The Buffalo Sabres and KeyBank Center have been selected to host the sixth annual CCM/USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game, it was announced today by USA Hockey. The game will take place on Thursday, Sept. 21, with opening faceoff set for 7:30 p.m. ET.
The CCM/USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game includes two teams made up of the top American-born prospects eligible for the 2018 NHL Entry Draft. This is the fourth time the event will take place in Buffalo, which was the site of the 2012, 2014 and 2015 games.
“We're excited to be bringing this game back to Buffalo," said Mike Bertsch, assistant executive director of events, marketing and communications for USA Hockey. "It will be the fourth time the game has been played in Buffalo, but this year is unique in the sense that some of the players fans will see could very well be playing in the World Juniors just a few months later in Buffalo."
"Since debuting in Buffalo in 2012, this game has grown into a highly-regarded showcase event that gives American-born prospects a significant opportunity to kick off their draft year in front of team personnel from around the NHL,” said Russ Brandon, president of the Buffalo Sabres. “The Buffalo Sabres organization is committed to the development of hockey in the United States, and this event furthers that objective by creating more exposure for American prospects during their draft year. It will make a great addition to a busy and exciting 2017-2018 season in Buffalo.”
To date, 102 alumni of the CCM/USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game have been drafted into the NHL, highlighted by 25 first-round selections. Standouts Jack Eichel (Buffalo Sabres), Noah Hanifin (Carolina Hurricanes), Dylan Larkin (Detroit Red Wings), Seth Jones (Columbus Blue Jackets) and Zach Werenski (Columbus Blue Jackets) are among the current NHL stars that have played in the game previously. In addition, last year's most valuable player, Casey Mittelstadt (Eden Prairie, Minn.) is considered the top American prospect eligible for the 2017 NHL Draft that will take place June 24-25 in Chicago.
"This event is a true American hockey showcase in the way we recognize both the future and the past," said Jim Johannson, assistant executive director of hockey operations for USA Hockey. "These draft-eligible players not only get the chance to show their skills, but they get to do so with some of the great American players of the past behind the bench serving as coaches."
Tickets for the game will go on sale Aug. 16 at 10 a.m. ET at the KeyBank Center box office or online at BuffaloSabres.com.
NOTES: The final rosters for the CCM/USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game will be named in August … USA Hockey will unveil the CCM-designed uniforms for the game as well as the coaches for the game in the weeks ahead … Previous coaches for the CCM/USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game include Phil Housley and Rob McClanahan in 2012; Mark Johnson and Joe Mullen in 2013; Mike Grier and Eddie Olczyk in 2014; Derek Plante and Jeremy Roenick in 2015 and Mark Howe and John LeClair last year ... Previous host sites for the CCM/USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game include Buffalo, New York (2012, 2014, 2015), Pittsburgh (2013) and Philadelphia (2016) … For more information on the CCM/USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game, click here.