Jim Johannson, Assistant Executive Director of Hockey operations for USA Hockey, answers questions after the organization announced Pittsburgh will host the second annual CCM/USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game at the Consol Energy Center on Sept. 26.
By Shelly Anderson Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Penguins CEO David Morehouse remembers going to the annual Dapper Dan Roundball Classic and watching the nation's future basketball stars.
"I went to all of them when I was a kid growing up," Morehouse said Tuesday. "I saw Moses Malone play there ... Gene Banks and some others."
The Roundball Classic is extinct, but Morehouse's Penguins and USA Hockey are bringing the hockey equivalent to Consol Energy Center in the fall. The All-American Prospects Game will be Sept. 26 and will feature at least 40 of the top American prospects for the 2014 draft.
USA Hockey knocked around the idea of such a game for years before finally having the first one in September in Buffalo.
"In the end, it's really about the celebration of the American player," said Jim Johannson, assistant executive director of USA Hockey.
USA Hockey executive director Dave Ogrean promised that the event will showcase "the stars of tomorrow right on the edge of their opportunity to become better known."
The officials from the country's amateur hockey governing body said it helped that four players from this region were part of the American team that won a gold medal at the world junior championships several weeks ago in Sweden and Finland.
The world juniors are another marquee event the Penguins would like to land at some point. It's the same with the NHL All-Star Game.
They staged a college hockey tournament, the Three Rivers Classic, in December that is slated to be an annual event. They had the 2012 NHL draft and played in the 2011 Winter Classic at Heinz Field. And in April the NCAA Frozen Four will be played at Consol Energy Center.
"This has become such a tremendous hockey market," Ogrean said, giving the Penguins credit "for the model that they set for engagement with the community at all levels-- from the youth programs and the Little Penguins all the way up.
"I think this is all part of a cascading strategy that the Penguins and Dave Morehouse have, and it really is setting the bar that we hope more and more cities are going to emulate in terms of their support of and engagement with the amateur hockey community."
The participants for the Prospects Game are expected to be named sometime after the 2013 draft, perhaps in August.
Details such as coaching and ticket information will be announced later.