USA Hockey Magazine

November 2013

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BY HARRY THOMPSON PPORTUNITY K NOCKS O For NHL Scouts And Players, The All-American Prospects Game Is A Chance To See And Be Seen W hen Mark Johnson and Joe Mullen broke into the NHL in the 1980s, opportunities for American players were few and far between. One could even say it took a miracle for a college player to gain more than a passing glance from a pro scout. Back then the city of Pittsburgh was still trying to find its hockey legs, even though the Penguins joined the league in 1967. It took not just one but two superstars to bring the expansion franchise from the brink of bankruptcy to become one of the NHL's model franchises. So it was only fitting that Johnson and Mullen, both with strong ties to the Steel City, would lead hockey's future in what has quickly become one of the premiere showcase events on the NHL scouting calendar. "This game is about celebrating the American player," said Jim Johannson, assistant executive director of Hockey Operations for USA Hockey. "Thank you to the Penguins for allowing us to celebrate here in Pittsburgh." Even though the CCM/USA Hockey All-American Prospect Game is still in its infancy, and still has a ways to go to capture the interest of the casual hockey fan, for the more than 130 NHL scouts closely watching from the stands it is 12 NOVEMBER. 2013 the ultimate opportunity to find the next Johnson or Mullen to fill their rosters. "Anytime you assemble top prospects in one place, not only does it save the time from having to travel around, you also have an opportunity to see them in a very unique setting," said Dan Marr, the director of the NHL's Central Scouting. Not only do scouts love the convenience of seeing so many top prospects on the same ice, the format also creates a melting pot of players from such diverse playing backgrounds as New England prep schools, Minnesota high schools, the United States Hockey League and the Canadian Hockey League. "Our toughest job is projecting them against their peers when the caliber of the different leagues varies," Marr said. "So when you can get the top identified talent all together in one location it just helps tell the story of the player a little better, and it helps in your projection because that's what our business is all about." "THIS GAME IS ABOUT CELEBRATING THE AMERICAN PLAYER." — JIM JOHANNSON, ASSISTANT EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF HOCKEY OPERATIONS FOR USA HOCKEY. From Pittsburgh Penguins CEO David Morehouse, left, to Mark Johnson, Joe Mullen and Jim Johannson, everyone involved with the CCM/USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game, was excited about the opportunity to showcase American players. USAHOCKEYMAGAZINE.COM PHOTOS BY Joe Sargent

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