Calgary, AB - The Canadian Hockey League, in association with BMO Financial Group, today announced a new agreement naming BMO as the title sponsor of the BMO CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game.
The 2014 BMO CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game will be hosted by the Western Hockey League’s Calgary Hitmen and takes place on Wednesday January 15. This season’s event will mark the 19th annual showcase of the CHL’s top-40 NHL draft eligible players featuring talent from the WHL, the Ontario Hockey League, and Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.
“BMO has been an outstanding corporate partner for the CHL for more than 10 years and we are very excited by their expanded partnership with the CHL as they assume title sponsorship of the BMO CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game,” said CHL President David Branch. “Events such as this are only possible with the commitment of corporate partners like BMO and we look forward to showcasing the next wave of NHL talent to the passionate fans in Calgary this January.”
"BMO is excited to be expanding our strong partnership with the CHL and building on our commitment to invest in communities," said Robert Hayes, Senior Vice President, Alberta and NWT Division, BMO Bank of Montreal. "Our customers are passionate about hockey and the BMO CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game is another great way to celebrate with our customers and fans in Calgary, throughout Alberta and in all our communities across Canada. BMO is proud to be associated with the CHL's strong commitment not only to player development, but to producing complete and mature individuals through post-secondary scholarships and bursaries.”
In their third year as the Official Bank of the CHL, BMO’s special fan appreciation initiatives include the popular BMO Ultimate CHL Fan Contest taking place in 42 Canadian markets this season, along with the BMO Power of Blue program which provides special perks to BMO customers each week at CHL games across Canada. BMO-focused initiatives will also be present at the league’s other national marquee events such as the SUBWAY Super Series and the MasterCard Memorial Cup.
The CHL in association with 2014 BMO CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game hosts the WHL’s Calgary Hitmen also announced today that Calgary Flames’ legends Lanny McDonald and Jim Peplinski will be Head Coaches for the game with fellow Flames’ greats Mike Vernon, Joel Otto, and Paul Reinhart serving as Assistant Coaches.
"We are very fortunate that some of our most prominent CHL graduates and all-time great Calgary Flames players have agreed to serve as celebrity coaches for the 2014 BMO CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game in Calgary," commented CHL Vice-President and WHL Commissioner Ron Robison. "All of these former CHL and NHL players have distinguished themselves both on and off the ice and will be outstanding role models for the top rated CHL Prospects participating in this season's BMO CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game."
McDonald, Head Coach for Team Orr, participates in the event for the fourth time after coaching alongside Vernon at the 2008 event in Edmonton. He also assisted Don Cherry in both games previously held in Calgary in 1999 and 2001. After helping the Medicine Hat Tigers advance to the Memorial Cup in 1973, McDonald was the fourth overall pick of the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Hanna, Alberta, native shared Flames’ captain duties with Peplinski when the club won the Stanley Cup in 1989. Inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1992, McDonald scored 500 goals and 1,006 points in 1,111 career games.
Peplinski, Head Coach for Team Cherry, played in 711 career NHL games with the Flames from 1980-95 and represented Canada at the 1988 Olympic Winter Games in Calgary. The Renfrew, Ontario, native played three seasons for the Toronto Marlboros of the OMJHL before he was selected in the fourth round of the 1979 NHL Draft by the Flames. Current Vice-President, Business Development with the Flames, Peplinski also served as Co-Chair of the 2012 IIHF World Junior Championship.
Assisting McDonald on Team Orr will be Vernon and Otto who were also both members of the Flames’ 1989 Stanley Cup Championship Team. A member of the WHL’s Calgary Wranglers from 1980-83, Vernon won back-to-back Goaltender of the Year and MVP Awards in 1982 and 1983. The Calgary native played in 781 career NHL games and won two Stanley Cups including 1997 when he received the Conn Smythe Trophy as Playoff MVP with the Detroit Red Wings. His number 30 jersey has been retired by the Flames alongside McDonald’s number nine. Otto played 14 seasons in the NHL including 11 with the Flames and three with the Philadelphia Flyers collecting 508 points in 943 games. The Elk River, Minnesota, native also won the World Cup with Team USA in 1999 and took part in the 1998 Winter Olympics. He is in his seventh season as an Assistant Coach of the Hitmen.
Reinhart will serve as an Assistant Coach for Peplinski on Team Cherry. The Kitchener, Ontario, native played four seasons for his hometown Rangers before becoming the 12th overall pick in the 1979 NHL Draft. He played in 11 NHL seasons including nine with the Flames competing in 648 career games. Reinhart’s son Max was selected by the Flames in the third round of the 2010 NHL Draft, and son Griffin was the fourth overall pick of the New York Islanders in 2012 after competing for Team Orr in this event held in Kelowna. His youngest son, Sam, is a top prospect eligible for the 2014 NHL Draft.
The Hitmen are also pleased to announce that tickets are now available to the general public.
“This is a terrific opportunity for fans of all ages to purchase tickets to see NHL future stars today,” said Mike Moore, Hitmen General Manager and Vice-President of Business Operations. “We are excited to offer Hitmen pricing for this great event and encourage fans to purchase their tickets today for this game.”
Tickets can be purchased for as little as $12.00 for a child ticket and $17.00 for an adult ticket at all Ticketmaster locations and the Scotiabank Saddledome box office. Order online at www.ticketmaster.ca or by phone at 1-855-985-5000. Group ticket pricing is also available by calling 403-777-4646.
The Hitmen have been represented in this event by a CHL-high 24 players since 1996 including goaltender Chris Driedger who competed in Kelowna before becoming a third round selection of the Ottawa Senators in the 2012 NHL Draft. Seven former Hitmen also competed in this event before becoming first round NHL picks including Pavel Brendl and Kris Beech in 1999, Brent Krahn (2000), Ryan Getzlaf (2003), Andrew Ladd and Jeff Shultz in 2004, Alex Plante (2007), and Karl Alzner (2007).
2013 Flames first round picks Sean Monahan, selected sixth overall, and Morgan Klimchuk, selected 28th overall, both competed in this event last season in Halifax. Sven Baertschi, selected by the Flames with the 13th overall pick in the 2011 NHL Draft also competed in this event and recorded two points including the game-winning goal for Team Orr in the 7-1 win in Toronto.
Since the event was first introduced in 1996 it has featured 11 players selected with the first overall pick in the NHL Draft including Chris Phillips, Joe Thornton, Vincent Lecavalier, Rick Nash, Marc-Andre Fleury, Patrick Kane, Steven Stamkos, John Tavares, Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, and Nathan MacKinnon.
Associate sponsors are SUBWAY and Old Dutch. The game will be broadcast nationally by Sportsnet and TVA Sports.
For more information please visit www.bmotopprospects.ca.
(Nathan can be reached at email@example.com)