NA3HL Top Prospects coaches, team breakdown announced
January 23, 2015
The North American 3 Hockey League (NA3HL) has announced the number of players that will represent each team at next month’s NA3HL Top Prospects Tournament, presented by Easton, which will be held from February 23-24, 2015 at the Ann Arbor Ice Cube in Ann Arbor, Michigan, along with the teams’ coaches. 120 total players from the NA3HL will be spread amongst six teams, who will play in two games each during the event. The event will feature teams that represent the five divisions in the NA3HL: Central, East, Frontier, South and West, along with a new NA3HL 18U Selects Team.
The number of players each NA3HL team can to send to the tournament, in which five teams from the five NA3HL divisions: Central, East, Frontier, South and West is based on each team’s winning percentage within their group as of January 22, 2015. Each team consists of a 20-man roster (12 forwards, 6 defensemen and 2 goalies) as chosen by the NA3HL Competition Committee and the NAHL’s Central Scouting Department and as nominated by the league's 31 head coaches. All junior eligible NA3HL players are eligible to participate in the Top Prospects Tournament.
The NA3HL 18U Selects team will compete as the 6th team in the Tournament. The roster will be comprised some of the best young players in the NA3HL. The final roster will be selected by the League Office in consultation with the NA3HL Competition Committee and the NAHL’s Central Scouting Department. NAHL Coaches will be assigned to coach the 18U Selects.
2015 NA3HL Top Prospects schedule:
Monday, February 23rd: West vs. South, 9am; NA3HL 18U Selects vs. Frontier, 12pm; Central vs. East, 3pm
Tuesday, February 24th: NA3HL 18U Selects vs. South, 11:30am; Central vs. West, 2:30pm; Frontier vs. East, 5:30pm
In the Central Division, the Wisconsin Whalers (.653) will send five players, the West Michigan Wolves (.625) will send four, the La Crosse Freeze (.614), Peoria Mustangs (.571) and Chicago Jr. Bulldogs (.486) will send three players each and the St. Louis Jr. Blues (.329) will send two. The head coach of the Central Division team will be Tom McDermott from the Wisconsin Whalers and the assistant coach will be Marc Fakler from the West Michigan Wolves.
In the East Division, the Pittsburgh Vengeance (.708) will send five players, the Toledo Cherokee (.657) will send four, the Metro Jets (.643), Southern Tier Xpress (.588) and Cleveland Jr. Lumberjacks (.443) will send three players each and the Cincinnati Swords (.171) will send two. The head coach of the East Division team will be Dave Dorsey from the Pittsburgh Vengeance and the assistant coach will be Kenny Miller from the Toledo Cherokee.
In the Frontier Division, the Great Falls Americans (.838) will send five players, the Helena Bighorns (.721) will send four, the Gillette Wild (.681) and Billings Bulls (.571) will each send three and the Yellowstone Quake (.300), Bozeman Icedogs (.271) and Glacier Nationals (.236) will send two each. The head coach of the Frontier Division team will be Jeff Heimel from the Great Falls Americans and the assistant coach will be Jon Jonasson from the Helena Bighorns.
In the South Division, the Nashville Jr. Predators (.891) will send five players, the Topeka Capitals (.708) will send four, the Texas Jr. Brahmas (.568), Point Mallard Ducks (.547) and Dallas Jr. Stars (.318) will send three players each and the Sugar Land Imperials (.234) will send two. The head coach of the South Division team will be Karlis Zirnis from the Nashville Jr. Predators and the assistant coach will be Anthony Bohn from the Topeka Capitals.
In the West Division, the North Iowa Bulls (.814) will send five players, the Granite City Lumberjacks (.809) will send four players to the event, the Alexandria Blizzard (.636), Twin City Steel (.526) and Breezy Point North Stars (.257) will send three players each and the Minnesota Flying Aces (.167) will send two. The head coach of the West Division team will be Todd Sanden from the North Iowa Bulls and the assistant coach will be Jeff Crouse from the Alexandria Blizzard (Brad Willner from the Granite City Lumberjacks will be unable to attend).
The Head Coaches of each Top Prospect team will make final roster decisions after considering the player nominations submitted by individual teams. Top Prospects Head Coaches will finalize their rosters by 5:00pm Central Time on Monday, January 26th. Top Prospects rosters for all teams are expected to be announced on Friday, January 30th on na3hl.com.
The NA3HL Top Prospects Tournament is played in conjunction with the North American Hockey League's (NAHL) Top Prospects Tournament, along with the North American Prospects Hockey League's (NAPHL) Top Prospects Tournament. The event has quickly become one of the most highly-scouted events of its kind, with hundreds of junior, NCAA and NHL expected in attendance this season. Combined with the NAHL and NAPHL Top Prospects Tournaments, it will make for an exciting week of hockey and provides a great opportunity for every scout and coach to get a close look the talent in the three leagues.