The Halifax Mooseheads of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League will be well-represented when the 18th annual Home Hardware CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game is played Jan. 16 at the Metro Centre in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
The Canadian Hockey League announced on Wednesday that Halifax linemates Nathan MacKinnon and Jonathan Drouin will join forces for coach Don Cherry to highlight the roster for Team Cherry. MacKinnon was named captain for Team Cherry while Drouin and Sault Ste. Marie defenseman Darnell Nurse were appointed as alternates.
MacKinnon and Drouin are rated No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, on NHL Central Scouting's preliminary league rankings for the QMJHL. Additionally, there's a strong possibility that the No. 1-rated goalie in the QMJHL, Halifax keeper Zachary Fucale, will join his teammates at the game when rosters are formulated via NHL club nominations that should be completed by Dec. 10.
"I'm aware of the Halifax support and very thankful to be playing for Halifax, it's a great hockey market," MacKinnon said Wednesday during a media conference call. "The fans are going to be fired up for the game and it's going to be a lot of fun. The crowd is awesome here, and they support us every game so, for sure, this experience with [Drouin and possibly Fucale] is going to be special. We're going to take a lot from this game."
The contest in Halifax marks only the second time in the history of the Top Prospects Game that a team from the QMJHL will serve as host; the other was the 2007 game in Quebec City. Other past cities to host include Toronto (1996-98, 2000, 2011), Calgary (1999, 2001), Saskatoon (2002), Kitchener (2003), London (2004), Vancouver (2005), Ottawa (2006), Edmonton (2008), Oshawa (2009), Windsor (2010) and Kelowna (2012).