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Carolina hockey continues to force its way onto the national scene as six products of the Carolina Junior Hurricanes youth program earned invitations to the 2022 USHL Tier 1 Combine this past weekend.
The USHL combines feature competitive and educational events for elite young talent across the United States and internationally. Now in its 12th year, USHL combines showcase young players to USHL General Managers, Coaches and scouts each year. More than 100 former combine attendees were chosen in the 2021 USHL Draft, including 30 USHL Draft picks from the 2021 Phase I Combine (2005 birth year).
Aiden Ryan, leading scorer for the USPHL Junior Hurricanes this past season, continued his hot streak by scoring 6 points over the course of 5 games in front of coaches and scouts from all 16 USHL organizations. Before signing with the local USPHL franchise, Ryan played for the Junior Canes Tier 2 AA and Tier 1 AAA youth programs.
Braxton Powers, who played his youth hockey for the Junior Canes AAA program from 14U through 16U, was also selected to participate in the Combine. Powers Started the season playing U18AAA with the Islanders Hockey Club in the USPHL but was eventually moved up to Tier 2 with the Islanders NCDC team and spent the rest of the season playing tier 2.
Four other local prospects, Rayne Walsh, Colby Markham, Holden Koufman, and Nick Shook, all earned invitations playing for the Junior Canes U16AAA team this past season. In the case of Markham, Shook and Kaufman, each of whom played 15UAAA the year before, it was a strong statement that players don’t need to leave the area to find exposure … a sentiment that’s mostly driven by competing associations and boarding schools.
The USHL Draft takes place from May 2nd-3rd later this spring. Notable alumni of the USHL combines include former USHL players such as USA Hockey National Team Development Program (NTDP) forward Cole Caufield (Montreal Canadiens, 2020, Round 1, #15), Chicago Steel forward Brendan Brisson (Vegas Golden Knights, 2020, Round 1, #29), Des Moines Buccaneers forward Alex Laferriere (Los Angeles Kings, 2020, Round 3, #83), and Youngstown Phantoms forward Trevor Kuntar (Boston Bruins, 2020, Round 3, #89).
Registration for tryouts for the 2022-23 Junior Canes Tier 1 AAA and Tier 2 programs are currently open.