The International Ice Hockey Federation ruled Thursday that Chicago native Stefan Matteau is ineligible to participate for U.S. at the upcoming World Men’s Under-18 Championship.

Matteau, who is regarded as one of the top North American skaters eligible for the 2012 NHL Draft, is the son of former NHL player Stephane Matteau. According to Kevin Allen of USA Today, the ruling is based on the fact Matteau hasn’t played two consecutive seasons in the U.S. after the age of 10.

Allen explains that although Matteau spent his first nine years in the U.S., he was living in Canada when he joined the U.S. program in March 2010. However, he didn’t play a game for the team until September in that year.

“It’s mind-boggling,” Matteau’s agent, Pat Brisson, told Allen. “This has never happened before. I want to dig a little bit deeper. Why take this opportunity from this kid who was born in the U.S. and has been part of the U.S. program for a year and a half? I feel bad for Stefan.”

The 6-foot-1.5, 210-pound center was one of four players from the USNTDP to be ranked among the top 30 North American skaters eligible for the 2012 Draft in June by NHL Central Scouting at its mid-term rankings in January.

“I’m a big-bodied power forward, have a lot of skill and a good shot and I play with an edge,” Matteau told NHL.com. “Some teams like that, and I like to bring an all-round solid game.”

Matteau has 15 goals, 32 points and 166 penalty minutes in 46 games with the NTDP Under-18 team this season. He’ll play for the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League next season.


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