The family business is hockey, and Anchorage’s Mac Swanson just got a promotion.
The 16-year-old Anchorage forward — whose father played in the NHL — has been named to the U.S. select team that will play in the Under-17 Five Nations Tournament next month in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
The Americans will be competing Aug. 9-13 against elite squads from Slovakia, Czechia, Switzerland and Germany.
Swanson, who was one of 12 forwards to make the 20-player roster during USA Hockey’s boys select 16 player development camp earlier this month in Amherst, New York, wasn’t given a spot on the team because of who he knows.
“I’m not just pumping his tires just because I’m his dad,” said Brian Swanson, who played 13 seasons as a pro in the NHL, Germany and the ECHL with the Alaska Aces. “When it comes to hockey, he puts in the work, does a lot of extra stuff. It’s just his jam, man. It’s what he wants to do.”
The family’s hockey history in the state runs deep, including Mac Swanson’s grandfather, who is the namesake of the Harry J. McDonald Memorial Center in Eagle River.
Skating for Team Alaska last season, Swanson led the squad of 15-year-olds with 27 goals and 52 assists in 42 games.
The 5-foot-7, 170-pounder received an invitation to try out in March for USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program but wasn’t one of the 13 forwards to be chosen for the NTDP.
Not making it “was pretty shocking,” Swanson said, but the experience “definitely motivated me” going into the select camp tryout for the Five Nations team, which doesn’t include NTDP players.
“He was pretty bummed after not making the U-17 national team,” said his mom, Lynn Swanson, “so this is a great consolation prize.”
The U.S. Five Nations select team, which won the tournament last year in Switzerland, will play Germany in its first game of the tournament Aug. 9. Games are scheduled to be streamed on Hockey TV.
In the fall, Swanson will play for the Fargo Force, who picked him in the first round of the United States Hockey League draft in March.
“I thought it was the best opportunity,” Swanson said of his decision to play for the Tier I program.
Until then, he will be wearing No. 27 — his father’s number — while working for Uncle Sam.