BY MATT MACKINDER
Clarkston News Staff Writer
USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program has boasted the top Under-17 and Under-18 players in the country over the past 23 years, developing them for NCAA hockey and the NHL.
Next season, the Plymouth-based program will have a local flavor as Clarkston native Ty Gallagher was recently named to the Under-17 team.
Gallagher will leave home to live with a host family in the Plymouth area and will attend one of Northville High School, Novi High School, or Plymouth High School, depending on where his host family lives.
“Since I first heard of the NTDP program, it has been a dream of mine to play for them,” said Gallagher, a current Clarkston High School sophomore with a 3.8 GPA. “I will never forget the heart-racing feeling when I first got offered because it is a chance to play the sport that I love and get a chance to wear my country across my chest for at least the next two years.”
Gallagher attended an evaluation camp at USA Hockey Arena earlier this season and his play appealed to the NTDP brass.
“I expect to improve my game and skill set,” Gallagher said. “I will be playing against older, more experienced players and I will learn how to adapt. It will be tough to leave my family and home, but I know I must do it to continue my journey in hockey.”
This past season, Gallagher played for the Compuware U16 team, also based out of USA Hockey Arena. He is also committed to play NCAA Division I hockey for Miami University, a school based in Oxford, Ohio, that recently had a coaching change. On April 6, Gallagher was drafted by the Ontario Hockey League’s Flint Firebirds as well. If a player plays major junior hockey (which the OHL is), he loses his NCAA eligibility.
“I committed to Miami earlier this hockey season and I look forward to meeting coach (Chris) Bergeron,” said Gallagher. “I am going to play for the NTDP the next two years, but it is good to have options for after my two years there.”
Still, before the transition to Plymouth in August, Gallagher is looking forward to finishing his last high school year in Clarkston, a town he said helped shape his character over the years.
“My dad (Peter) is a gym teacher in the Clarkston School District and when I was 2, he taught at the high school,” Gallagher said. “Some of his students played for the high school hockey team and they wanted me to come to one of their games. So my dad took me and right when I stepped inside the rink, I fell in love. Right after the game, I asked my dad for a pair of skates and if I could play hockey.
“Until I was 4 years old, we lived in Waterford but my parents (mom is Anita) both taught in Clarkston and I went to preschool in Clarkston, so I have been around this town my whole life. I loved growing up here because people in Clarkston respect and help anyone they meet. It is a very tight-knit community. I’ve had great teachers, coaches, and role models in Clarkston.”