Photo: Plymouth Whalers goaltender and former Belle Tire player Alex Nedeljkovic was chosen in the second round of the 2014 NHL Draft by the Carolina Hurricanes (courtesy of Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)
It's no secret that youth hockey in the United States has made great strides the past few decades.
Players from more geographical locations continue to appear on the rosters of major junior teams in Canada, as well as USHL and NAHL clubs in the U.S. The National Team Development Program in Ann Arbor, MI and the squads at the northeastern private schools and NCAA college teams also have more American players than ever.
Photo: KalPa Kuopio forward Kasperi Kapanen was chosen 22nd overall at the 2014 NHL Draft by the Pittsburgh Penguins (courtesy of Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
The NHL Draft has always seen its share of players with family ties but the 2014 edition that took place in Philadelphia this weekend could just as easily have been called Father's Day.
Photo: Center Frederik Gauthier projects as a solid two-way forward with good size. Gauthier was selected 21st overall in the 2013 NHL Draft. (courtesy of Rick Madonik/Toronto Star via Getty Images)
For the Toronto Maple Leafs, there is a silver lining to missing the 2014 NHL playoffs and finishing 23rd overall in the league standings – the potential of selecting an impact player with the eighth overall pick in the 2014 NHL Draft.
Photo: Defenseman Aaron Ekblad (left) and forwards Sam Reinhart (center) and Sam Bennett (right) will learn where they begin their professional careers at the 2014 NHL Draft. (courtesy of Terry Wilson/OHL Images and Marissa Baecker/Getty Images)
Now that the Los Angeles Kings have hoisted their second Stanley Cup in three years, the hockey world can now focus on the 2014 NHL Draft that will take place on June 27th and 28th at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Photo: Texas Stars rookie forward and Dallas Stars prospect Brett Ritchie had a productive postseason for the Calder Cup champion Stars, posting seven goals and four assists in 13 playoff games (courtesy of John Rivera/Icon SMI)
The American Hockey League concluded its 2013-14 season Tuesday night as the Texas Stars defeated the St. John’s IceCaps in overtime for the third straight game of the Calder Cup finals, claiming the championship in five games – the AHL Stars’ first Calder Cup Championship in franchise history.