This season for the first time ever, all 17 USHL teams will participate in the showcase, which serves as both a preseason for the teams and an opportunity for the players to be scouted by NHL teams and colleges.
“The USHL Fall Classic always provides the ideal scouting opportunity for the management and scouts of the 31 NHL teams to view the top USHL talent available for the NHL Draft,” Director of NHL Central Scouting Dan Marr said in a press release. “This year provides an even more unique opportunity with all 17 USHL teams participating in one location. The Fall Classic serves as an important evaluation benchmark for players heading into the 2018 NHL Draft, and we are pleased that this successful event is part of a growing partnership between the USHL, NHL and Pittsburgh Penguins.”
The partnership with the Penguins and the brand-new facility, which opened in 2015, has impressed many in the global hockey community. That’s why the National Women’s Hockey League, USA Hockey and the USHL have all held events at the facility in the last year.
“The Pittsburgh Penguins are excited and honored to have the USHL Fall Classic return to Cranberry and the UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex for the second straight year,” Penguins president and CEO David Morehouse said. “We are strong supporters of hockey development at all levels and are continually impressed with the job the USHL does to create opportunities for these outstanding young players. We look forward to hosting them once again in late September.”
Additionally, the USHL and Penguins will host under-16 and under-14 tournaments at the same time, providing younger players the same opportunity to get scouted as the older, junior players.
“Pittsburgh is a thriving hockey market on many levels and the Penguins and community leaders aggressively pursued the return of the nation’s only Tier 1 junior league,” USHL President and Commissioner Bob Fallen said. “The Penguins have won back-to-back Stanley Cup championships with more NCAA players on their roster than any other NHL team. The USHL produces more NCAA Division 1 talent than any league in the world, and this will be a great opportunity for fans and scouts to see future NCAA and NHL talent, all under one roof.”
Six local players are currently on USHL rosters: Bridgeville’s Jordan Timmons and Liam Walsh (Cedar Rapids), Erie’s Jake Kucharski (Des Moines), Butler’s Paul Maust (Green Bay), Moon’s Brendan Walkom (Madison) and Greensburg’s Dalton Hunter (Youngstown).