The 2015 NHL draft is already one of the most-anticipated hockey events in years. Fans in Buffalo and Southern Ontario will get two chances to see the players who will be picked.
The Niagara IceDogs, who play in St. Catharines, Ont., will host the CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game on Jan. 22, the Canadian Hockey League announced Thursday. The list of players is expected to include Connor McDavid, the favorite to be selected at the top of the next draft.
“This is an event that all NHL scouts look forward to attending,” NHL Central Scouting Director Dan Marr said on NHL.com. “The game is a unique opportunity to evaluate 40 of the top draft-eligible prospects on a single stage in what has annually become an intense competition.”
This year’s Top Prospects Game featured 17 players taken during the first round of last week’s draft, including No. 1 overall pick Aaron Ekblad and Buffalo’s Sam Reinhart, who went second. The players for the 2015 game will be chosen in December.
Tickets will cost $35, with IceDogs season-ticket holders getting first priority. Individual tickets will be made available in September at www.NiagaraIceDogs.net.
Buffalo will host the USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game in September in First Niagara Center. The event features the top 40 U.S. players eligible for the draft, including McDavid’s rival for the No. 1 spot, Jack Eichel.
Sabres General Manager Tim Murray was looking for a couple of players for the Rochester Americans, and he found one in Tyson Strachan.
The 29-year-old defenseman spent last season in the Washington organization, dressing in 18 games with the Capitals and 60 games for their minor-league affiliate in Hershey. The 6-foot-2, 215-pound defenseman has played 138 games for St. Louis, Florida and Washington, recording one goal, 15 points and 155 penalty minutes. Carolina drafted the Ohio State product in the fifth round of the 2003 draft.
Strachan provides experience for the Sabres’ organization, which features young blue-liners Rasmus Ristolainen, Mark Pysyk, Chad Ruhwedel and Jake McCabe.
Strachan’s two-way deal, according to TSN, is for one year with an NHL salary of $650,000 and American Hockey League pay of $275,000. Strachan had a two-way contract with Washington last season that paid $550,000 and $225,000.
The dog-loving defenseman is the founder of Strachan Strays, which promotes pet adoption.
The Sabres will hold their seventh annual golf tournament Sept. 16 at Wanakah Country Club. Each foursome will golf with a player, former player or broadcast personality. Lunch will be provided, along with a clam bake and open bar following the round. Cost is $3,000 for a foursome, with proceeds benefiting the Sabres’ foundation. Contact Teresa Belbas at 855-4588 or visit Sabres.com/golf.
Sabres forward Patrick Kaleta and his HITS Foundation will host two benefit rounds. The first, a mixed couples event, will tee off July 12 at Concord Crest Golf Course. Golf, lunch and dinner are included for $75. The second tournament, which costs $800 for a foursome and includes lunch and dinner, will be held Aug. 18 at Brierwood Country Club. For information or to register, visits HITSFoundation.net.