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Tahoe Prep defenseman Nordorf expands horizons at national camp


What does it take to be in the top one percent of hockey players?

Tahoe Prep defenseman Jacob Nordorf found out this year on his road to the 2019 USA Hockey Boys Select 17 Player Development Camp, which was held in June in Amherst, N.Y.


The camp provided the United States’ top players born in 2002 with on-ice and off-ice training, coaching from elite-level instructors and the opportunity to compete against their peers from across the country. The camp is also used to select the roster for the U.S. Under-18 Select Team that competes at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup each August.

But before his journey to upstate New York, Nordorf’s journey almost ended at the CAHA camp that feeds players to the Pacific District finals.

“After CAHA, I was named an alternate for Pacific District,” Nordorf said, recalling his disappointment in not being selected outright. “I was very frustrated, but then a couple weeks later, my mom got an email saying that I got a bid and I was going to Pacific Districts.”

Nordorf was returning to Tahoe from the Pacific District camp in Las Vegas when he got a text in the Reno Tahoe International Airport that he had made it to the national camp.

nordorf3“It was crazy – I was jumping around and screaming,” Nordorf said. “And I realized that I was going to get the most exposure that I’ve ever gotten in my life.”

Nordorf knew the camp would give him a shot to be noticed by some of the best Division I college hockey programs in the country.

“I went in kind of nervous because I didn’t know what to expect, and it was kind of shocking how good everybody was,” he said. “The camp itself was laid back, but when they told us that we represented the top one percent in the nation of our age group, I was like, ‘Wow, that’s crazy.’”

Nordorf’s Gold team won three of their five games at the camp, and Nordorf scored a goal from the point in his first game. A hard hit in his final game irritated a previous shoulder injury, but Nordorf finished out the game.

Tahoe Prep head coach Chris Collins wasn’t surprised by Nordorf’s strong performance at the camp.

“His demeanor and his ability to stay calm in high pressure situations, where a lot of players will fumble, is part of what makes him such a good player,” Collins said. “He will rise above and maintain and make a play out of that situation.”

Nordorf said that after the camp he felt his outlook change on the ice. With a national camp under his belt, for his senior year with Tahoe Prep, Nordorf said he would like to get the most points in the NAPHL as a defenseman and add that accolade to his resume as he continues on his hockey journey.

“I always knew I was a good player, but the experience gave me confidence,” he said. “A lot of different schools started reaching out to me, and I made connections with NAHL teams.”

Top photo/Ed Fritz

— Greg Ball

(Oct. 29, 2019)

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