Vancouver Giants forward Tyler Benson will captain Team Cherry.
Toronto, ON – The Canadian Hockey League in association with BMO Financial Group today announced the captains and alternate captains for the 2016 BMO CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game to be played on Thursday January 28 in Vancouver, BC, hosted by the Western Hockey League’s Vancouver Giants.
The Giants’ Tyler Benson and Matthew Tkachuk of the London Knights have both been named captains for the 21st annual showcase of the CHL’s top-40 NHL Draft eligible players. Benson will lead Team Cherry along with alternate captains Jakob Chychrun of the Sarnia Sting, and Julien Gauthier of the Val-d’Or Foreurs. Tkachuk will lead Team Orr with alternates Jake Bean of the Calgary Hitmen, and Pierre-Luc Dubois of the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles.
Benson, a 17-year-old from Edmonton, AB, is also a captain for the host Giants playing in just his second full season after being the first overall pick in the 2013 WHL Bantam Draft. The forward has 26 points in 28 games so far this season including eight goals and 18 assists. Another former top pick, Chychrun was chosen by the Sting first overall in the 2014 OHL Priority Selection. The 17-year-old defenceman from Boca Raton, Florida, has five goals and 19 assists for 24 points in 36 games. Gauthier, an 18-year-old from Pointe-aux-Trembles, QC, was a member of Canada’s National Junior Team. The forward has 37 points in 30 games playing in his third season with the Foreurs and is tied for third in the QMJHL with 29 goals.
Tkachuk, an 18-year-old from St. Louis, Missouri, is currently tied for third in OHL scoring with 61 points including 15 goals and 46 assists in 30 games so far this season. The Knights’ first-year forward captured bronze with the U.S. National Junior Team at the 2016 IIHF World Junior Championship. Bean currently ranks third in WHL scoring among defencemen with 15 goals and 24 assists for 39 points in 42 games. The 17-year-old from Calgary, AB, is playing in his second season as a member of his hometown Hitmen. Dubois ranks eighth in QMJHL scoring with 61 points in 41 games netting 26 goals and 35 assists. The 17-year-old is from Ste-Agathe-des-Monts, QC, and was a fifth overall pick of the Screaming Eagles in the 2014 QMJHL Entry Draft.
Benson and Tkachuk follow in the footsteps of past Giants and Knights to serve as captains in this event, most notably in 2009 when Evander Kane led Team Cherry and John Tavares captained Team Orr in Oshawa. Former Giant Gilbert Brule also captained Team Cherry in 2005 when the event was last held in Vancouver. Past Knights to serve as captains include Sam Gagner in 2007 for a team coached by Pat Burns and Michel Bergeron, and Rick Nash who captained a team coached by Kelly Hrudey in 2002.
Since 2010, Team Cherry captains have included Anthony Beauvillier, Sam Reinhart, Nathan MacKinnon, Ryan Murray, Sean Couturier, and Taylor Hall, while recent Team Orr captains include Connor McDavid, Aaron Ekblad, Seth Jones, Colton Sissons, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, and Tyler Seguin.