The United States Hockey League announced that Sioux City Musketeers head coach Jay Varady (Cahokia, IL) and Chicago Steel head coach Dan Muse (Canton, MA) will be the head coaches for Team West and Team East, respectively, at the 2017 USHL/NHL Top Prospects Game.
Varady is in his fourth season as head coach of the Sioux City Musketeers and will be coaching his second USHL/NHL Top Prospects Game following his gold medal with USA Hockey at the World Junior A Challenge. Prior to coaching, Varady played in the USHL with the Dubuque Fighting Saints (1995-96). He went on to play college hockey at Union College where he also began his coaching career as an assistant. Through 25 games this season, Varady has led the Musketeers to a 17-6-2-0 record as they currently sit atop the Western Conference. Sioux City also ranks first in the USHL in team defense, allowing only 2.00 goals per game. Varady will be joining Sioux City players Eeli Tolvanen and Matt Hellickson in Sioux Falls.
Muse is in his second season as head coach of the Chicago Steel and will be coaching his first USHL/NHL Top Prospects Game. Prior to coaching the Steel, Muse was an assistant coach at Yale University for six seasons. Muse has led Chicago to a 18-5-1-2 record through 26 games, currently best in the USHL. The Steel ranked second in both team offense, scoring 3.35 goals per game, and team defense, allowing just 2.12 goals per game. Chicago also ranks top-five in both power play (16.0% - 5th in USHL) and penalty kill (91.7% - 2nd in the USHL). Muse will be joining Chicago players Brannon McManus and Walker Duehr in Sioux Falls.
In addition to announcing the head coaches for the game, the USHL announced the assistant coaches, support staff, officials and media staff for the USHL/NHL Top Prospects Game. Des Moines Buccaneers head coach Dave Allison (Fort Frances, ON) and Omaha Lancers head coach Brian Kaufman (Shoreview, MN) will serve as assistant coaches for Team West. Dubuque Fighting Saints head coach Jason Lammers (Pittsburgh, PA) and Youngstown Phantoms head coach Brad Patterson (Cranbrook, BC) will serve as assistant coaches for Team East. Kaufman and Lammers both have previously coached at the USHL/NHL Top Prospects Game.
Rob Frost of the Sioux City Musketeers, Shane Jensen of the Sioux Falls Stampede, Corey Courtney of the Lincoln Stars and Joseph Albert of the Sioux Falls Stampede were named as the support staff for the game. Officials for the game include Tony Aronson (Cambrdige, MN), Sean MacFarlane (Spokane, WA), Kyle Richetelle (Hamden, CT) and Jonathon Sitarski (St. Clair Shores, MI). Media coverage for the event will include Jim Olander of the Sioux Falls Stampede, Matthew McGreevy of the Lincoln Stars and David Fine of the Tri-City Storm. Brandon Anderson of the Lincoln Stars was named photographer for the USHL during the game.
2017 marks the fifth time, and third consecutive year, that the USHL will be hosting the USHL/NHL Top Prospects Game. The 2017 NHL Draft will be held June 23-24 in Chicago, IL, home of the USHL headquarters, at the United Center, home of the Chicago Blackhawks. The NCAA Division I Men’s Ice Hockey Championship will also be held at the United Center two months prior, featuring many USHL alumni and NHL prospects.
Headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, the USHL celebrates its 15th season as the nation's only Tier I junior hockey league in 2016-17. 30 or more players from the USHL have been selected in four consecutive NHL Drafts, and more than 400 players on team rosters last season committed to NCAA Division I schools, further establishing the USHL as the world’s foremost producer of junior hockey talent.
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