‘08s Making an Early Statement

Alex McLean, Cooper Soller, Viljo Kahkonen among top performers from WSI Day 1 action

The best 2008-born youth hockey players in the world took to the ice at the 15U World Selects Invitational on Wednesday. Thirty-four teams from 12 countries squared off in Nashville, Tennessee, for the 14th annual WSI. Teams began pool play with two games each on the opening day of the tournament. 

In 12 hours, more than 30 games went down across three rinks in the Music City. A lot of action crammed into a short amount of time saw plenty of standout performers. Canada’s Alex McLean, American-born Cooper Soller and Finnish forward Viljo Kahkonen were among those to make an early statement on the international stage.

CCM Selects tops in the standings, leading scorers

Coming into the tournament, CCM Selects were one of the early favorites to perform well at the 15U WSI. Alex McLean being on the roster was one of the reasons for that, after scoring 112 points for the 14U Pittsburgh Penguins Elite this past season. He delivered in a big way in the first game of the tournament, with a six-point performance in a 12-3 win over Toronto Elite Hockey

That game was the largest margin of victory among all contests on opening day. While CCM Selects were certainly thought of as a top team in the field, the dominant win validated just that. 

Their second game of the day came against another North American-based program in Top Speed Hockey. And again, provided little resistance as CCM rolled to a 9-1 win. Defenseman Zach Nyman was a standout on the No. 1 ranked Vaughan Kings this season. He proved why with back-to-back three-point performances as a major factor in both wins for CCM Selects. 

With 21 goals in just the first two games of the tournament, CCM Selects players dominate the scoring leaderboard. McLean, Nyman, Maximus CreteAvry Antsis and Rudolfs Berzkalns are all among the top producers at the WSI thus far.

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