(ISN) – Toronto, ON – The Canadian Hockey League in association with the Western Hockey League, and the Vancouver Giants Hockey Club, today announced that the 2016 CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game will be hosted by the Giants at Pacific Coliseum on Thursday January 28, 2016.
The 2016 event will mark the 21st annual showcase of the CHL’s top-40 NHL draft eligible players featuring talent from the Western Hockey League, Ontario Hockey League, and Quebec Major Junior Hockey League competing before hundreds of NHL scouts in attendance.
“On behalf of the Canadian Hockey League, we are very pleased to return to Vancouver for the 2016 CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game,” said CHL President David Branch. “Since 1996 the CHL’s top prospects have had the opportunity to showcase their skills in this event before hundreds of NHL scouts and General Managers. In that time nearly 50% of all first round NHL Draft picks have competed in this event which truly features the next wave of NHL talent.”
Next season will mark the eighth time the game will be hosted by the WHL and second time the game will be played in Vancouver following the 2005 event. 13 other Canadian cities have hosted including Toronto (1996-98, 2000, 2011), Calgary (1999, 2001, 2014), Saskatoon (2002), Kitchener (2003), London (2004), Ottawa (2006), Quebec City (2007), Edmonton (2008), Oshawa (2009), Windsor (2010), Kelowna (2012), Halifax (2013), and St. Catharines (2015).
Since joining the league in 2001, the Giants have had nine players compete in the event with four of them chosen in the first round of the NHL Draft the same season. That list includes Mark Fistric (Dallas Stars 2004), Gilbert Brule (Columbus Blue Jackets 2005), Jonathan Blum (Nashville Predators 2007), and Evander Kane (Atlanta Thrashers 2009). Brule remains the only player in event history to record a hat-trick and also added an assist on home ice in 2005 where he was named Player of the Game captaining Team Cherry to an 8-4 victory over Team Davidson.
Since the event was first introduced in 1996 the game has featured 12 players that were selected with the first overall pick in the NHL Draft including Chris Phillips, Joe Thornton, Vincent Lecavalier, Rick Nash, Marc-Andre Fleury, Patrick Kane, Steven Stamkos, John Tavares, Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Nathan MacKinnon, and most recently Aaron Ekblad of the Barrie Colts selected first overall by the Florida Panthers. Ekblad, who captained Team Orr last season, was the first of 17 CHL players who competed in the 2014 CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game to be selected in the first round of the 2014 NHL Draft with Team Cherry captain Sam Reinhart of the Kootenay Ice selected second overall by the Buffalo Sabres.
This season, 32 of the top-60 ranked North American skaters eligible for the 2015 NHL Draft competed on January 22 in St. Catharines. Top ranked Connor McDavid of the Erie Otters captained Team Orr to a 6-0 victory over Team Cherry that featured fellow Otter and fifth ranked skater Dylan Strome, and seventh ranked skater Mitchell Marner of the London Knights.
The 2016 CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game is proudly supported by associate sponsors SUBWAY, Cooper Tires, autoTRADER.ca, and Sherwin Williams. The game will be broadcast live across Canada on Sportsnet and TVA Sports.