Junior players gear up for CHL Top Prospects Game
Published Tuesday, January 15, 2013 6:49PM AST
Forty of Canada’s best junior hockey players are in Halifax today, gearing up for Wednesday night’s CHL Top Prospects Game – an important game that could determine which NHL teams draft the future pro players.
“I’m really looking forward to tomorrow night and playing in front of Halifax fans,” says Nathan MacKinnon of the Halifax Mooseheads, who will captain his team at the game.
Hundreds of fans showed up to watch MacKinnon and the other prospects hit the ice for a practice Monday night.
“It just shows the kind of support here in Halifax,” says MacKinnon.
“It’s a great atmosphere to play in and it’s exciting to have the support again. We get to do this a lot and hopefully the other guys can enjoy it as well.”
MacKinnon will play on a line with fellow Moosehead Jonathan Drouin, while teammate Zach Fucale is in nets.
There will be no shortage of storylines when the teams hit the ice tomorrow, but the one fans will most likely be following is the battle for first overall selection at June’s NHL entry draft.
Today, American Seth Jones was ranked the top undrafted North American skater by NHL scouts, while MacKinnon sits in second place.
Jones says he isn’t sure what kind of reception he will get tomorrow.
“Hopefully a good one; might be a bit of an away game for us because they have three of their superstars on the other team, but you know, it’s going to be real exciting,” says Jones. “I heard a lot about the fans and the crowd here so it should be an exciting game.”
Despite the high stakes, Jones doesn’t think it will change the way he or MacKinnon plays the game.
“You obviously hear about the rankings and the mock drafts and stuff like that, but you gotta just play our game,” says Jones.
It’s a similar story for Drouin, who sits in third place.
“It’s for sure a big game. A lot of scouts are here, GMs are here,” says Drouin.
“It’s a game where you can prove that you can be one of the best players so I think it’s going to be a really big game for a lot of people, but I’m just going to focus on playing my game tomorrow.”
The puck drops 8 p.m. Wednesday at the Halifax Metro Centre.
With files from CTV Atlantic's Garreth MacDonald
Nathan MacKinnon of the Halifax Mooseheads is ranked second among North American skaters.