Trio of Jacks headed to Top Prospects



Jan. 25, 2013



Cornellier, Volonnino and Popilock to represent Odessa Feb. 18-20 in Troy, MI.


ODESSA, TX– Odessa Jackalopes forwards Lawrence Cornellier and Matt Volonnino, and defenseman Zane Popilock, will represent the Jacks at the 2013 NAHL Top Prospects Tournament, February 18-20 in Troy, Michigan. The NAHL’s premier in-season scouting showcase, the 2013 Top Prospects Tournament will feature nine games over three days, played by 120 of the NAHL’s top players, spread across six teams. Team Dakota, Team Frontier, Team Great Lakes, Team Midwest, Team U18 selects, made up of the league’s top players 18 years of age and under, and Team Texas, for whom the three Jackalopes players will compete, will feature 18 skaters and two goaltenders apiece, each nominated by their respective coaching staffs.

“It’s a big honor,” said Odessa leading scorer Cornellier on Thursday, “I know [my coaches] are doing as much as they can to help me get a Division-1 scholarship, so it means a lot that they selected me.” The annual Top Prospects Tournament is one of the most heavily scouted events of its kind in American junior hockey, with over 150 professional and college scouts attending last year’s tournament.

Odessa Head Coach Paul Gillis thinks an appearance at the league-wide February event is just what Cornellier needs to secure a college commitment. “He’s had a terrific year, he’s done well in school, he’s done everything we think [a college coaching staff] would want and this could be his opportunity,” said Gillis Thursday. Gillis also had high praise for Volonnino and was optimistic about the speedy winger’s chances at extending his hockey career in the college ranks. “He’s an above-average skater and a hard worker,” said Gillis, “he’s a great kid and has real potential to play at the next level.”

As for Popilock, the Collegeville, Pennsylvania native is excited about his opportunity at the Top Prospects Tournament this year. “[My selection] makes me really happy and shows that my coaches believe in me and my game and I’m thankful I get to go,” said Popilock Thursday, “Hopefully I’ll play well and be seen by some schools that have interest in me.”

Team Texas will be coached by Amarillo Bulls Head Coach Dennis Williams and Texas Tornado bench boss Tony Curtale. Each of the nine 2013 Top Prospects games will be broadcast live on the NAHL’s official online video streaming service, FASTHockey, from the Troy Sports Center, outside Detroit.

In 2012-13, the Odessa Jackalopes drop the puck on their second season as a member of the North American Hockey League. Season ticket packages for the Jacks’ sophomore campaign are available now starting at just $179. To reserve your seats, contact the Jackalopes’ ticket office today at 432-552-7825 or log on to for more information.

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