One of this winter's best high school hockey tournaments will be for a great cause. According to Salem News Sports Editor Phil Stacey, Merrimack College will be the site of the Pete Frates Winter Classic on December 27-28. The tournament, hosted by St. John's Prep, will also feature BC High, Central Catholic and Springfield Cathedral.
Stacey reports that the first round match-ups will be Springfield Cathedral against Central Catholic followed by a Catholic Conference showdown between BC High and St. John's Prep.
BC High and Springfield Cathedral are both loaded with talent and will likely be the top two teams in Massachusetts high school hockey this winter. The Eagles, coached by John Flaherty, boast a lineup that features Northeastern recruit Ryan Shea and Merrimack commit Pat Kramer. Shea, a recent commit to NU, is without a doubt the best defenseman in high school or prep hockey.
Springfield Cathedral features a younger roster, but one loaded with Division I prospects. '99 forward Riley Prattson committed to Providence after a stellar showing at the USA Hockey Select 15 Festival this summer. Defenseman Dan Petrick, another '99, is headed to Northeastern when he goes to college. Goaltender Keith Petruzzelli and his brother D.J., a forward, are both committed to Quinnipiac. Forward John Leonard is a UMass commit who was selected to participate in last spring's NTDP Evaluation Camp. Senior captain Peter Crinella is a power forward who is Holy Cross commit. An uncommitted player on Cathedral's roster worth keeping an eye on is '99 forward Devon Tongue, a freshman, who played varsity last season as an 8th grader.
Central Catholic lost a ton of talent to graduation, but a lot of eyes will be on their games this winter as Mike Jankowski's team will have freshman sensation Jake Wise on the roster. The '00 committed to Boston University just two weeks ago.
St. John's Prep doesn't have any firepower of year's past, but the Eagles, coached by former UNH forward Kristian Hanson, has a solid netminder in '98 Zach Laramie, a two-time participant in USA Hockey Select Festivals.
Pete Frates, a former St. John's Prep athlete and baseball captain at Boston College, was diagnosed with ALS, but has become an inspiration to many as he fights the terrible disease. Most people now know the Beverly, Mass. native through the Ice Bucket Challenge for ALS that went viral across social media this past summer.
To learn more about the Pete Frates #3 Fund, visit www.petefrates.com.
Jeff Cox covers college, junior and high school hockey, NCAA recruiting and NHL Draft prospects. Follow him on Twitter @JeffCoxSports.