By Joshua Boyd / USPHL.com
The National Collegiate Development Conference congratulates its selections for the 2023 NCDC All-Star “Best of the Best” Game, set to kick off at 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 21, at Foxboro Sports Center in Foxboro, Mass. We are announcing each team this week in two sets – forwards in one set and defensemen and goaltenders in another.
Every one of these players was voted on by the NCDC’s coaches, and every player is greatly deserving of the honor to be named as an All-Star and to wear the All-Star jersey on Feb. 21.
Rosters, while being announced this week, are subject to change due to injuries or illnesses.
Team National (Red Jerseys – Away Team)
Jersey Hitmen • 2/20/2003 • 6-0/186 • L • Stuart, Fla.
Already a Dineen Cup Champion with the 2021-22 Hitmen, Cataldo returned to Wayne, N.J., and has since blown the roof off NCDC goaltending. He’s already set both a career record for shutouts (nine) and also the single-season record (eight), and he leads the league in goals against average (1.61) and save percentage (.955). All-time, he is tied for second in save percentage at .939.
P.A.L. Jr. Islanders • 1/21/2002 • 6-1/162 • L • West Chester, Conn.
COMMITTED TO ST. LAWRENCE UNIVERSITY
Smith continues to sharpen his game en route to what should be an outstanding NCAA Division I career. In this, his second season, he has put together a league-high 19 wins, and he is second in goals against average (2.18), and he is third in save percentage (.939). Over two seasons, Smith has also racked up 32 victories, which currently ranks him fourth in NCDC history.
Connecticut Jr. Rangers • 10/30/2003 • 5-9/159 • L • Harrisville, R.I.
Joseph is having a fantastic first NCDC season and has also cut his teeth in both the USPHL 16U Division and USPHL Premier in prior seasons. In a very tough South Division, he has helped the Jr. Rangers remain in a playoff position while posting the league’s fourth best goals against average (2.30) and second best save percentage (.939).
Jersey Hitmen • 9/26/2002 • 5-10/191 • L • Philadelphia, Pa.
Melso is already the NCDC’s all-time leading scorer among defensemen, and also recently crossed the 100-point mark. In 126 NCDC games, he has 24 goals and 84 assists for 108 points. This season, Melso is leading the NCDC defenseman scoring leaderboard with 34 points, and he is also tied for fourth in plus-minus among all NCDC blueliners.
P.A.L. Jr. Islanders • 7/1/2003 • 5-10/177 • R • Toronto, Ont.
Hewitt was a great signing for the Jr. Islanders, coming out of the OJHL in Canada. He is one of the best two-way blueliners in the league, putting up the league’s No. 2 plus-minus for a defenseman (and tied for No. 2 overall as well) with a +18. In 37 games, he had 33 points, including nine goals and 24 assists – both good for second in those categories.
Mercer Chiefs • 12/6/2002 • 6-2/185 • R • Byron Center, Mich.
Davis, the first-year Chiefs’ captain, has been a leader in more ways than one. For much of the season, he was the Chiefs’ overall leading scorer, and he remains one of the most offensively productive defensemen in the league. He is tied for fourth in D scoring with 27 points, while also being the leader in takeaways (314).
Mercer Chiefs • 1/22/2003 • 6-2/208 • L • Atlanta, Ga.
Keskintepe was a foundational building block for the first-year Chiefs that, earlier in January, briefly rose to first overall in the NCDC. The Chiefs signed him out of the CCHL, and no defenseman has played more shifts in the NCDC than his 846, and he is also second only to teammate Trevor Davis in takeaways (307). Offensively, he has also put up 15 points.
Rockets Hockey Club • 1/9/2003 • 5-3/145 • R • Elgin, Ill.
COMMITTED TO QUINNIPIAC UNIVERSITY
Copre has come in with past Tier I and Tier II experience to be one of the most exciting offensive defensemen in the league. He is averaging a point per game – the only blueliner on the top 20 leaderboard to do so – as he has put up 27 points in 27 games. The future Bobcat has registered 10 multi-point games this season already, and as recently as Jan. 27.
South Shore Kings • 5/22/2002 • 5-10/183 • R • Loudonville, N.Y.
Until Jan. 27, Barbro was patrolling the blue line for the South Division’s Rockets Hockey Club. A multi-player trade landed him in Foxboro with the Kings, but in the All-Star voting, he was selected to the South/National squad before the trade. Barbro is well-deserving of a spot in the game, regardless of where he’s storing his hockey bag. Barbro leads all NCDC defensemen in goal-scoring with 11 (and he is the only one with double digits) and he is third in defenseman scoring with 30 points. He also leads all NCDC defensemen with three game-winning goals. A former USPHL 16U player with CP Dynamo, he had played three NCDC games with the Kings in 2020-21. In 82 NCDC games, he has 41 points.