Vancouver Giants set to host 2023 CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game

David Goyette, of the Sudbury Wolves, steers the puck away from his team red goaltender Ivan Zhigalov, of the Sherbrooke Phoenix, as Vinzenz Rohrer, of the Ottawa 67’s, forechecks during the 2022 Kubota CHL/NHL Top Prospects game in Kitchener, Ontario on Wednesday, March 23, 2022. (Geoff Robins/CP)

The Canadian Hockey League announced on Wednesday that the 2023 Kubota CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game will be hosted by the Vancouver Giants at the Langley Events Centre on January 25, 2023.

The annual game features the top NHL draft eligible talent from the Ontario Hockey League, Western Hockey League, and Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. The 2023 showcase marks the 27th time the event has been held — and the third time it has taken place in the Lower Mainland of B.C.

“We are excited to see the 2023 Kubota CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game return to Metro Vancouver,” said Dan MacKenzie, president of the Canadian Hockey League.

“Always an anticipated event on our calendar, the Kubota CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game showcases the stars of tomorrow, while the coming NHL Draft class promises to be a strong showing for our league, headlined by a hometown hero and fan favourite in Connor Bedard of the Regina Pats.”

Connor Bedard, a North Vancouver native, is anticipated to go first overall at the 2023 NHL Draft. With the Regina Pats of the WHL last season, Bedard collected an astounding 100 points (51 goals, 49 assists) in 62 appearances. At the 2022 World Junior Championship this summer, the 17-year-old collected eight points in seven games, winning gold playing for Team Canada.

Since 1996, the top prospects game has featured 15 players that eventually went first overall in their draft class: Alex Lafrenière (2020), Nico Hischier (2017), Connor McDavid (2015), Aaron Ekblad (2014), Nathan McKinnon (2013), Ryan Nugent- Hopkins (2011), Taylor Hall (2010), John Tavares (2009), Steven Stamkos (2008), Patrick Kane (2007), Marc-André Fleury (2003), Rick Nash (2002), Vincent Lecavalier (1998), Joe Thornton (1997) and Chris Phillips (1996).

Thirty-eight players that took part in last year’s showcase in Kitchener, Ont., were selected at the 2022 NHL Draft this past summer.

“The Vancouver Giants are very excited to host one of our nation’s premier hockey events and showcase the elite prospects of junior hockey in our state-of-the-art facility at the Langley Events Centre,” said Vancouver Giants senior vice-president Dale Saip.

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