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Toronto, ON – The Canadian Hockey League in association with BMO Financial group, and the Western Hockey League’s Vancouver Giants Hockey Club, today announced that Canadian hockey icons Don Cherry and Bobby Orr will serve as coaches in the 2016 BMO CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game in Vancouver, BC.

Taking place on Thursday January 28, 2016, the 2016 BMO CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game is the 21st annual showcase of the CHL’s top-40 NHL Draft eligible players featuring talent from across the WHL, the Ontario Hockey League, and the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, competing before hundreds of NHL scouts in attendance.

“The BMO CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game has evolved into a truly prestigious annual event for all of our players and fans thanks to the support of Don Cherry and Bobby Orr who have helped build this showcase since it first started in 1996,” said CHL President David Branch. “The CHL is honoured that Don and Bobby are returning behind the bench in January for what will be a very special experience for the 40 players competing on the ice, and for hockey fans in Vancouver and across the entire CHL.”

This season will mark the 13th meeting and second straight in the historic coaching rivalry between Cherry and Orr that began with a 9-3 Team Cherry victory at Maple Leaf Gardens in 1996.  Team Orr emerged with a 6-0 win last season in St. Catharines, ON, while Team Cherry won the previous head-to-head matchup by a 4-2 score in Windsor, ON, back in 2010.  Orr holds an 8-4 all-time winning record against Cherry in their previous 12 games.  Cherry has participated in this event on three other occasions without Orr including 2005 in Vancouver when he was victorious over coaching opponent John Davidson, followed by 2011 in Toronto falling to Team Orr led by Doug Gilmour and Wendel Clark, and in 2013 in Halifax, NS, in a defeat against Team Orr led by Mike McPhee.  Since 2006, the winning team has been presented with the Don Cherry and Bobby Orr CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game Trophy engraved with the names of every player to ever participate in this prestigious event. 

“The Vancouver Giants are honoured to have Bobby and Don make the trip out to Vancouver to make this event as good as it gets,” said Giants majority owner Ron Toigo. “To have these hockey icons here for the BMO Top Prospects game, junior hockey’s best on best, and having the proceeds going towards the Pat Quinn Legacy and Scholarship funds will make this a truly special event you won’t want to miss.” 

Cherry, a native of Kingston, ON, has been the star of Hockey Night in Canada’s Coach’s Corner for more than 25 years.  He coached in the NHL with the Boston Bruins and Colorado Rockies from 1974 to 1980 coaching Orr in his first season behind the Bruins bench and part of the 1975-76 season where he won the Jack Adams Trophy as the NHL’s Coach of the Year.  In 480 games as a NHL coach he has a won-lost-tied record of 250-153-77.  Cherry played his major junior hockey with the Windsor Spitfires in 1951-52 before competing as a member of the Barrie Flyers’ 1953 Memorial Cup winning team. 

Orr, a native of Parry Sound, ON, was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1979 after playing 12 seasons in the NHL with the Boston Bruins and the Chicago Blackhawks recording 915 points on 270 goals and 645 assists.  A winner of two Stanley Cup Championships with the Bruins, Orr also captured two NHL scoring titles and was selected winner of the Hart Trophy as the NHL’s most valuable player three times and won a record eight-straight James Norris Trophy awards presented annually to the NHL’s top defenceman.  In 1999 Orr was selected to the MasterCard All-time CHL team and in 2008 had his number 2 jersey retired by the Oshawa Generals where he played from 1962-66.

Since the event was first introduced in 1996 the game has featured 13 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, Aaron Ekblad, and most recently Connor McDavid of the Erie Otters selected first overall by the Edmonton Oilers.  McDavid, who captained Team Orr last season, was the first of 13 CHL players who competed in the 2015 BMO CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game to be selected in the first round of the 2015 NHL Draft.