For the first time ever the Rangers play host to what has become a tradition in Junior hockey. Rangers to have previously played in the top prospects game include: Derek Roy, Steve Eminger, Wes Jarvis, and Vratislav Cech. This year's game will feature the Rangers top scorer after the team's first 5 games: Micheal Richards, who in just over one season has shown tremendous promise after being taken 4th overall in the 2001 OHL entry draft. The January 22nd game will be the second big event that the newly rennovated: Memorial Auditorium will be hosting this season, after the Rangers host the OHL leg of the All-Star game.
Kitchener To Host Top Prospects Game
Kitchener, ON: The Canadian Hockey League and the National Hockey League announced today that the 2003 Canadian Hockey League Home Hardware Top Prospects Game will be played on Wednesday, January 22 at Kitchenerís Memorial Auditorium Complex. The game will showcase 40 of the CHLís top players that are eligible for selection in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft that will be held in Nashville on June 21 and 22.
"We are excited about bringing the CHL Home Hardware Top Prospects Game to Kitchener," stated CHL President David Branch in making the announcement. "The City of Kitchener and the Kitchener Ranges have a long and proud tradition of hosting national events and the recent renovations to the Memorial Auditorium will make it an outstanding site for the game."
"In 1996 we entered into a partnership with the National Hockey League for the first ever Top Prospects Game," added Branch. "As we move toward the eighth edition of this showcase of talent, the CHL thanks the NHL for its ongoing support." "In addition the CHL is proud to have the support of Home Hardware, one of Canadaís corporate leaders, as the title sponsor of the CHL Home Hardware Top Prospects Game for the fourth year in a row."
"In the early stages of the season the class of prospects eligible for the 2003 NHL Entry Draft looks very promising. Because of this, the city of Kitchener will be hosting what I expect will be a very exciting game," said NHL Director of Central Scouting Frank Bonello. The National Hockey Leagueís 30 teams will select the forty players that will participate in CHL Home Hardware. The announcement of the players will be made in early January.
Home Hardware is the title partner of the CHL Home Hardware Top Prospects Game for the fourth consecutive year. "On behalf of more than 1,000 independently owned Dealers here in Ontario and across Canada, Home Hardware takes great pride in presenting this exciting hockey event to Kitchener fans and CHL fans who will be watching the live national telecast on Sportsnet", said Bruce Shuh, Marketing Director, Home Hardware. "Founded in 1964 by approximately 120 independent hardware dealers, Home has grown include more than 1,000 locations in communities across Canada where the great frozen game is played".
The 2003 CHL Home Hardware Top Prospects Game will mark the second consecutive year that a CHL member team has hosted the game. "We felt very fortunate to be considered as a host site for the 2003 Prospects Game. When the opportunity arose to bring this event to Kitchener it was an easy decision. This event will provide our fans the unique and rare opportunity to see the top 40 NHL prospects from the OHL, QMJHL and the WHL visit our community and face off against each other in a highly competitive environment. I know that both the Kitchener Rangers and the City of Kitchener look forward to hosting the many visitors that will attend this game this year" stated Steve Bienkowski, Chief Operating Officer and Governor of the Kitchener Rangers. The Saskatoon Blades hosted the 2002 Top Prospects Game.
Dodge continues its long support of the CHL by returning as a national sponsor of the 2003 Top Prospects Game. Dodge, the "Official Automobile" of the Canadian Hockey League, has been part of the Top Prospects Game since its inception in 1996.
Bauer Nike is a long supplier of equipment and supporter of the Canadian Hockey League. As in all CHL games, the players in the Top Prospects Game will be outfitted in helmets, gloves and sweaters provided by Bauer Nike.
Molson Breweries and Tim Hortonís will once again be a part of the CHL Home Hardware Top Prospects Game. Molson Breweries and Tim Hortonís will continue their tradition of support for the CHL through their participation in the 2003 Top Prospects Game.
The 2003 CHL Home Hardware Top Prospects Game will start at 7:00 p.m. on January 22, 2003. The game will be telecast live across Canada on Rogers Sportsnet