When Owen King scored the game-winning goal for Bishop Kearney Selects in a national championship game on April 4, it put an exclamation point on how much of a force the Rochester, N.Y.-based program has become in just two years.
King, a forward from Webster, N.Y., committed to Providence College, broke a 1-1 tie against another top Midget team, the Long Island Gulls, with a little more than five minutes left in the first period of the USA Hockey Tier 1 16-under title contest in Rochester, Mich. BK Selects’ championship included a perfect six-game run at nationals.
So how did a small Catholic school in western New York, in a new partnership with a Tier 1 Midget program, field a team that became a national champion?
Welcome to the new and ever-more-crowded world of elite boys hockey in New York and New Jersey.
Where once Tier 1 Midget teams and traditional prep schools were the top producers of area talent to the NCAA and pro hockey ranks, academies like BK Selects, Northwood School and South Kent Selects — essentially hockey factories that offer schooling and housing along with full-season on-ice development — are taking bigger shares of the player pools.