With 40 of the top junior players from the Canadian Hockey League arriving in this bustling National Hockey League city in wintery western Canada, there is a very solid chance this annual all-star game of sorts will capture plenty of attention from Calgary and area sports fans when Team Cherry faces off against Team Orr in the 2014 BMO CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game on Wednesday night.
The QMJHL was the toast of the hockey world at the 2013 NHL Draft. Not only had the league just taken home their third consecutive Memorial Cup win, this time courtesy of the Halifax Mooseheads, but two of that team's top players went first and third in the NHL Draft. Nathan MacKinnon and Jonathan Drouin were joined by four other QMJHL players hearing their name called in the first round, and a total of 31 QMJHL players were chosen in last year's draft.
Forward Anthony Mantha (DET) is the Hockey's Future Prospect of the Month for December. An offensively prolific player since the start of the 2013-14 season, Mantha took his game to another level in December, with 14 points in five QMJHL games and 10 points through the preliminary round of the 2014 World Junior Championship.
After Canada's loss to the Czech Republic in the preliminary round of the 2014 World Junior Championship, head coach Brent Sutter elected to start U20 WJC first-timer Zach Fucale in place of Jake Paterson. The move seemed to make a difference for the Canadians as they won out in the preliminary round to take the top seeding in Group A.
Team Canada will again be competing for a bronze medal at the World Junior Championship, and their opponent will be a familiar one. Russia landed in the battle for bronze by virtue of their 2-1 loss to Sweden, which marks the second straight year that the Russians and Canadians have faced off in the third-place tilt.