The North American Hockey League (NAHL) has announced the number of players that will represent each team at next month’s Top Prospects Tournament, which will be held from Feb. 20-22 at the Ice Cube in Ann Arbor, Mich., along with the teams’ coaches.
The number of players each NAHL team can to send to the tournament, in which four teams - Team Central, Team North, Team South and Team West - will play a three-game round robin, is based on each team’s winning percentage within their division as of Jan. 17.
In the Central Division, the Bismarck Bobcats (.652) and Coulee Region Chill (.629) will send four players each; the Owatonna Express (.622) and Alexandria Blizzard (.545) will send three each; and the Aberdeen Wings (.386) and Austin Bruins (.379) will send two.
In the North Division, the St. Louis Bandits (.750) and Janesville Jets (.653) will send four players each; the Motor City Metal Jackets (.632), Traverse City North Stars (.621), Michigan Warriors (.621) and Springfield Jr. Blues (.500) will send three each; and the Chicago Hitmen (.286) and Port Huron Fighting Falcons (.076) will send two.
In the South Division, the Topeka RoadRunners (.743) and Texas Tornado (.729) will send four players each; the Amarillo Bulls (.712) and Wichita Falls Wildcats (.514) will send three each; and the Corpus Christi IceRays (.432) and New Mexico Mustangs (.300) will send two.
In the West Division, the Fairbanks Ice Dogs (.676) and Alaska Avalanche (.607) will send four players each; the Wenatchee Wild (.605) and Kenai River Brown Bears (.527) will send three each; and the Fresno Monsters (.417) and Dawson Creek Rage (.359) will send two.
With the two highest winning percentages in the NAHL after the games of Jan. 17, both the Bandits and RoadRunners are allowed to send one additional player to the event.
The head coach of the team with the highest winning percentage in each division as of Jan. 17 will serve as the head coach of the Top Prospects team representing that division. The head coach with the second-highest winning percentage will serve as the team’s assistant coach.
Bobcats head coach Layne Sedevie will serve as the head coach for Team Central, with Chill head coach Garrett Strot serving as the assistant coach; RoadRunners head coach Scott Langer will lead Team South, with Tornado head coach Tony Curtale assisting; Ice Dogs head coach Josh Hauge will be the head coach of Team West, with Alaska head coach Brian Huebel assisting; and Bandits head coach Jeff Brown will serve as the head coach of Team North, with Jets head coach Dane Litke serving as the assistant coach.
All NAHL players are eligible to participate, regardless if they’re committed or un-committed to a Division I school or participated in the NAHL’s first Top Prospects Tournament of the season, which was held from Dec. 5-7 in Walpole, Mass.
Each team will consist of a 20-man roster, with minor player crossover amongst the four teams.
The rosters, which will be chosen by the NAHL Top Prospects Tournament Selection Committee, will be announced on Monday, Jan. 24.
In conjunction with the Top Prospects Tournament, all North American Prospects Hockey League (NAPHL) teams - Midget Major, Midget Minor and Bantam Major - will compete in the Championship Tournament Series for the right to be crowned league champions. That event will run from Feb. 18-21 at the Troy Sports Center in Troy, Mich., with the three division championship games being played at the Ice Cube.
The North American 3 Hockey League (NA3HL) will also have representation at the Top Prospects Tournament, as two NA3HL all-star teams will compete against each other at the event. The NA3HL will also extend invitations to other USA Hockey-sanctioned Tier III Junior A leagues to participate with all-stars teams.
For more information on the NAHL Top Prospects Tournament, visit NAHLTopProspects.com.