The North American Hockey League (NAHL) has announced a new location and date for the 2019 NAHL Top Prospects Tournament, which will be held from February 18-19, 2019 at the New England Sports Village in Attleboro, Massachusetts. The New England Sports Village is home to the NAHL and NA3HL's Northeast Generals.
"We are excited about hosting the NAHL Top Prospects Tournament out East and showcasing our league and players to and wide variety of scouts and fans. This is an exciting new step for the NAHL and another great example of our owners investing in our product. With the large number of NCAA teams and scouts in the region, it will be a nice addition to the great exposure we already get as a league and likely help us add to the record number of NCAA commitments," said NAHL Commissioner and President Mark Frankenfeld. "The NAHL Top Prospects Tournament is the most unique event we host, because its sole purpose is to provide those players that are still uncommitted a great opportunity to play in front of hundreds of NCAA and NHL scouts for a chance to make a great impression and earn an NCAA commitment or get drafted into the NHL."
The NAHL Top Prospects Tournament is one of the most highly scouted events of its kind. Last season, over 230 scouts attended the event, which featured almost every NHL team and NCAA Division I school. The event continues to provide the hundreds of NHL and NCAA scouts in attendance with a look at the best uncommitted players the NAHL has to offer, as well as, some potential NHL Draft picks. It continues to be an important part of the NAHL event model, which is inclusive of the NAHL Showcase in September and the NAHL Robertson Cup National Championship in May.
The NAHL enters the 2018-19 season riding an all-time high as USA Hockey's only Tier II-sanctioned junior hockey league. For the fifth year in a row, the NAHL set a new NCAA commitment record, this time finishing with 331 total NCAA commitments during the 2017-18 season, which includes a record total of 229 NCAA Division I commitments. Over half of the record-breaking NCAA commitments last season came following the NAHL Top Prospects Tournament.
The commitment record is part of an ongoing and rising development path that has seen 1,345 NAHL players make NCAA commitments during the last five years. In addition, 25% of freshmen that played NCAA Division I hockey this past season were alumni of the NAHL. It once again re-emphasizes that no other junior league in the world saw as many NCAA commitments for their players, while they were actually playing in the league.
"The fact that over half our NCAA commitments came after our Top Prospects event is a testament to the model. Scouts now have an established roadmap to track a player's development, which includes assessments throughout the season and then making a determination based on his progression," continued Frankenfeld.
During the 2019 NAHL Top Prospects Tournament, 102 total players from the NAHL will be spread amongst six teams, who will play in two games each during the event. The event will feature teams that represent the four divisions in the NAHL: Central, East, Midwest and South, along with two NAHL Selects teams. Only those NAHL players without an NCAA commitment are eligible to participate in the 2019 NAHL Top Prospects Tournament, with the exception of those who will be playing on the NAHL Selects teams. Each of the teams will consist of a 17-man roster Each team will play two games at the event.