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Nike/Bauer NIT Tournament This Weekend

By News Sources, 11/05/08, 10:41AM CST


An open letter to hockey fans from tournament organizers


Dear Hockey Fans,


Welcome to the 2008 Nike Bauer National Invitational Tournament, brought to you by the Upper Midwest High School Elite Hockey League. 

In just a few years, the NIT has truly become the place to “see tomorrow’s stars today.” NIT fans in recent years have been able to watch future NHLers like Sidney Crosby, Zach Parise, Jonathan Toews, Blake Wheeler, T.J. Oshie, Matt Niskanen and Matt Carle. It’s a certainty that some of the players you are watching this weekend will be performing in college rinks or NHL arenas in just a short while.

The NIT is the culmination of the eight-week Elite League season that operates from late August through early November. A non-profit venture, the Elite League provides high-level competition for the Upper Midwest’s best players, structured in a way that allows them to remain in their high schools and also compete in fall sports. The Elite League features five teams from Minnesota representing specific geographic areas of the state, a North Dakota & Minnesota combined team, an all-star prep team from Wisconsin, and Shattuck-St. Mary’s, the six-time Midget AAA USA Hockey National Champions.

The Elite League – including the season-ending  NIT  - has evolved into one of the most outstanding talent showcases in North America, attracting substantial attention from scouts and coaches representing NHL teams, colleges and Tier 1 Junior “A” hockey clubs.  In addition to playing against high-caliber talent, Elite League players get the opportunity to demonstrate their skills to hockey decision makers on a weekly basis.

Over the years, many former Elite League and NIT participants have been among the top players selected in the NHL Entry Draft. Last spring, the 2008 NHL Entry Draft saw many Elite League players selected, including  Jake Gardiner (17th), Aaron Ness (40th), Derek Stepan (51st), David Toews (66th), Cory Fienhage (81st) and Justin Jokinen (101st).

This year’s NIT field is particularly strong. In addition to two teams comprised of Minnesota Elite League  all-stars, we also welcome Shattuck-St. Mary’s, Team Wisconsin, the LA Selects, San Jose Jr. Sharks, the Michigan Developmental Hockey League (MDHL) all-star squad and - all the way from the Sweden -  the Malmo Redhawks, making their second consecutive trip to Minnesota.

This weekend, you really will be seeing “tomorrow’s stars today.”  Please enjoy our phenomenal field of talented young players from across the nation, and around the world, as they showcase their speed, skill, strength, teamwork and sportsmanship here in “The State of Hockey.”

Thank you for being here, and warmest regards,

John Russo   Upper Midwest High School Elite League

Ed Saunders Nike Bauer Hockey