USA Hockey will for the first time showcase its top NHL draft-eligible players in what its calling an All-American Prospects Game to be played in Buffalo.
The game will be played on Sept. 29, and feature the top 40 American-born prospects, USA Hockey executive director Dave Ogrean announced Monday. USA Hockey in collaboration with NHL Central Scouting will determine which players to invite from the Canadian junior, U.S. college and high school ranks.
"It's a concept we've been talking about for a couple of years and we're excited to bring it to life in partnership with the Buffalo Sabres," said Dave Ogrean, executive director of USA Hockey, in a press release. "The talent level on the First Niagara Center ice on Sept. 29 will be exceptional. We view this game as an opportunity to gain additional exposure for hockey and help influence growth of the sport through showcasing the future stars of the game."
The event will be similar to the Canadian Hockey League top prospects game annually held in January or February since 1992.
"We're extremely pleased to have this inaugural event come to Buffalo," Sabres president Ted Black said. "We've had a tremendous working relationship with USA Hockey and I know our fans will embrace All-American Prospects Game."
Buffalo and the NHL's Sabres were chosen to host the game because of the success USA Hockey's had in holding events in the city, including the World Junior Hockey Championships last year. USA Hockey is expected to announce the players selected to compete in the game in either June or July.
"Players will come from junior hockey and college hockey, as well as the high school and prep school ranks," said Jim Johannson, assistant executive director of hockey operations for USA Hockey, according to the release. "We'll be in contact with NHL Central Scouting as we build the final list of players invited to compete in this inaugural event."
According to USA Hockey.com, 17 of the first 40 Americans selected in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft came from the United States Hockey League; seven of which were from U.S. high/prep schools, six played U.S. college hockey. Players born between Jan. 1, 1993 and Sept. 14, 1995 will be eligible to be selected in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft.