by Matt Gajtka
Christian Humphreys had already accomplished enough for two seasons — if not more — during 2021-22.
Not only did the Pittsburgh native earn an autumn move from the BK Selects 15O team to the 16Us, Humphreys ended up posting 121 points (43 goals) in 66 games as an underage player for a squad that won the program’s first-ever national championship.
But Humphreys wasn’t done when he kissed the USA Hockey trophy.
After an impressive performance at a March evaluation camp, the high-scoring center became the first BK Selects player to be selected for the Michigan-based U.S. National Team Development Program.
“Being with a group of like-minded guys who were dialed in to working hard, both on and off the ice, was a positive environment,” Humphreys said of his BK Selects experience. “The coaching staff at BK is one of the best groups of coaches I could ask for to guide me on the journey. They’ve all played at a high level and push us to make the most of the opportunities we’re given.”
Next comes another opportunity. Humphreys was one of 23 players chosen for the USNTDP’s Under-17 team, which will convene in the fall and compete in a schedule comprised mostly of junior Tier I USHL competition, in addition to international events.
“Christian is ultra-competitive,” said BK Selects director of boys hockey/15O head coach Chris Collins. “He has a fire inside him which allows him to play with an edge, shift-in and shift-out.
“Combining that competitiveness with his elite hockey mind is what makes Christian the exceptional player he is.”
The NTDP just completed its 25th season, with the goal to prepare student-athletes for participation on U.S. National Teams and success in their future hockey careers. The NTDP has produced 17 top-five NHL draft picks all-time, including five No. 1 overall selections, and almost every NTDP player secures an NCAA Division I scholarship.
You could say Humphreys has been on the NTDP’s radar since his 57-goal, 94-point output in a 45-game season for the Pittsburgh Penguins Elite 13U team in 2019-20, but he took the next step upon arrival in Rochester, scoring 49 goals and an eye-popping 126 points in 49 games for the BK Selects 14Us.
After the 5-foot-11 right-handed shooter started the 2021-22 season with 34 points (19 goals) in 19 games at the 15O level, BK Selects leadership decided to bump him up to the 16Us. Humphreys admitted the jump was “a little bit of a struggle,” especially when it came to the pace of the game, but he clearly got up to speed in a hurry.
“His growth in maturity to where he is now impressed me,” said 16U head coach and BK director of hockey operations Dan Collins. “He really wants to be a complete hockey player and a winner. This year he took huge strides in both areas.”
Before taking up residency in the Detroit exurb of Plymouth, Humphreys will tackle his summer preparations with the guidance of USNTDP sports-science professionals.
“We are lucky to have a training and nutrition plan to make sure we are ready to go for the start of the season,” Humphreys said. “I have a great trainer in Pittsburgh who will work with the trainers at the program to make sure I show up in the best possible shape.”
Considering how he’s earned this chance to shine on a national stage, bet on Humphreys making an immediate positive impression with the NTDP. And bet the players, coaches and staff back at Bishop Kearney will all be pulling for him.
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