Noah Hanifin, who was given an A rating on NHL Central Scouting's November players to watch list, is a freshman at Boston College in Hockey East. The 6-foot-3, 203-pound defenseman, who has two goals and seven points in 14 games for the Eagles this season, was one of 30 players invited to the United States National Junior Team selection camp on the campus of Boston University from Dec. 16-19. He had eight goals and 33 points in 45 games for the United States Under-18 National Team Development Program in 2013-14. Hanifin, considered by many to be the best defenseman available at the 2015 NHL Draft, had one goal and five points for the United States at the IIHF 2014 World U-18 Championship. The native of Norwood, Mass., has offered to maintain a blog for NHL.com leading up to the 2015 NHL Draft in Sunrise, Fla.
| Noah Hanifin Team USA (Courtesy: USA Hockey)
It was a pretty exciting week. It was obviously a huge honor to be invited to attend the U.S. selection camp and be given an opportunity to play for my country at the World Junior Championship. This year's team is so strong and it will be a great challenge in camp. Defensively, we're deep, so to whoever makes the team it will be such a huge honor.
I've always loved following the World Junior Championship when I was a kid. I just thought it was a unique event where such passionate hockey was played. It obviously really hit me hard when I was in Ann Arbor (Michigan) and the excitement that was built by the tournament. But if I'm fortunate enough to make the team, it will be something I've always been excited to have the chance to participate in.
I think our country can build upon the gold medal we won at the World Under-18 Championship in Finland over the summer. It's always nice playing in these tournaments going in with a core group of guys that you've already experienced success with. Plus, with some of the guys here at Boston College like Steve Santini, Thatcher Demko and Ian McCoshen, their veteran presence will help along an eager group.
While I think it would be great to play this tournament in the United States as an American player, I can't think of a place that will be crazier to play than Canada. Canadian fans always support their team so well, no matter where the World Juniors are played. I know it's going to be insane on their home ice. If given the chance, I can't wait to play in that environment.
Before I wrap up this month's blog, just a few words on how things are going at Boston College. As a team, we'd like to be getting a couple more wins, but we're young and we have a ton of potential. I'm confident once we come together, we'll hit our stride. I'm very satisfied with my progression. Working with [associate head] coach Greg Brown has been amazing and of course head coach Jerry York.
I'm being challenged every day and that's all you can ask for.
Until next time, thanks for reading,
Follow Noah Hanifin on Twitter at @nhanifin