NORTH RICHLAND HILLS, TX — ALL FOUR CAPTAINS, the Head Coach, and (clearly the NAHL’s most valuable) Goaltender Arthur Smith have been selected to participate in the NAHL’s 2023 Top Prospects Tournament in Pittsburgh, PA to be broadcast exclusively on HockeyTV on February 6th & 7th! With the strongest record in the NAHL, the Lone Star Brahmas have the distinct honor and privilege to send the most players and personnel to the Top Prospects Tournament, which is the best opportunity of the season for the top scouts from all over the College and Professional hockey landscape to see all of the best players in the NAHL up close in an “all-star showcase” scenario.
Captain Mason Mara, a long-time Brahma Land favorite who early-started his junior hockey career in 2018-19 with the NA3HL Texas Brahmas, quickly earned his stripes and was elevated to the NAHL Brahmas in the 2021-22 season. The Ocoee, FL native forward has been raising the bar and elevating the game-play of the entire team ever since with his tremendous spatial awareness and timely passing in transition. After 32 games this season, Mara averages 0.59 PPG with 9 goals and 10 assists, which includes 3 GWG scores. This is Mara’s first invitation to participate in the Top Prospects Tournament and is currently uncommitted.
Fellow forward and Alternate Captain Johan Rosenquist has posted similarly strong statistics with a 0.58 PPG over the same 32 games, scoring 8 goals, dishing 10 assists, one GWG, and a salty +20 this season. The Naples, FL native aka “Rosie” is in his second season with the Lone Star Brahmas and delivered 3 assists during the 2021-22 Robertson Cup Playoffs. This is Rosenquist’s first invitation to participate in the Top Prospects Tournament and is currently uncommitted.
Defenseman and Alternate Captain Bauer Swift, in his second year with Lone Star, has nearly doubled his points production in 32 games this season, with 13 points and counting this season, by comparison to the 7 points scored during the 30 games he appeared in during 2021-22. Swift played in all 9 of the Brahmas 2021-22 Robertson Cup Playoffs, scoring one GWG in the exciting post-season run. This is Swift’s first invitation to participate in the Top Prospects Tournament and is currently uncommitted.
Fellow Defenseman and Alternate Captain Ryan Prewitt, also in his second year with Lone Star, played all 54 regular season games in 2021-22 and added 9 Robertson Cup Playoffs appearances. Just like his D-man teammate Swift, Prewitt has also found a way to surpass all of last season’s accumulated points within a smaller sample size, the 32 games he has appeared this season. This is Prewitt’s first invitation to participate in the Top Prospects Tournament and is currently uncommitted.
In his second season, Goaltender Arthur Smith has maintained a dominant position in the NAHL Goalie Stats page (in several of the most coveted columns of ranking) for two seasons, wire to wire. Recognized in 2021-22 as the NAHL Goaltender of the Year and the NAHL Rookie of the Year, Arthur Smith has continued on that trajectory this season, earning honors as NAHL Goaltender of Month October 2022, and also was recognized as Bauer Hockey’s NAHL South Division Star of the Week for January 17-23, 2022. The Farmington, CT native, aka “Artie” by his beloved teammates, is leading the NAHL with a 0.946 SV%. Smith, aka “King Arthur” by the Brahma Land faithful, is currently leading the NAHL in the category of GAA (1.14), and has 4 shutouts, 12 wins, allowing the fewest opponent goals of all NAHL goalies, and surrendering a single loss over his 17 appearances thus far in 2022-23. Arthur Smith is committed to play Division 1 Hockey for Princeton, and this is his second consecutive appearance in the Top Prospects Tournaments. Smith is currently ranked #32 among all players on the NHL Central scouting list, and one of only 8 NAHL players with this distinction. Smith is appearing in this tournament at the request of the NHL.
2019-2020 NAHL Coach and General Manager of the Year Dan Wildfong has been at the helm of the Lone Star Brahmas for the past ten seasons. Recognized as NAHL Coach of the Year several times, Wildfong has already amassed over 600 wins for the Brahmas franchise and helped numerous young men earn college scholarships and pro contracts. Also a former player, Dan scored nearly 500 points with the CHL Shreveport Mudbugs and retired as one of the most highly regarded players in Mudbugs franchise history, and delivered four seasons on the Colgate University men’s hockey roster before turning professional. Wildfong will coach the South Division Top Prospects, and the team will wear the color black for the tournament. Wildfong will be assisted by South Division rival Oklahoma Warriors’ Head Coach Garrett Roth.
The North American Hockey League (NAHL) has announced that the 2023 NAHL Top Prospects Tournament will return to the UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex in Cranberry Township, Pennsylvania, and be held from February 6-7, 2023. The UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex is the practice home to the NHL’s Pittsburgh Penguins and was home to the 2022 NAHL Top Prospects Tournament last season.
The NAHL Top Prospects Tournament is one of the most highly scouted events of its kind, featuring almost every NHL team and NCAA Division I school. it continues to provide the hundreds of NHL and NCAA scouts in attendance with a look at the best uncommitted players the NAHL has to offer, as well as some potential NHL Draft picks. It is an important part of the NAHL event model, which is inclusive of the NAHL Showcase in September and the NAHL Robertson Cup National Championship in May.
“We are thrilled to be returning to the UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex for the 2023 NAHL Top Prospects Tournament. We had a great experience and scout turnout last season, and we look forward to showcasing some of the best uncommitted players and NHL prospects that the NAHL has to offer,” said NAHL Commissioner and President Mark Frankenfeld. “The NAHL Top Prospects Tournament is the most unique event we host because its sole purpose is to provide those players that are still uncommitted a great opportunity to play in front of hundreds of NCAA and NHL scouts for a chance to make a great impression and earn an NCAA commitment or get drafted into the NHL. Scouts now have an established roadmap to track a player’s development, which includes assessments throughout the season and then making a determination based on his progression.”
The number of players each NAHL team is sending to the tournament, in which four teams from the four NAHL divisions: Central, East, Midwest and South, will each play in two game games, was based on each team’s winning percentage within their group as of January 8, 2023. Only those NAHL players without an NCAA commitment are eligible to participate in the 2023 NAHL Top Prospects Tournament, except for those who have been identified by NHL Central Scouting as prospects for the 2023 NHL Draft. Each team is comprised of 22 players (13 forwards, 7 defensemen, 2 goalies) for a total of 88 players. Rosters for the four teams were announced today!
The UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex is the primary practice and training facility for the Pittsburgh Penguins as well as a comprehensive outpatient facility for UPMC Sports Medicine. This first-of-its-kind facility in the Pittsburgh region is a true partnership between two world-class organizations, and features 185,000 square feet of total space dedicated to treating, training and inspiring athletes at every level. This multi-use facility is a destination for athletes of all ages and skill levels seeking sports medicine, performance, and rehabilitation expertise as well as hockey-specific skills and performance training. UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex has hosted prominent events such as the NHL’s Kraft Hockeyville Game, USHL’s Fall Classic, NWHL regular-season games and All-Star weekend, as well as USA Hockey National Championships and tournaments.
The NAHL originally posted all content above this line and below the Top Prospects 2023 shield graphic.
(All remaining sportsy-writer content is provided by Lone Star Communications Director Samuel “Ringo” Sequenzia)
Photographers Ken Hatley, Candice Bryan and Zach Kraemer contributed to Brahmas Hockey media content for this story and the web publications linked above.