MINNEAPOLIS -- As an eighth grader, hockey prodigy Jack Eichel was playing for and against 20-year-olds in his debut with the Boston Junior Bruins of the Empire Junior Hockey League.
He served as captain of that team the following season, scoring 86 points in 36 games.
"Anytime you get to be around older guys, you get their habits and the way they go about their business," Eichel told NHL.com. "Being able to play against older guys makes you a better player. I think that if you're not challenging yourself you're not going to get better."
The challenges continued following his freshman year at Chelmsford High School in Massachusetts when the 16-year-old center joined the United States National Team Development Program's under-17 team in Ann Arbor, Mich.