For many kids, simply being invited the U.S. national team development program's selection camp last weekend in Ann Arbor, Mich., would have been the highlight.
For many kids, simply being invited the U.S. national team development program’s selection camp last weekend in Ann Arbor, Mich., would have been the highlight.
For 16-year-old Jack Roslovic, a sophomore at Wellington, it could serve as the launch point for a bright hockey career.
Roslovic, who starred among the 50-plus participants at the camp, was formally invited yesterday to be a member of the national team’s development program, a two-year commitment that places the center in the path forged by many of the NHL’s top players. He also is the first player born and raised in central Ohio to earn such a invite.
“It’s a true honor, especially for a Columbus kid,” Roslovic said yesterday. “I’m almost speechless when I think about what this means, the opportunity this can afford me down the road. Just wearing the red, white and blue is a huge honor.
“Going into this camp is so scary for so many kids, because it’s the elite of the elite in this country. But honestly, I think I played some of the best hockey I’ve ever played. I didn’t have bad nerves. I just felt free to show them what I could do.”
The program was started by USA Hockey in 1996 to identify elite players and centralize the training and off-ice development. Among the NHL players it has helped developed are Chicago’s Patrick Kane, Minnesota’s Ryan Suter, Toronto’s Phil Kessel, Vancouver’s Ryan Kesler and Blue Jackets Jack Johnson and R.J Umberger. There are about 45 alums currently in the NHL.
“You come in a boy and leave a man,” Johnson said. “That’s what it’s known for; that’s what it did for me.”
Roslovic, who plays for the Ohio AAA Blue Jackets, is 6 feet and 160 pounds. The development program is essentially a boarding school, where he’ll study, practice, play and train year-round in Ann Arbor. After that, he’ll have his pick among Division I college programs — seven have already offered scholarships — and major-junior clubs in the Ontario Hockey League.
This summer, he likely will be drafted by an OHL club. In 2015, he would be eligible for the NHL draft.
USA Hockey does not comment on invitees until paperwork has been filed with the development firstname.lastname@example.org