Did you know that St. Louis has a Junior A hockey team? Did you know that they are the current two-time champions of said Junior A league? Did you know that they're playing the US National Development Team Program tonight?
I didn't. But I wound up out at the Chesterfield rink last night watching some of the US' best young players battling it out. The local team, the defending champion St. Louis Bandits defeated one of the best feeder teams in the States 2-1 with a goal in the last 10 seconds of the game.
Total cost to bring my family of five? $12.
You can see these guys go at it again tonight at 7:15 if you can get there. If not tonight, they have a few home games left on their schedule before they start the playoffs.
The Bandits currently have five players who have committed to D-I hockey programs already. Based on what I saw last night, there will be a few more to join the ranks.
The USNDTP (under 17) squad has 15 players who are committed to D-I college programs already.
We have no idea why this isn't better promoted or better attended, but if you want to see a great game and get to see players who will have a good chance of either playing in college or being drafted by NHL teams (Erik Johnson, for one, is a veteran of the USNDTP and Ryan Turek played for the Bandits before being drafted by the Blues), find your way to a Bandits game.
Need another reason? Fine, we'll give you two:
- The players are always available for autographs after the game and are more than friendly to your kids. That's how you grow the next gen of hockey fans.
- Jeff Brown is their coach.
Plus, they sell beer, which is always a plus in our book.