The North American Hockey League (NAHL) has announced the schedule, coaches, and number of players that will represent each team at the 2023 NAHL Top Prospects Tournament, which will return to the UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex in Cranberry Township, Pennsylvania, and be held from February 6-7, 2023.
The UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex is the practice home to the NHL’s Pittsburgh Penguins and was home to the 2022 NAHL Top Prospects Tournament last season. For more information on the 2023 NAHL Top Prospects Tournament, please visit: http://nahl.com/tpt/
2023 NAHL Top Prospects Tournament Schedule (all times eastern)
Monday, February 6th
1:00pm: South vs. Midwest
4:00pm: East vs. Central
Tuesday, February 7th
11:00am: Central vs. South
2:00pm: Midwest vs. East
The number of players each NAHL team is sending to the tournament, in which four teams from the four NAHL divisions: Central, East, Midwest and South, will each play in two game games, was based on each team’s winning percentage within their group as of January 8, 2023. Only those NAHL players without an NCAA commitment are eligible to participate in the 2023 NAHL Top Prospects Tournament, except for those who have been identified by NHL Central Scouting as prospects for the 2023 NHL Draft. Each team is comprised of 22 players (13 forwards, 7 defensemen, 2 goalies) for a total of 88 players. Rosters for the four teams are expected to be announced on January 19th.
For the Central Division roster, the Austin Bruins send four players, the Aberdeen Wings, Minot Minotauros, and North Iowa Bulls will each send three, and the St. Cloud Norsemen and Bismarck Bobcats will each send two. The head coach of the Central team will be Steve Howard from the Austin Bruins and the assistant coach will be Scott Langer from the Aberdeen Wings.
For the East Division roster, the Maryland Black Bears will send four players, the New Jersey Titans and Northeast Generals will each send three, the Maine Nordiques, Johnstown Tomahawks, and Philadelphia Rebels will each send two, and the Danbury Jr. Hat Tricks will send one. The head coach of the East team will be Clint Mylymok from the Maryland Black Bears and the assistant coach will be Craig Doremus from the New Jersey Titans.
In the Midwest Division, the Minnesota Wilderness will send four players, the Fairbanks Ice Dogs and Kenai River Brown Bears will each send three, the Janesville Jets, Wisconsin Windigo, and Chippewa Steel will each send two, and the Anchorage Wolverines and Springfield Jr. Blues will each send one. The head coach of the Midwest team will be Brett Skinner from the Minnesota Wilderness and the assistant coach will be Dave Allison from the Fairbanks Ice Dogs.
In the South Division, the Lone Star Brahmas will send four players, the Oklahoma Warriors and Shreveport Mudbugs will each send three, the New Mexico Ice Wolves, Amarillo Wranglers, and Odessa Jackalopes will each send two, and the El Paso Rhinos and Corpus Christi IceRays will each send one. The head coach of the South Division team will be Dan Wildfong of the Lone Star Brahmas and the assistant coach will be Garrett Roth from the Oklahoma Warriors.
The NAHL Top Prospects Tournament is one of the most highly-scouted events in junior hockey. Last season, over 200 scouts attended the event, which featured almost every NHL team and NCAA Division I school. It continues to be an important part of the NAHL event model, which includes the NAHL Showcase in September and the NAHL Robertson Cup National Championship in May.
One of the things the NAHL does better than any other junior league is seeing their players earn an NCAA opportunity while playing and being showcased in the NAHL. To date, 168 players have already made NCAA commitments during the 2022-23 season. The NAHL Top Prospects Tournament plays a big role in that success, with over half of the players who played in last year’s Top Prospects Tournament, earning an NCAA Division I opportunity following their participation in the event. 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.