NA3HL Top Prospects coaches, team breakdown announced
January 21, 2016
The North American 3 Hockey League (NA3HL) has announced the number of players that will represent each team at next month’s 2016 NA3HL Top Prospects Tournament, presented by Easton, which will be held from February 15-17, 2016 at the USA Hockey Arena in Plymouth, Michigan, along with the teams’ coaches.
160 total players from the NA3HL will be spread amongst eight teams (six divisional, two 18U Select teams), who will play in three games each during the event. The event will feature teams that represent the six divisions in the NA3HL: Central, East, Frontier, Midwest, South and West, along with two NA3HL 18U Select Teams.
The number of players each NA3HL team can to send to the tournament, in which six teams from the five NA3HL divisions: Central, East, Frontier, Midwest, South and West is based on each team’s winning percentage within their group as of January 19, 2016. 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 34 head coaches. All junior eligible NA3HL players are eligible to participate in the Top Prospects Tournament.
Two separate NA3HL 18U Selects teams will compete as the seventh and eighth teams in the event. The rosters will be comprised some of the best young players in the NA3HL. The final rosters will be selected by the League Office in consultation with the NA3HL Competition Committee and the NAHL’s Central Scouting Department.
In the Central Division, the North Iowa Bulls (.952) will send five players, the La Crosse Freeze (.742) will send four, the Wisconsin Whalers (.645), Rochester Ice Hawks (.306), and Chicago Jr. Bulldogs (.059) will each send three and the Glacier Nationals (.097), who are the 7th place team in the Frontier Division, will send two players to play on the Central team. The head coach of the Central Division team will be Todd Sanden from the North Iowa Bulls and the assistant coach will be Ryan Egan from the La Crosse Freeze
In the East Division, the Metro Jets (.871) will send five players, the Toledo Cherokee (.645) will send four, the Wooster Oilers (.581), West Michigan Wolves (.517) and Pittsburgh Vengeance (.484) will send three players each and the Southern Tier Xpress (.274) will send two. The head coach of the East Division team will be Justin Quenneville from the Metro Jets and the assistant coach will be Kenny Miller from the Toledo Cherokee.
In the Frontier Division, the Great Falls Americans (.765) will send five players, the Yellowstone Quake (.717) will send four, the Bozeman Icedogs (.688), Helena Bighorns (.645) and Gillette Wild (.500) will each send three and the Billings Bulls (.226) will send two. The head coach of the Frontier Division team will be Jeff Heimel from the Great Falls Americans and the assistant coach will be Ryan Theros from the Yellowstone Quake.
In the Midwest Division, the St. Louis Jr. Blues (.843) will send five players, the Peoria Mustangs (.682) will send four, the Nashville Jr. Predators (.682), Cincinnati Thunder (.318) and Evansville Thunderbolts (.031) will send three apiece. To roundout the Midwest Team, the North Iowa Bulls will send one player and the St. Louis Jr. Blues will send an additional player. The head coach of the Midwest Division team will be Chris Flaugher from the St. Louis Jr. Blues and the assistant coach will be Tyler Rennette from the Peoria Mustangs.
In the South Division, the Texas Jr. Brahmas (.813) will send five players, the Atlanta Capitals (.783) will send four players, the Point Mallard Ducks (.727), Sugar Land Imperials (.403) and Euless Jr. Stars (.274) will send three players each and the Louisiana Drillers (.208) will send two. The head coach of the South Division team will be Al Rooney from the Texas Jr. Brahmas and the assistant coach will be Anthony Bohn from the Atlanta Capitals.
In the West Division, the Granite City Lumberjacks (.703) will send five players, the Twin City Steel (.613) will send four players, the Breezy Point North Stars (.578), Alexandria Blizzard (.452) and Minnesota Flying Aces (.300) will each send three players. An additional player to round out the team will come from the Metro Jets and the Texas Jr. Brahmas. The head coach of the West Division team will be Brad Willner from the Granite City Lumberjacks and the assistant coach will be Jay Witta from the Twin City Steel.
2016 NA3HL Top Prospects schedule (all times Eastern):
Monday, February 15th
9:30am: East vs. West
12:30pm: Central vs. Midwest
3:30pm: 18U Selects Black vs. South
6:30pm: 18U Selects Red vs. Frontier
Tuesday, February 16th
9:30am: 18U Selects Black vs. Midwest
12:30pm: West vs. Frontier
3:30pm: 18U Selects Red vs. South
6:30pm: East vs. Central
Wednesday, February 17th
9:30am: Frontier vs. South
10:30am: West vs. Central
12:30pm: 18U Selects Red vs. 18U Selects Black
1:30pm: Midwest vs. East
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 Thursday, January 21st. Top Prospects rosters for all teams are expected to be announced the week from January 25th.
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) Championship. 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 Top Prospect Tournament and the NAPHL Championship, 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.