The Canadian Hockey League today announced that hockey icon Don Cherry will return behind the bench for the 2013 Home Hardware CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game on January 16 in Halifax, Nova Scotia, to coach against Stanley Cup Champion and former NHL player Mike McPhee.
Team Cherry will be led by Halifax Mooseheads star forward Nathan MacKinnon who will captain a group that will also include fellow Mooseheads forward Jonathan Drouin and defenceman Darnell Nurse of the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds who will serve as Team Cherry Alternate Captains. McPhee will serve behind the bench for Team Orr who will be captained by Portland Winterhawks defenceman Seth Jones, with forwards Sean Monahan of the Ottawa 67’s and Hunter Shinkaruk of the Medicine Hat Tigers serving as Alternates. The rest of the 20-man rosters will be announced at a later date.
“Don is one of the original builders of this game and the Canadian Hockey League is honoured to have him and Stanley Cup winner Mike McPhee as coaches of this prestigious event,” said CHL President David Branch. “Since 1996 the Home Hardware CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game has been one of the highlights of the CHL calendar and we are excited to showcase 40 of the league’s top prospects eligible for the 2013 NHL Draft in Halifax where they will compete before hundreds of scouts in attendance and live on Sportsnet and TVA Sports for CHL fans across the country.”
The 2013 Home Hardware CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game marks the 14th year of involvement for Cherry who has coached head-to-head against Bobby Orr 11 different times including six-straight meetings when the event began in 1996 at Maple Leaf Gardens. Cherry has picked up five victories in this event including a win over coaching opponent John Davidson in 2005, and most recently in 2010 in Windsor with a 4-2 win against Orr. He last participated in 2011 at Air Canada Centre in Toronto falling 7-1 to Team Orr led by Coaches Doug Gilmour and Wendel Clark. To recognize their contributions as builders of this event, the CHL presented the Don Cherry and Bobby Orr Home Hardware CHL/NHL Top Prospects Trophy in 2006 for the first time to the winning team. Engraved on the award are the names of every player to ever participate in the event.
McPhee was born and raised in Nova Scotia and played in 744 career NHL games including eight full seasons with the Montreal Canadiens followed by a season with the Minnesota North Stars, then the Dallas Stars in 1993-94. He recorded 399 points in his NHL career after being selected by the Canadiens in the 1980 NHL Entry Draft, winning a Stanley Cup with the club in 1986. His professional career started in Halifax playing two seasons with the AHL’s Nova Scotia Voyageurs from 1982-84. McPhee joins a long list of NHL alumni and celebrity coaches who have participated in this event including Cherry, Orr, Gilmour, Clark, Davidson, Kelly Hrudey, Tiger Williams, Scotty Bowman, Pat Burns, Jacques Demers, Michel Bergeron, Grant Fuhr, Glenn Anderson, Lanny MacDonald, Mike Vernon, Pat Quinn, and Mark Recchi.
MacKinnon, a 17-year-old from Dartmouth, NS, was the top QMJHL skater listed by NHL Central Scouting in their Preliminary Rankings for the 2013 NHL Draft. He is tied for second in league scoring with 43 points in 25 games and claimed Player of the Game honours in the SUBWAY Super Series with a four-point game against Russia in the QMJHL’s 5-2 win in Val-d’Or. Drouin, a 17-year-old from Ste-Agathe, Quebec, has 40 points in 19 games with the Mooseheads and is the second ranked QMJHL skater for the 2013 NHL Draft. Nurse, a 17-year-old from Hamilton, ON, represents the OHL’s second ranked skater and top ranked defenceman who has 17 points in 26 games for the Greyhounds this season.
Jones, an 18-year-old from Plano, Texas, is the top ranked WHL skater for the 2013 NHL Draft and currently leads all WHL rookie defencemen in scoring with 17 points in 24 games. Last year he captained Team USA to Gold at the 2012 IIHF World Under-18 Championship. Monahan, an 18-year-old from Brampton, ON, is the top ranked OHL skater for the NHL Draft and is tenth in league scoring with 36 points in 24 games. The Tigers’ Shinkaruk, an 18-year-old from Calgary, AB, is ninth in WHL scoring with 35 points in 24 games and is the second ranked WHL skater behind Jones.
The 2013 Home Hardware CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game will mark the 18th 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. Since the event was first introduced in 1996 the game has featured 10 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, and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.
For more information including how to purchase tickets please visit www.homehardwaretopprospects.ca.