The North American 3 Hockey League (NA3HL) has announced the number of players that will represent each team at next month’s NA3HL Top Prospects Tournament, presented by Easton, which will be held from February 17-19, 2014 at the Troy Sports Center in Troy, Michigan, along with the teams’ coaches. 80 total players from the NA3HL will be spread amongst four teams, who will play in three games each during the event. The event will feature teams that represent the four divisions in the NA3HL: Central, East, South and West.
The number of players each NA3HL team can to send to the tournament, in which four teams from the four NA3HL divisions: Central, East, South and West is based on each team’s winning percentage within their group as of January 20, 2014. Each team consists of a 20-man roster (12 forwards, 6 defensemen and 2 goalies) as chosen by the NA3HL Top Prospects Tournament Selection Committee as nominated by the league's 21 head coaches. All junior eligible NA3HL players are eligible to participate in the Top Prospects Tournament.
In the Central Division, the Peoria Mustangs (.714) will send five players, the St. Louis Jr. Blues (.639) will send four, the Chicago Jr. Bulldogs (.625), Wisconsin Whalers (.576) and Cincinnati Swords (.569) will send three players each and the Battle Creek Revolution (.031) will send two. The head coach of the Central Division team will be Steve Ortman from the Peoria Mustangs and the assistant coach will be Chris Flaugher from the St. Louis Jr. Blues.
In the East Division, the Flint Junior Generals (.892) will send five players, the Pittsburgh Vengeance (.595) will send four, the Cleveland Jr. Lumberjacks (.588), Toledo Cherokee (.576) and Metro Jets (.444) will send three players each and the Michigan Mountain Cats (.197) will send two. The head coach of the East Division team will be Steve Howard from the Flint Junior Generals and the assistant coach will be Dave Dorsey from the Pittsburgh Vengeance.
In the South Division, the Topeka Capitals (.661) and the Dallas Jr. Stars (.407) will each send four players to the event, while the Sugar Land Imperials (.404) will send three. The head coach of the South Division team will be Anthony Bohn from the Topeka Capitals and the assistant coach will be Jason Deitsch from the Dallas Jr. Stars. To round out the rest of the South Division team the head coach shall select three (3) “At Large” players from each other divisions. The At Large selections shall come from the pool of players that were nominated but not selected for their respective divisional teams.
In the West Division, the North Iowa Bulls (.938) will send five players, the Granite City Lumberjacks (.771) will send four players to the event, the Alexandria Blizzard (.629), Twin City Steel (.528) and Breezy Point North Stars (.222) will send three players each and the Minnesota Flying Aces (.191) will send two. The head coach of the West Division team will be Todd Sanden from the North Iowa Bulls and the assistant coach will be Brad Willner from the Granite City Lumberjacks.
2014 NA3HL Top Prospects schedule:
Monday, February 17th: East vs. Central, 2:45pm; West vs. South, 4:00pm
Tuesday, February 18th: South vs. Central, 10:00am; West vs. East, 12:30pm
Wednesday, February 19th: Central vs. West, 10:00am; East vs. South, 11:00am
The Head Coaches of each Top Prospect team will make final roster decisions after considering the player nominations submitted by individual teams. Top Prospects Head Coaches from the Central, East and West will finalize their rosters by Friday, January 24th. The head coach of the South Division Team shall have until Sunday, January 26th to submit his final roster. Top Prospects rosters for all teams will be formally announced on Thursday, January 30th on www.na3hl.com.
The NA3HL Top Prospects Tournament is played in conjunction with the North American Hockey League's (NAHL) Top Prospects Tournament, along with the North American Prospects Hockey League's (NAPHL) Championship Series. The event has quickly become one of the most highly-scouted events of its kind, with hundreds of junior, NCAA and NHL expected in attendance this season. Combined with the NAHL Top Prospects Tournament and NAPHL Championship series, it will make for an exciting week of hockey and provides a great opportunity for every scout and coach to get a close look the talent in the three leagues.
(Nathan can be reached at email@example.com)