There are a number of significant tournaments that are a prime opportunity for scouts to view the top talent available heading into the NHL Draft.
There's the World Under-18 Championship and the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge, to name a couple. And while those are all well-attended, Dan Marr - who is the Director of NHL Central Scouting - said the USHL Fall Classic taking place right now at the UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex in Cranberry has attracted over 250 scouts and recruiters, which is the most personnel he has ever seen at an event like this.
"This event here, when you factor in all the NCAA (personnel), that there are a number of Canadian Hockey League teams here along with the National Hockey League scouts, I don't know that there are this many eyes on prospects as there are in any other event in the world," Marr said.
"It's something that it's on the scouting map now," he continued. "It's on the scouting cycle. And the fact that anytime you can get all these teams in one place, you're going to draw an NHL crowd. I don't know there's this many eyes on players at any other event in the world."
The Penguins and community leaders here in Pittsburgh aggressively pursued the return of the USHL after hosting the 2016 Fall Classic East and the 2015 Pittsburgh Showcase. It's the first time that all 17 organizations who compete in the USHL are taking to the ice in one location. To see it grow like it has is rewarding for Rich Hixon, President of the UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex.
"We started this event a few years back and have seen it grow from just a few teams now to all 17 teams of the USHL," Hixon said. "So from that standpoint, we wanted to grow along with the event. I think it's been good for us as a facility to showcase what we have here."