NORTH RICHLAND HILLS, TX — Thanks to their position in the standings, the Brahmas are sending the maximum number of players to play for the South Division Top Prospects team. Austin Kamer, Carson Kelley, Hunter Stanley, Troy York, and John Zimmerman will be playing for Team South.
In addition to those five, the Brahmas are also sending forward Justin Addamo and defenseman Simon Loof to the NAHL Selects team. The Selects team is comprised of NAHL players who are on NHL’s Central Scouting List or otherwise receiving interest from NHL organizations.
“You can’t teach the stuff that he possesses in his game. Very elite. He’s got NHL teams obviously looking at him and that’s why he’s in that game,” Brahmas Head Coach Dan Wildfong said.
Loof had been absent from the Brahmas lineup since the January 20th game against Wichita Falls. He suffered an upper body injury during that game, and the Brahmas didn’t see the need to rush Loof back, especially with their sizable lead on the rest of the division.
The Brahmas are a deep enough team to have held their own during the month and change that Loof has been out, but he was certainly missed. For his part, Loof was delighted to be back.
“I like hockey. I don’t like to just watch hockey, not when I can be out there. I just want to be on the ice,” he said.
In his return to the lineup, Loof didn’t take long to shake off the rust, registering a primary assist on the Brahmas’ only tally of the game and three shots on goal.
In 38 games played to this point, Loof now has two goals and 21 assists and trails only Zimmerman in points by a defenseman on the Brahmas. He’s also a vital cog in the Brahmas’ power play — in the games Loof has played, he was on the ice for an astounding 58% of power play goals scored by the Brahmas.
His skating ability and speed on the back end are also tremendous assets for the team.
“He’s probably the best skating defenseman in the league bar none, offensive defenseman bar none,” Wildfong said. “He can really make some nice plays with the puck and he’s just really high-end offense and we needed that extra goal and we’ve definitely missed him.”
With a game under his belt before going to Michigan, Loof is looking forward to the tournament. “I’m glad to be back and obviously I’m happy that I can make it to Top Prospects and I’m happy I’ll have a game in my legs before heading up [to Michigan],” he said.
He’s hoping he’ll get to share the ice with Brahmas teammate Justin Addamo, who will be playing with Loof on the NAHL Selects squad. “I think we’re going to have a lot of fun,” Loof said.
For all that Loof is planning to enjoy the experience, he’s well aware that the tournament is serious business, too.
“I think since there are a lot of NHL scouts up there, they wanted me to be there on the team and I want to show them what I can do. Just play as good as I can and use my skating,” Loof said. “And I’m excited to play in front of the Merrimack coaches and show them what they can expect from me in the future.”
Watch Loof and the rest of the NAHL Selects team will play on February 27 and 28. Both games will be streamed live on Hockey TV.