AMARILLO, TX – The Amarillo Bulls, proud members of the North American Hockey League, received some great news this week when it was announced that Head Coach Dennis Williams will lead the South Division at the NAHL Top Prospects Tournament Presented By Combat Hockey next month. The event will take place from February 20-23 at the Troy Sports Center in Troy, Michigan.
Along with Williams as Head Coach, the Amarillo Bulls (.838 winning percentage) will also send five players. The Topeka RoadRunners (.684) and Texas Tornado (.675) will each send four, the Corpus Christi IceRays (.528), Odessa Jackalopes (.414) and Wichita Falls Wildcats (.355) will each send three, and the New Mexico Mustangs (.351) will send two.
The rosters for each team will be announced this Tuesday morning. Williams will have Topeka RoadRunners Head Coach Scott Langer assisting him during the tournament. All NAHL players are eligible to participate in the Top Prospects Tournament, regardless if they’ve committed to an NCAA school. Each of the teams will consist of a 20-man roster (12 forwards, 6 defensemen, 2 goaltenders), with minor player divisional crossover amongst the six teams.
The Bulls, who had the weekend off, currently have the best record in the North American Hockey League with a mark of 30-3-7 for 67 points. The Bismarck Bobcats are second just four points back, followed by the Janesville Jets, Port Huron Fighting Falcons and Alaska Avalanche all tied for third.
In the South Division, the Bulls have an 11-point lead over the second place Texas Tornado and 13-point advantage over the third place Topeka RoadRunners.
The number of players each NAHL team can to send to the tournament, in which five teams from each division: Central, Midwest, North, South, West and a special sixth NAHL 18U Selects team, will each play three games, is based on each team’s winning percentage within their division as of January 16, 2012.
In the Central Division, the Bismarck Bobcats (.847) will send five players, the Alexandria Blizzard (.676) will send four, the Austin Bruins (.611) and Aberdeen Wings (.554) will each send three and the Minot Minotauros (.135) will send two. The head coach of the Central team will be Layne Sedevie from the Bismarck Bobcats and the assistant will be Doc Del Castillo from the Alexandria Blizzard.
In the Midwest Division, the Janesville Jets (.770) will send five players, the St. Louis Bandits (.694) will send four, the Springfield Jr. Blues (.432) and Coulee Region Chill (.388) will each send three and the Chicago Hitmen (.222) will send two. The head coach of the Midwest team will be Dane Litke from the Janesville Jets and the assistant will be Jeff Brown from the St. Louis Bandits.
In the North Division, the Port Huron Fighting Falcons (.688) will send five players, the Kalamazoo Jr. K-Wings (.629) will send four, the Traverse City North Stars (.578) and Michigan Warriors (.474) will each send three and the Jamestown Ironmen (.417) will send two. The head coach of the North team will be Bill Warren from the Port Huron Fighting Falcons and the assistant will be Marc Fakler from the Kalamazoo Jr. K-Wings.
In the West Division, the Fairbanks Ice Dogs (.681) will send five players, the Alaska Avalanche (.663) will send four, the Wenatchee Wild (.647), Kenai River Brown Bears (.578) and Fresno Monsters (.556) will each send three and the Dawson Creek Rage (.237) will send two. The head coach of the West team will be Trevor Stewartfrom the Fairbanks Ice Dogs and the assistant will be Corey Millen from the Alaska Avalanche.
The Amarillo Bulls return to action next weekend with a trio of games, including two at the Budweiser Bull Pen in the Amarillo Civic Center. On Friday, Jan. 27 the Bulls travel to Odessa to face the Jackalopes at 7 pm at Ector County Coliseum. After that the Bulls will host the West Division Fresno Monsters on Saturday, Jan. 28 at 7 pm and then close out the weekend on Sunday, Jan. 29 with a game against the Odessa Jackalopes at 6 pm.
Sunday’s game is the second annual Sonic Sunday and all fans will be admitted free to the contest but they must have tickets. In order to get tickets fans must either visit the Bulls Office at 301 South Polk during regular business hours or the Civic Center Box Office.