LAKE PLACID, N.Y. -- Auston Matthews is a tremendous example of the spread of hockey to non-traditional markets.
Matthews grew up in Scottsdale, Ariz., but during the USA Hockey National Junior Evaluation Camp this week, the 16-year-old forward is proving to be just as good, if not better, than players who grew up in more traditional hockey climates. He's also staking his claim to a roster spot for the United States at the 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship.
"We're seeing a wonderful hockey player," said Jim Johansson, assistant executive director of hockey operations for USA Hockey and the general manager of the United States for the 2015 World Junior Championship. "Sturdiness, skating ability, compete level all have been excellent. I think the interesting part for us is it's a lot of hockey in a short time and yet to me it looks like he's, if not getting stronger, he's right on par with what the start of this camp was. Guys get worn down in this camp and that's part of it. I think what you're seeing is a very talented hockey player."