Three years ago, Patrick Kane (above) and James van Riemsdyk (below right) stood on the ice in Sweden getting their bronze medal after finishing third at the World Junior Championship that year. The duo helped the USA Hockey beat home standing Sweden for the medal, but come Saturday the two will be on opposite ends of the ice as they Blackhawks battle the Flyers.
These two are two of my favorite players in the NHL. Kane is the flashy player who went from the 2007 NHL Draft to stardom in NHL, while JVR, a former Shore Conference standout at CBA, took the longer road and went to University of New Hampshire and then showed up in Philly this year. JVR was selected with the second overall pick in the draft that year.
The pair show the continued growth of the USA Hockey, a couple of years ago the thought of these two players having this type of impact would be crazy. The pair are products of the USA Hockey's National Team Development Program. The program takes the best players from the around the country and puts them in Michigan so that they can development their skills. While Kane and JVR are battling it out for Cup, the NTDP is watching with a smile on their face knowing that the program has been a huge success.