AMARILLO, TX – The Amarillo Bulls will be well represented at the North American Hockey League’s Top Prospects Event scheduled for next month in Attleboro, Ma.
Not only will the Bulls be sending Head Coach Rocky Russo and four players, but the team also learned today (Wednesday) that Denis J. Puska has been chosen as one of the broadcasters for the Top Prospects joining the voice of the Corpus Christi Icerays Rob Sanderson.
Sanderson and Puska were selected to do the play-by-play for the event by the rest of their NAHL broadcasting peers, who participated in a league-wide vote. In addition, special NAHL correspondent and reporter Kirsten Krull will also be at the event assisting in the broadcasting duties with interviews, rink-side analysis, and special features.
“We have an experienced team of broadcasters that will be all be attending and working the NAHL Top Prospects Tournament for the first time. With a new location and venue, I think everyone is very excited to put on a great broadcast for the fans that will be informative, entertaining, insightful, and showcase some of the best uncommitted players the NAHL has to offer, in addition to dozens of NHL prospects,” said Alex Kyrias, NAHL Director of Communications.
This is Puska’s first trip to the Top Prospects event in nine years with the organization. The Kapuskasing, Ontario Canada native has called over 700 hockey games in the Texas Panhandle dating back to the minor pro days with the Amarillo Rattlers and Gorillas. In 2003 Puska was a member of the CHL All-Star Broadcast team in Albuquerque, New Mexico and in that same season was chosen as broadcaster of the year.
“I’m honored to attend such a prestigious event that showcases the NAHL,” said Puska “I’m looking forward to representing the Amarillo Bulls, our ownership group, as well as, my fellow broadcasters and the South Division.”
The NAHL Top Prospects Tournament is one of the most highly-scouted events in junior hockey. Last season, over 220 scouts attended the event, which featured almost every NHL team and NCAA Division I school. It continues to be an important part of the NAHL event model, which includes the NAHL Showcase in September and the NAHL Robertson Cup National Championship in May.
Rosters for the 2019 NAHL Top Prospects Tournament will be announced on Friday, February 1st on nahl.com
The NAHL is also pleased to announce the on-ice officials for the event. The head referees are (alphabetical): Bobby Esposito, Anthony Vikhter, and Riley Yerkovich. The Linesmen are (alphabetical): Ricky Faron, Matt Heinen, Pete Jenkin, Joe Johnson, Cam McCambridge, and Aaron McCrary.
“We are excited for this group of officials. They all have worked hard in the first half of the season and worked consistently well to garner this honor of working at the NAHL Top Prospects Tournament. We’ve taken feedback from our teams, as well as, our officiating coaches to select our nine officials, as our partnership with the teams has vastly improved during the 2018-19 campaign,” said NAHL Director of Officiating Keith Kaval. “It’s been a pleasure to work with the NAHL on the development of officials and the talent in the league is outstanding on a nightly basis, especially with the amount of college commitments. We as a officiating department must work diligently to improve our product to match what our coaches and teams do.”
One of the things the NAHL does better than any other junior league is seeing their players earn an NCAA opportunity while playing and being showcased in the NAHL. To date, 165 players have already made NCAA Division I commitments during the 2018-19 season. The NAHL Top Prospects Tournament plays a big role in that success, with over half of the players who played in last year’s Top Prospects Tournament, earning an NCAA Division I opportunity following their participation in the event. The event continues to provide the hundreds of NHL and NCAA scouts in attendance with a look at the best uncommitted players the NAHL has to offer, as well as, some potential NHL Draft picks.
The Amarillo Bulls continue their road swing this Friday and Saturday versus the Odessa Jackalopes at Ector County Coliseum. Fans can tune into the action live on 107.1 Nash Icon, www.amarillobulls.com/listen and on PPV with Hockey TV beginning with the Fit Omni Warm Up Show at 6:45 pm followed by the hard hitting action with Denis J. Puska at 7:11 pm.
Hockey is back at the Budweiser Bull Pen in the Amarillo Civic Center on Friday, Feb 8 and Saturday, Feb. 9 when the Amarillo Bulls host the Lone Star Brahmas at 7 pm. Friday is CanTex Roofing Retro Night, that also includes the Family-Four-Pack and Bring-A-Bud Pack. Saturday is First Responders Night Co-Presented by AMS. Tickets are available at the Bulls Office located at 301 South Polk, Civic Center Box Office and all Panhandle Ticket locations including United Supermarkets or online at www.amarillobulls.com/tickets and www.panhandletickets.com.