Eight Minnesotans were selected to join USA Hockey's National Team Development Program's under-17 team, including two defensemen who played for their high school teams last season: AJ Francisco of Hermantown and Logan Lutner of Maple Grove.

Last season, Francisco scored the Hawks' lone goal in a 3-1 loss to St. Cloud Cathedral in the Class 1A state tournament championship game. The defenseman/forward finished his sophomore season with 13 goals and 17 assists.

Lutner played regular shifts as a sophomore for a Crimson team that finished second in the Class 2A, Section 5 playoffs.

The 23 rostered players come from 12 states: Minnesota (eight), Illinois (four), California (two), Iowa (one), Massachusetts (one), Michigan (one), New Hampshire (one), North Carolina (one), Oregon (one), Pennsylvania (one), Texas (one) and Wisconsin (one).

Other Minnesotans selected were forwards Mikey Berchild of Excelsior and Shattuck-St. Mary's, Wyatt Cullen of Moorhead, Sammy Nelson of Maple Grove, Victor Plante of Hermantown, Parker Trottier of Edina and Shattuck-St. Mary's and goaltender Luke Carrithers of Maple Grove.

Cullen is the son of former NHL player Matt Cullen, and Plante's father Derek was also a long-time NHL center. Trottier is the grandson of Hall of Famer Bryan Trottier.

The NTDP is a two-year residency program for high-performance players that is located at USA Hockey Arena in Plymouth, Mich. The under-17 team plays in the United States Hockey League, the only Tier I junior hockey league in the United States, as well as against select competition in the North American Hockey League and Minnesota Elite League. Each season, the U17 team also competes in three international tournaments.