The Esmark Stars AAA U18, U16 and U15 teams will be in Blaine, MN, Sept. 21 - 24, 2017, to kick-off the ninth season of NAPHL (North American Prospects Hockey League) action.
The NAPHL again will be a feature attraction at the 15th annual NAHL Showcase and opening event of the 2017-18 season, held at the Schwan Super Rink in Blaine, MN.
This one-of-a-kind league event attracts over 10,000 people in overall attendance, including more than 300 junior, NCAA and NHL scouts.
“We were excited to get the season started and even more excited to see the crop of new players that will be playing in the NAPHL this season," said NAPHL Director Tony Zasowski. "With NAHL Central Scouting in full force in Blaine, we will provide enhanced and additional exposure for all of the NAPHL players looking to make an impression on the various scouts and levels."
For the 2017-18 season, each NAPHL 18U team will play 18 regular season games, each NAPHL 16U team will play in 17 regular season games, and each NAPHL 15U team will play nine regular season games.
"The NAPHL has proved over the years that the league is a great stepping-stone for development and training for young hockey players looking to gain experience and knowledge while working their way up to the National level," Zasowski added.
In total, 46 NAPHL players signed tenders with NAHL teams throughout the course of the 2016-17 season.
"What’s more impressive is that no other midget league had more players sign NAHL tenders than the NAPHL," Zasowski continued.
"In addition, 10 players with NAPHL ties were selected in the NAHL Draft ... and in total, 56 former NAPHL players now have their rights protected by an NAHL for the 2017-18 season. In fact, during the past two years, 120 NAPHL players have signed an NAHL tender or been drafted into the NAHL, a remarkable total."
Overall, 50 teams competed at the Tier I 18U Midget Major, 16U and 15U Midget Minor levels from the North American Prospects Hockey League (NAPHL). For the sixth straight season, eight teams from the Upper Midwest High School Elite League (UMHSEL) will be participating at the Showcase. In addition, the Tier I High Performance Hockey League (HPHL) is going to have all of their 18U Midget Major and 16U Midget Minor teams competing at the event including some crossover games against the NAPHL.