USA Hockey Magazine

November 2012

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BY JUSTIN FELISKO Future WATCH O Stars Of Tomorrow Shine Bright In Buffalo ver the span of 48 hours, Evan Cowley found himself der from the North American Hockey League stood wide-eyed as he met Sabres head coach Lindy Ruff and the NHL's all- time winningest coach Scotty Bowman during a welcome reception for the inaugural CCM/ USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game. looked around the Buffalo Sabres' Harbour Club and realized that his peers were 40 of the top draft-eligible American players. The Wichita Falls goalten- more than one occasion. It started when he speechless on Cowley and the 37 other American draft- eligible prospects that took the ice. With seven months remaining until many of these players will hear their names called at the 2013 NHL Entry Draft in Newark, N.J., this night offered these talented Americans an opportunity to show what the future could possibly hold for themselves and the NHL clubs that take a chance on them. "Obviously [during] your draft year you're going to have a couple of eyes on you every time you're out there playing, watching your every move," said Seth Jones, who could potentially become the sev- enth American to be selected as the No. 1 overall pick. The haze of disbelief continued as Cowley made his way through the concourse at the First Niagara Center and looked out at the immaculate ice surface adorned with the event logo reflecting back at him. "It was a real good experience for all of the guys to get out there and showcase their talent and show [scouts] what they can do and why they have a chance to get drafted." And that's why more than 150 professional Jimmy Lodge from Downington, Pa., was one of the top 38 American prospects who excited the crowd in Buffalo. 14 In less than 24 hours Cowley would be play- ing for U.S. Olympic hero Rob McClanahan in front of more fans than ever in his lifetime inside an NHL arena. "I can't describe it. There aren't words," said the Evergreen, Colo., native. "It's kind of unreal. It's an unbelievable honor. Anytime you get to play in a pro arena you have to step back and admire everyone that has played there." Cowley, a last-minute replacement player, stopped 15 of 17 shots and teamed with fellow goaltender Cal Petersen (7 saves) to help Team McClanahan defeat Team Housley, 5-2, in the inaugural CCM/USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game in front of 5,519 fans. Yet, unlike most hockey games, the final score was not the story of this late September night. This was a game of opportunity for NOVEMBER.2012 USAHOCKEYMAGAZINE.COM and collegiate scouts were on hand to get another look at those players who the NHL's Central Scouting Service have identified as players who could be the stars of tomorrow. "It's exciting to be able to put [38] of the top prospects onto the ice going into their NHL draft year and certainly their seasons looking ahead, not only this year but in the future with USA Hockey and our international teams," said USA Hockey Assistant Executive Director of Hockey Operations Jim Johannson. In hosting the event, Buffalo added to its impressive pedigree as a preeminent hockey city in the United States. Over the years the city has rolled out the red carpet for numerous USA Hockey youth national championships in addition to hosting the 2011 IIHF Under-20 World Junior Championship. "We have stated many times we want to PHOTOS BY Steve DeMeo

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