Hockey Canada and the Canadian Junior Hockey League (CJHL) are proud to announce the Head Coaches for the 2011 CJHL Prospects Events in Langley, BC on November 12th & 13th. Jason McKee of the Alberta Junior Hockey League's Spruce Grove Saints has been appointed as Head Coach of Team West. Team East will be led by Sheldon Keefe of the Central Canada Hockey League's Pembroke Lumber Kings.
For the first time, the CJHL Prospects Event will be held in conjunction with the World Junior A Challenge. The newly-combined event will be a unique opportunity for CJHL stars to showcase their talent on an international stage and will provide CJHL prospects an unprecedented audience of scouts from across North America.
The CJHL Prospects Game was created to showcase the top 40 NHL draft eligible players in the Canadian Junior Hockey League. Player selection is a joint initiative of the CJHL and NHL Central Scouting.
Sheldon Keefe has led the Pembroke Lumber Kings (CCHL) to five consecutive CCHL Championships and an RBC Cup title in 2011. "It is obviously a great honour to be selected as Head Coach for the CJHL Prospects Games, and it was really unexpected," said Keefe. "Through my time at the RBC Cup Tournament and by working with Team East for the upcoming World Junior A Challenge, I have learned that Hockey Canada and the CJHL run top-notch events. This will be a premier event at a great facility and a great opportunity for all involved."
Keefe is an ex-NHL player and recognizes the importance of this event for players eligible in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, "This event is a unique opportunity for scouts to view draft eligible players competing against one another, and potentially expand the pool of players they are watching for the upcoming draft. This is a huge chance for the CJHL players to showcase their talent against the talent of players in their age group and get on the radar of NHL scouts."
Jason McKee is the General Manager and Head Coach of the Spruce Grove Saints (AJHL). McKee and the Saints dominated the CJHL Weekly Rankings throughout the 2010-2011 season and captured a second consecutive AJHL league title in 2011. McKee is looking forward to his first experience coaching in the CJHL Prospects Event, "I am very excited for the opportunity to work with elite players at our level. It's exciting for myself, the players and the hockey community."
By combining the CJHL Prospects Event with the 2011 World Junior A Challenge, the scouting community will have the unique opportunity to witness over 80 CJHL stars compete in two high-level events. "This is a great avenue for our elite players to showcase their ability on a big stage, especially this year being linked to the World Junior A Challenge," said McKee. "There will be lots of eyes on our athletes and it is a tremendous opportunity for exposure."
The CJHL Prospects Games feature players from the CJHL's five western leagues competing against the top prospects from the CJHL'S five eastern leagues. The event includes a two-game total goal series between Team East and Team West.
Team East and Team West playoff for the President's Cup, which is awarded to the winning team at each CJHL Prospects Game. The 2010 CJHL Prospects Event was held in Dauphin, Manitoba in December 2010. Team East defeated Team West in two consecutive games to capture the President's Cup.
(Nathan can be reached at email@example.com)