A pair of former Esmark Stars players were selected by the North American Hockey League (NAHL) to participate in the 2021 NAHL Top Prospects Tournament, held in cooperation with the NAHL's Robertson Cup Championship, June 19-20, 2021, at the Fogerty Arena in Blaine, MN.
Defenseman Dustin Geregach and forward Daniel Tkac, both members of the NAHL's Johnstown Tomahawks, were selected to play on Team East at the event.
Geregach, who skated for the Esmark Stars U18 AAA club during the 2019-20 and 2018-19 seasons, was tendered by the Tomahawks following his second season withe Stars.
Tkac, who skated for the Esmark Stars U16 AAA club during the 2016-17 and 2015-16 seasons, also played for the Merritt Centennials of the Junior A BCHL (British Columbian Hockey League) as well as represented Team Slovakia at the 2017-18 World U18 Championships and the 2019-20 World U20 Junior Championships, joined the Tomahawks this season.
The NAHL Top Prospects Tournament is one of the most highly scouted events of its kind in the nation. The event provides 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.
"This has been a very unique and rewarding season. The owners in the NAHL have done everything to keep the players on the ice to compete, develop, and continue a high level of exposure to NCAA scouts and because of that, we have continued to see record-breaking NCAA advancement this season, which is remarkable," said NAHL Commissioner and President Mark Frankenfeld.
"Bringing the Robertson Cup Championship, along with the Top Prospects Tournament together during the same weekend and in the same location will be very important for uncommitted players to get that opportunity to showcase their skills an additional time in pursuit of their NCAA hockey dreams," he added.
The number of players each NAHL team is sending to the tournament, in which teams from the four NAHL divisions: Central, East, Midwest and South is based on each team’s winning percentage from the 2020-21 regular season. Each team is comprised of 22 players (13 forwards, 7 defensemen, 2 goalies).
To date, 337 players have already made an NCAA commitment during the 2020-21 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 opportunity following their participation in the event.
Only those NAHL players without an NCAA commitment are eligible to participate in the NAHL Top Prospects Tournament, with the exception of those who have been identified by NHL Central Scouting as potential prospects for the 2021 NHL Draft.