On July 1st, USA Hockey announced their roster for the 2019 Hlinka-Gretzky Cup tournament following a five-game selection process among the best under-18 players the country has to offer. Hamilton Bulldogs sophomore forward Avery Hayes was spectacular at camp, scoring 5 goals to go along with 4 assists for 9 points over the five games to earn himself a spot on Team USA.
Hayes was the only OHL player selected for Team USA’s Hlinka-Gretzky Cup team and one of only two players from the entire CHL, along with Cross Hanas of the WHL’s Portland Winterhawks.
The 2019 edition of the Hlinka-Gretzky Cup was hosted jointly by Breclav, Czech Republic & Piestany, Slovakia, but before Team USA arrived there for the tournament they began with an exhibition game in Budapest, Hungary playing against the nation’s under-20 team. Although Hayes didn’t record a point in a 6-4 American victory, he did shine for his team posting 4 shots on goal to go along with a +2 rating as the team readied for the tournament.
Although the tournament would not go the way of the American contingent, Hayes showed trademark offensive flare along with character and poise on the world stage. Hayes would mark his first tournament game with the primary assist on Jake Ratzlaff’s opening goal against Russia before beating Slovakian goaltender Simon Latkoczy on a two on one for his first goal as a member of Team USA.
Despite Team USA finishing 6th in the tournament, Avery Hayes continues to show the type of growth and development to his already impressive skillset that has Bulldogs management, teammates and fans excited for what’s to come with one the Bulldogs brightest young stars