Odessa, TX – The Jackalopes, proud members of the North American Hockey League, are pleased to announce that Conner Couet, Liam O’Hare, and Mike Manzo have been selected to represent the South Division in the 2022 NAHL Top Prospects Tournament. The annual Tournament will be held on Feb. 7-8, 2022, in Pittsburgh, PA. It will be the first appearance for all three players at this Tournament. All three are in their final year of junior eligibility.
Head Coach Scott Deur had this to say about the three players selected and what it means for the team, “All three guys have been great leaders in our locker room this year. They are all very much deserving of this opportunity.”
Conner Couet started his NAHL career in 2019-20 after being drafted #112 overall by the Brookings Blizzard. On February 4th, 2021, Couet played his first game in a Jacks jersey, and he has been with the team ever since. He played 34 games for the Jacks that season and totaled five points (1g). So far this season, the 6’2”/195lb. right-handed defenseman has played in 34 games and has registered seven points (2g). Couet has played in 93 NAHL games and has produced 16 points (13a).
Liam O’Hare is in his second year in the NAHL, all of which have been with Odessa. Last season, the Barcelona, ESP native skated in 37 games for the Jacks and put up ten points (3g). The 5’8/170lb. left-handed forward has played in 23 games this year and has totaled 14 points (4g). O’Hare is ninth on the team in scoring and had the longest point streak of his career this season at six games (1g, 7a). In 2017-18, O’Hare won the U18 and U20 WJC (D2B), Gold Medal, while playing for Spain.
Mike Manzo is in his third season in the NAHL. He got his start in 2019 after he was drafted #113 overall by the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights. The Troy, MI native joined the Jacks on January 31st, 2020, and has been with them ever since. Last season with Odessa, the 5’9”/174lb. right-handed forward played 45 games and scored ten points (6g). Manzo is tied for seventh on the team in points with 16 (4g). Manzo has 30 career points (12g) throughout his 109 NAHL games.
The NAHL Top Prospects Tournament is one of the most highly scouted events in junior hockey. Hundreds of scouts attend the event annually, which features almost every NHL team and NCAA Division I school. It continues to be an important part of the NAHL event model, which includes the NAHL Showcase in September and the NAHL Robertson Cup National Championship in May.
One of the things the NAHL does better than any other junior league is seeing their players earn an NCAA opportunity while playing and being showcased in the NAHL. To date, 165 players have already made NCAA commitments during the 2021-22 season. The NAHL Top Prospects Tournament plays a big role in that success, providing 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.
Only those NAHL players without an NCAA commitment are eligible to participate in the 2022 NAHL Top Prospects Tournament, except for those who have been identified by NHL Central Scouting as prospects for the 2022 NHL Draft. Each team is comprised of 22 players (13 forwards, 7 defensemen, 2 goalies). The South Team will play their games at 4 pm EST on Feb. 7 and 10 am EST on Feb. 8. All games will be televised on HockeyTV.
Update: Unfortunately due to an injury, Liam O’Hare is unable to participate in the 2022 NAHL Top Prospects Tournament. Replacing him will be Dayne Hoyord. This will be the second-straight year that Hoyord is going to Top Prospects. Alex Proctor was also added to the 2022 NAHL Top Prospects Tournament after the league added an NAHL Selects Team to play the USA U17 Team. Proctor will be one of the two goalies for Team South. Head Coach Scott Deur will also be attending the Top Prospects Tournament as the Head Coach of the NAHL Selects Team.