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Toronto to host 2011 Top Prospects Game

by Adam Kimelman /
Some of the top prospects for the 2011 Entry Draft will get a chance to show their skills in front of NHL scouts on NHL ice when the Home Hardware CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game takes place at the Air Canada Centre, home of the Toronto Maple Leafs.

The event will be held Jan. 18-19, and will feature 40 of the best draft prospects playing in one of the Canadian Hockey League member leagues -- the Ontario Hockey League, Quebec Major Junior Hockey League and Western Hockey League. There will be a skills competition Jan. 18, and an exhibition game the next night. The event returns to Air Canada Centre for the first time since 2000.

"The Canadian Hockey League is very excited to bring the 2011 Home Hardware CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game back to Toronto where the event first began in 1996," CHL President David Branch said. "This is an exciting opportunity for the NHL's future stars to display their talents on Air Canada Centre ice before a national television audience and in front of one of the largest crowds this game has ever seen, and our appreciation is extended to (GM) Brian Burke and the entire Toronto Maple Leafs organization for hosting this prestigious event."

Players are selected by NHL clubs, with rosters assembled by NHL Central Scouting. Last year's event, which was held in Windsor, Ont., featured Edmonton's Taylor Hall, Boston's Tyler Seguin, Columbus' Ryan Johansen and the New York Islanders' Nino Niederreiter. In all, 15 players who skated in last year's game were taken in the first round of the draft, and that doesn't include Florida's Erik Gudbranson and Tampa Bay's Brett Connolly, who were selected, but missed the game due to injury.

"Each year the Home Hardware CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game is a highly anticipated event that is circled on the calendars of all National Hockey League scouts and general managers," NHL Director of Central Scouting E.J McGuire said. "This is the only event of its kind where the best NHL draft-eligible players from across the CHL are assembled for on-ice competition resulting in tremendous skill and intensity, with the opportunity for players to perform before the eyes of all 30 NHL teams in attendance."

"The CHL has a rich history of producing great NHL players and Toronto has been fortunate enough to have many of its alumni wear the Maple Leaf," Brian Burke. "This will be a great opportunity to showcase the next generation of NHL stars and the Maple Leafs organization is thrilled to bring the 2011 Home Hardware CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game to Air Canada Centre."

Hockey Hall of Famer Bobby Orr and Hockey Night in Canada icon Don Cherry have coached the teams in past years. Last year, Jordan Weal had a goal and an assist to lead Team Cherry to a 4-2 victory against Team Orr. Weal later was a third-round pick of the Kings. Carolina first-round pick Jeff Skinner had a goal and an assist for Team Orr. There also was a pair of fights, showing that this contest is far from your usual all-star game.

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