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USHL Showcase Comes To Florida

Sunday September 30, 2007

The bantam age players and staff of USHL Central Scouting pose for a photo following their game in Florida September 27.

On Thursday, September 27, while the current players of the United States Hockey League were unveiling themselves to the masses in the 2007 USHL Fall Classic, the next generation of league hopefuls from "The Sunshine State" was on display in a showcase of their own.  Two age groups of the best players in east Florida took to the ice at the Pembroke Pines Ice Arena in Pembroke Pines Florida.

Players born in the 1991-94 age range took part in the event, put together by Tim Kyrkostas, a member of the USHL Central Scouting branch.

"Tim has been in Florida for a while and he's got a pretty good gauge on the pulse of hockey in Florida.  He's been telling me that the number of quality players in the state is on the rise, and after watching these games I can assure that the players in Florida are not at all out of place in the hockey world," said USHL Central Scouting Director Bob Turow.  "The future of hockey is bright with this group of skaters and is only going to get brighter in the years to come."

The evening got underway with a seminar, followed by a question and answer session for the participants and their parents.  

"The seminars, no matter the venue or the age group that we are evaluating, are of utmost importance," said Turow.  "We use that time to talk about education and the importance of putting school at the top of the priority list.  Then we touch on the USHL, where the league is headed and how these players could one day be a part of it.  Then we touch on how players go about getting themselves opportunities to play at the NCAA and NHL levels.  We focus on the hockey part, but we spend more time talking about the importance of education."

The first game was for the U-14 age group, one which Turow said featured "highly skilled.  They were quick, creative and could handle the puck.  This age group is in good hands with this crew."

One player that stood out, in particular, was Angelo Cangelosi.  Cangelosi, with his speed and hockey sense, was a threat every time he stepped on the ice.  He was told later if a player of the game had been named, it would have been him hands down.  "He stole the show," Turow said.

In the second game featured players in the U-16 through U-18 classes.  The players are obviously bigger and stronger than those in the first group, and they too put on an entertaining display of skills.  

"I took in both of these games myself.  I sat in a corner where nobody would bother me and just took in the action," Turow said.  "I can remember going to the USA Hockey festivals ten years ago and all of the top players came from north of the Mason-Dixon line.  That isn't the case anymore.  There will be many more trips in the future for my scouts and myself and we continue to realize that hockey is growing in non-traditional markets and we have to be there to find these kids."

The event was a success, and it appears that future events like this are in the works, expanding to make participation possible for players from all across Florida.

"Sean O'Brian, the head of USA Hockey Player Development in Florida was impressed with the event, not just the games, but everything across the board," Turow said.  "He wants to be a little more hands-on next year and see if we can't have an even bigger showcase and get more players on the ice to see where Floridians stack up against one another.

"This is something that you will continue to see pop up in the future.  We need to be everywhere, watching as many kids as possible to make sure that we are getting the best possible players in the USHL and advancing to the NCAA and the NHL."

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