team that will surely make noise on the national level.
Hartigan, a south paw blueliner who stands at 5-10 and 154-pounds, hails from Arlington and is coming off a strong freshman campaign at Arlington High School. He was named the “Rookie of the Year” and will take his game to BB&N this coming fall. One highlight from last season was his trip – along with several VJW teammates – to Sweden with the 2007 MassHockey team.
Pike lives in Sudbury and came to the VJW from the South Shore Dynamos. The 6-0, 188-pound forward possesses a powerful shot from the point and is one of the most imposing blueliners in his age group. Coach Holubowich explains that he is almost impossible to beat one-on-one.
“The exposure that all of these players will receive at national camp is incredible,” said Devereaux. “They will be seen by everyone in the country and it proves that we are producing players who are recognized as being the best in their age groups.”
You can follow all action at the USA Hockey Select Player Development Camps at www.usahockey.com.