Forty of the top American-born players eligible for the 2014 NHL Draft will be participating in the CCM/USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game on Thursday, Sept. 26, at CONSOL Energy Center.
The second annual showcase event will be divided into two teams with 20 players per side, coached by a pair of former Penguins – three-time Stanley Cup champion Joe Mullen and 1980 ‘Miracle on Ice’ Olympic hero Mark Johnson.
A back-to-back Stanley Cup champion with the Penguins in 1991 and ’92, Mullen is currently an assistant coach for the Philadelphia Flyers. Johnson, the son of the legendary ‘Badger’ Bob Johnson, is a four-time NCAA national champion as head coach of the women’s hockey team at his alma mater the University of Wisconsin.
Tickets for the Top Prospects Game are available at Ticketmaster.com, at all TicketMaster locations, by calling 1-800-745-3000 and at the Dick’s Sporting Goods Box Office at CONSOL Energy Center.
Mullen’s squad, which will be wearing blue jerseys, includes North Bay Battalion (Ontario Hockey League) forward Blake Clarke, the No. 14-overall skater eligible for the 2014 NHL Draft by independent scouting service Red Line Report. Also suiting up for Team Mullen is forward Ryan MacInnis – the son of NHL Hall of Fame defenseman Al MacInnis.
Johnson’s group, which will be led by defenseman Jack Glover of the United States National Team Development Program Under-18 team, Red Line Report’s No. 15-overall prospect, will don white jerseys. One of Team Johnson’s goaltenders will be Boston College netminder Thatcher Demko, whose team will be participating in the Three Rivers Classic college hockey tournament at CONSOL Energy Center in late December.
Complete team rosters for the Top Prospects Game can be found by clicking here.
Additional interesting Top Prospects Game tidbits include:
*A total of 27 players competing in the Top Prospects Game are on the NHL Central Scouting Futures List released in July. Players on the list are expected to be drafted in the first three rounds of the 2014 NHL Entry Draft in Philadelphia (June 27-28).
*Twenty-three players are verbally committed to NCAA programs, while five others have yet to select a school. Demko is the only active NCAA player participating in the game.
*Thirty-three players have developmental roots in the USHL. As the top junior league in the United States, the USHL prepares players for NCAA Division I hockey as well as careers in the NHL.
*Besides MacInnis, three other players have ties to former NHL players/coaches:
Nolan Stevens – Son of John Stevens (NHL Player/Coach)
Nick Schmaltz – Brother of Jordan Schmaltz (1st round pick of St. Louis in 2012)
Ryan Mantha – Nephew of Moe Mantha (NHL Player/U.S. NTDP and Pro Coach)
*Demko and defenseman Tony DeAngelo will both be attending the U.S. National Junior Evaluation Camp in Lake Placid, N.Y. later this year in hopes of making the 2014 World Junior Championship squad that will be looking to earn its second-straight gold medal.
Last year’s inaugural Top Prospects Game was played in Buffalo, with Team McClanahan prevailing, 5-2, over Team Housley.
Seth Jones, who was drafted by the Nashville Predators with the sixth-overall selection in the 2013 NHL Draft, was among 38 players who participated. Forward Ryan Fitzgerald, the son of Penguins assistant to the general manager Tom Fitzgerald and a 2013 fourth-round draft pick by the Boston Bruins, was named the game’s MVP after collecting three assists.