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July 03, 2014 14:28 ET

Niagara IceDogs to Host 2015 BMO CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - July 3, 2014) - The Canadian Hockey League, in association with the Ontario Hockey League, BMO Financial Group, and the Niagara IceDogs Hockey Club, today announced that the 2015 BMO CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game will be hosted by the IceDogs on Thursday, January 22, 2015.

The 2015 BMO CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game will mark the 20th annual showcase of the CHL's top-40 NHL draft eligible players featuring talent from the Ontario Hockey League, Western Hockey League, and Quebec Major Junior Hockey League competing before hundreds of NHL scouts in attendance.

"The Canadian Hockey League is excited to bring the 2015 BMO CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game to the Niagara region, showcasing the league's next wave of star NHL talent," said CHL President David Branch. "Our appreciation is extended to the IceDogs and the City of St. Catharines for all of their efforts towards a beautiful new facility opening this coming season, and to BMO for their event title partnership for the second straight season along with more than 15 straight years of supporting the CHL."

St. Catharines will be the 14th different host city since 1996. This will be the 11th time the game will have been played in Ontario. Past hosts include Toronto (1996-98, 2000, 2011), Calgary (1999, 2001, 2014), Saskatoon (2002), Kitchener (2003), London (2004), Vancouver (2005), Ottawa (2006), Quebec City (2007), Edmonton (2008), Oshawa (2009), Windsor (2010), Kelowna (2012), and Halifax (2013).

"The entire Niagara IceDogs organization could not be more thrilled to have the opportunity to host the BMO CHL/NHL Top Prospects game," said IceDogs Governor Bill Burke. "We look forward to welcoming the players, the CHL, NHL and all of the fans to the Niagara region and our new facility."

Since relocating to the Niagara region in 2007, the IceDogs have been represented in the Top Prospects Game by six players and have developed an impressive five first round picks, including Brendan Perlini who was selected 12th overall by the Arizona Coyotes at the 2014 NHL Draft. Past first round picks from the IceDogs also include Ryan Strome (New York Islanders 2011), Dougie Hamilton (Boston Bruins 2011), Mark Visentin (Phoenix Coyotes 2010), and Alex Pietrangelo (St. Louis Blues 2008). Aaron Haydon, who was selected by the Dallas Stars in the sixth round of the 2014 NHL Draft, also competed in the 2014 Top Prospects game in Calgary alongside Perlini as members of Team Orr, who emerged with a 4-3 victory over Team Cherry. Additionally, Geoff Peters of the Niagara Falls Thunder played in the inaugural contest as a member of Team Orr before being selected in the second round of the 1996 NHL Entry Draft by the Chicago Blackhawks.

"As the Official Bank of the CHL, BMO celebrates the up-and-coming talent and the communities that keep the spirit of the game alive," said Shawn Namvar, Regional Vice President of Niagara Region, BMO Bank of Montreal. "The BMO CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game gives hockey fans and our customers a chance to see the very best from across the country and we're looking forward to teaming up with the Niagara IceDogs and the City of St. Catharines to welcome fans from across Canada this January."

Since the Top Prospects game was introduced in 1996 it has featured 12 players who were selected as first overall picks in the NHL Draft: Chris Phillips, Joe Thornton, Vincent Lecavalier, Rick Nash, Marc-Andre Fleury, Patrick Kane, Steven Stamkos, John Tavares, Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Nathan MacKinnon, and, most recently, Aaron Ekblad of the Barrie Colts who was selected first overall by the Florida Panthers. Ekblad, who captained Team Orr last season, was the first of 17 CHL players who competed in the 2014 BMO CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game to be selected in the first round of the 2014 NHL Draft. Team Cherry captain, Sam Reinhart of the Kootenay Ice, was selected second overall by the Buffalo Sabres.

The 2015 BMO CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game will be broadcast nationally by Sportsnet and TVA Sports. Associate partners for the event include SUBWAY.

For more information about the event please visit

BMO and the Canadian Hockey League

BMO Financial Group and the Canadian Hockey League announced BMO as the Official Bank of the Canadian Hockey League in 2011. The four-year agreement also designates BMO as the Official Bank of each of the CHL's member hockey leagues: the Ontario Hockey League, the Western Hockey League, and the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. The sponsorship builds on BMO's partnership with the CHL of more than 10 years and affirms BMO's exclusivity as a financial services sponsor of the league in the retail banking category. It also engrains a presence with the 48 teams who currently participate in the BMO CHL Affinity MasterCard program, which enables CHL fans to support their favourite teams through a co-branded BMO/CHL credit card.

About BMO Financial Group

For more than 195 years, BMO Financial Group has believed in community reinvestment and corporate and social responsibility in the communities it serves. In 2013, BMO contributed more than $56 million in community donations to charitable, not-for-profit and community based institutions and organizations that help build and sustain resilient, vital and healthy communities.

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