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Four of the NHL Draft's top prospects helped out at a youth ball hockey clinic on Thursday

by TORIE PETERSON @ToriePeterson /

Four of this year's NHL Draft class' top prospects kicked off the day by helping out at a youth ball hockey clinic beside the United Center. In attendance were Nolan Patrick, Nico Hischier, Gabriel Vilardi, and Casey Mittelstadt - four mainstays in the NHL Draft media rotation this week.

Flames TV and stopped by the event, catching up with the kids ahead of what will be the biggest moment of their career thus far.

Watch for a column from George Johnson and a one-on-one Flames TV feature with Casey Mittelstadt later today.


We also caught up with Hischier, who has a very good chance at becoming the highest drafted Swiss-born player in NHL history.

He opted to come to North America for his draft-eligible season, scoring 38 goals and 86 points in 57 games with the Halifax Mooseheads. The 18-year-old admitted it took awhile to make the decision to leave Switzerland but he is extremely happy with his choice.

"I always wanted to come over to see how it looks like to play in North America, with a lot of travel and a lot of games. I got the opportunity and decided that if I'm not going to take it, I'm going to regret it.

"I had some buddies who were over so I knew, kind of, what was going to happen (when I arrived). Nothing really surprised me. I was just surprised at how they love the game here, in North America. Especially Halifax, Canada. They really love the game and it was awesome to play junior hockey there, with a lot of fans and they treat you really professionally."

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