The United States Hockey League today announced that it will host its first USHL/NHL Top Prospects Game on January 24th, 2012.
The event will feature the League’s top NHL draft-eligible players in the USHL’s inaugural, premiere showcase event, hosted by the Muskegon Lumberjacks and played on the Lumberjack’s home ice at the newly renovated L.C. Walker Arena in Muskegon, Michigan.
Forty of the USHL’s top young players, the majority eligible to be selected in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, will compete as two teams selected by the USHL in cooperation with NHL Central Scouting and the General Managers and scouts of the 30 NHL teams. The game will take place only days after NHL Central Scouting releases its midterm rankings of NHL draft-eligible players in mid-January.
“The USHL continues to attract more and more NHL-caliber players, who are in pursuit of a professional career through the fairest and finest development system in the world – the education-based American development model,” said Skip Prince, USHL Commissioner. “We’re working with the NHL Member Clubs as partners here, and the feedback from their general managers, head scouts, and NHL Central Scouting confirmed the need for a competitive event of this nature to showcase our best and supplement their already extensive regular season scouting efforts in the League.”
The process for selecting players for the event has begun, overseen by the Commissioner’s Office and conducted in cooperation with the 16 USHL General Managers, NHL Central Scouting, and NHL scouts and decision makers. Top prospects tentatively scheduled to compete include Dubuque Fighting Saints forward Zemgus Girgensons, Green Bay Gamblers defenseman Jordan Schmaltz, defenseman Brian Cooper of the Fargo Force, and goaltender Jon Gillies of the Indiana Ice. A full roster of players will be announced at a later date.
Tickets for the event will go on sale to the public beginning this week and can be purchased by contacting the Muskegon Lumberjacks at (231) 724-5225 or by visiting www.StarTickets.com.
“Our organization is thrilled to be hosting this event,” said Josh Mervis, Owner and CEO of the Muskegon Lumberjacks. “It is a great opportunity to help support the USHL’s mission of developing some of the best hockey players in the world. It is also the perfect site for the inaugural Top Prospects Game, because there’s not a more sophisticated hockey fan base in the USHL than here in Muskegon. We’re proud to welcome key decision-makers from throughout the NHL to the home of the Lumberjacks.”
Last June, a total of 28 USHL players were selected in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft – the most USHL players selected by the NHL teams in one year. In addition, nine USHL alumni were chosen in that 2011 Draft.
(Nathan can be reached at email@example.com)