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Top Halifax players to arrive after celebration

by Mike G. Morreale

TORONTO -- Those scouts and general managers at the 2013 NHL Scouting Combine anticipating an interview with Halifax Mooseheads forwards Nathan MacKinnon and Jonathan Drouin and goalie Zachary Fucale will have to wait.

That's because Halifax will be holding a short procession and rally at 11 a.m. ET on Tuesday for the first "Mooseheads Day" to honor the team's victories in the President Cup of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League and Memorial Cup as the best team in the Canadian Hockey League.

Jonathan Drouin and Nathan MacKinnon

According to Halifax general manager Cam Russell, the three standout prospects will be traveling to the Combine early Wednesday morning following festivities Tuesday.

MacKinnon, No. 2 on NHL Central Scouting's final list of the top 2013 NHL Draft-eligible North American skaters, finished with tournament highs of seven goals and 13 points in four games at the Memorial Cup. He had a hat trick and added two assists in 6-4 victory against the Portland Winterhawks in the Memorial Cup championship game Sunday and was awarded the Stafford Smythe Memorial Trophy as tournament MVP.

Drouin, No. 3 on Central Scouting's final list, matched a single-game Memorial Cup record with five assists in the title game, while Fucale, the No. 1-rated North American goaltender, made 40 saves in the championship triumph. The Mooseheads went a combined 77-8-4 during the regular season, QMJHL playoffs and Memorial Cup to leave no doubt who the best team in the CHL was in 2012-13.

"Everyone was a Mooseheads fan [Sunday] as we watched them play for the Memorial Cup, whether they were in Saskatoon, in Grand Parade watching on the big screen, or gathered with family and friends," Halifax Regional Municipality Mayor Mike Savage said in a statement Monday. "There has been tremendous public support for the Mooseheads throughout the season, bringing our community together as we've cheered them on to victory."

MacKinnon has 10 interviews scheduled with NHL teams upon his arrival Wednesday; Drouin has nine.

"Some of the players are already going to be late getting to the Combine," Savage told The Halifax Metro. "Everybody has training regimes and places they have to go to, so this has to be done very quickly."

The Mooseheads will take the Memorial Cup from Metro Centre down Carmichael Street and into Grand Parade at 11 a.m. ET. Players will be signing autographs afterward.


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