Fitzgerald, Hanifin & White Suit Up for U.S. National Under-17 Team
Three key players from the VJW ’97 Elite team
turned in their blue and gold jerseys this year, but that is just fine
with Head Coach Steve MacAdams.
After all, Noah Hanifin, Casey Fitzgerald and Colin White were all selected to play for the U.S. National Under-17 Team this coming season.
three Warrior standouts were named to the roster in August by the
National Team Development Program and have since left home and are
currently staying with host families, going to school and competing for
“It is a great accomplishment for these players to be selected to this
team,” said MacAdams, who has led his VJW '97 Elites team to
the USA Hockey Nationals in two of the past three seasons. “For
the last few years they have been considered to be among the top players
in this area and now they are able to compete on the national stage.”
While he is excited for these three players to take the next step, it is
a bittersweet time for MacAdams who has coached them since they were
youngters. In fact, MacAdams has been alongside Fitzgerald since he was
eight years old.
“Casey has one of the brightest hockey IQs around,” said MacAdams. “He
and Noah are considered to be two of the best defensemen in their age
group in this region and probably in the entire country.”
The name Fitzgerald is a familiar one in these parts. After all, Casey’s older brother Ryan capped off a sensational season with the VJW Junior A team last spring by being name the EJHL Rookie of the Year.
– who earlier this summer was selected by the Boston Bruins in the
fourth round of the NHL draft – is currently playing for Boston College.
Casey led Malden Catholic to two Super 8 Championships, but jumped at
the opportunity to play for the Under-17 team alongside his Warrior
friends as well as his cousin Matthew Tkachuk, who is the son former NHL star Keith Tkachuk.
Casey’s father, Tom, was quick – in a recent interview with the
Hockey Journal – to give much credit to the Warriors organization for
helping to open the door of opportunity for these players.
“He was playing with good players,” said Fitzgerald, who himself was a
17-year NHL veteran. “It was a high level. The expectations were huge.
As second-year Pee Wees and second-year Bantams, they went to the
national championships. (Coach) Steve MacAdams was a great influence on
how to play defense.”
Standing alongside Fitzgerald on the blueline is Hanifin who stands at 6-3 and 175 pounds. Expectations for Hanifan are high as evidenced in the USA Hockey press release.
One current NHL scout who went to the NTDP’s tryout camp said Hanifin was the best defenseman (at that point in his development) he’d seen in that camp in many years of attending. That’s high praise considering who’s been in that camp over the last decade. Hanifin, who is committed to Boston College, was selected in the second round of the QMJHL Draft by the Quebec Remparts and courted heavily. Ultimately, he chose the NTDP and retains his college eligibility for the next two years at least.
“Noah has been with us for the past three years and he is a great talent,” said MacAdams of Hanifin who played for St. Sebastian's. “He has great instincts and is strong and tough. He will make an impact with this team.”
White is the offensive cog in that trio. He has played with Hanifan since they were 8 years old.
The Hanover native played in 22 games for Nobles and Greenough in 2012-13. He accumulated 32 points (18-14). In just seven games with the U.S. National Under-17 Team, White is second on the team with three goals and five assists and has scored at last one point in six of the seven games.
All three players have already committed to Boston College.
he 2013-14 U.S. National Under-17 Team will play in the United States Hockey League, the top junior league in the U.S. It will also compete in three international competitions, including the 2014 World Under-17 Challenge in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia.
Click here to visit the U.S. National Under-17 Team's home page.