The Canadian Hockey League in association with Sherwin-Williams, the Western Hockey League, and the Red Deer Rebels Hockey Club, today announced that the 2019 Sherwin-Williams CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game will be hosted by the Rebels at ENMAX Centrium on Wednesday January 23, 2019.
The 2019 event will mark the CHL’s 24th annual showcase of NHL Draft talent featuring players from across the WHL, as well as the Ontario Hockey League and the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, competing before hundreds of NHL scouts in attendance.
“The Sherwin-Williams CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game is one of the special hockey events circled annually on the calendar because of the unique experience it offers our players, NHL scouts, and CHL fans across the country,” said CHL President David Branch. “As evidenced last week in Guelph, it’s a showcase of our league’s rising stars and the next wave of talent eligible for the NHL Draft. On behalf of the Canadian Hockey League we look forward to bringing this event to the City of Red Deer, the Rebels organization, and to the fans on January 23, 2019.”
While Red Deer is a first time host, the event heads to the province of Alberta for the fifth time in 24 years following games in Calgary (1999, 2001, 2014) and Edmonton (2008). Red Deer will become the 16th different Canadian city to host the event with a list that includes Toronto (1996-98, 2000, 2011), Saskatoon (2002), Kitchener (2003), London (2004), Vancouver (2005, 2016), Ottawa (2006), Quebec City (2007, 2017), Oshawa (2009), Windsor (2010), Kelowna (2012), Halifax (2013), St. Catharines (2015), and Guelph (2018).
“We are thrilled to bring another great CHL event to our season ticket members, sponsors, and fans in Central Alberta,” said Rebels Owner/President/General Manager/Head Coach Brent Sutter. “The Sherwin-Williams CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game brings the best in class for the upcoming NHL Draft to our community, and we know our fans will appreciate the level of hockey that is presented. Combined with the U18 Hlinka Gretzky Cup, Canada Winter Games, and the WHL Bantam Draft and Awards, our region looks to be a hub of hockey over the next year!”
The Rebels have had 24 players compete in this event including 12 who were chosen in the first round of the NHL Draft following event participation. Headlining their list of alumni is Ryan Nugent-Hopkins who earned Player of the Game honours as captain for Team Orr with two assists in a 7-1 win over Team Cherry in 2011 before becoming the first overall pick of the Edmonton Oilers. Other Rebels first round picks include Lance Ward (New Jersey 1996), Jesse Wallin (Detroit 1996), Mike Brown (Florida 1997), Colby Armstrong (Pittsburgh 2001), Jeff Woywitka (Philadelphia 2001), Boyd Gordon (Washington 2002), Dion Phaneuf (Calgary 2003), Brandon Sutter (Carolina 2007), Mathew Dumba (Minnesota 2012), Haydn Fleury (Carolina 2014), and Conner Bleackley (Colorado 2014).
“As the official paint sponsor of the CHL, the CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game is a highlight for Sherwin-Williams,” said Lee Diamond, Executive President and General Manager, Sherwin-Williams. “We are honoured to continue our great partnership with the CHL, and we look forward to cheering on some great talent next year in Red Deer.”
Since the event was first introduced in 1996 the game has featured 14 players that were selected with the first overall pick in the NHL Draft including Chris Phillips (1996), Joe Thornton (1997), Vincent Lecavalier (1998), Rick Nash (2002), Marc-Andre Fleury (2003), Patrick Kane (2007), Steven Stamkos (2008), John Tavares (2009), Taylor Hall (2010), Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (2011), Nathan MacKinnon (2013), Aaron Ekblad (2014), Connor McDavid (2015), and Nico Hischier (2017). This season, 25 of the top-62 ranked North American skaters eligible for the 2018 NHL Draft competed on January 25 in Guelph with Team Cherry emerging victorious over Team Orr by a 7-4 score. Evan Bouchard of the London Knights was named Player of the Game for Team Cherry tying an event record with four assists, while fellow defenceman Kevin Bahl of the Ottawa 67’s received the honour for Team Orr with a goal and assist.