WHL: Top prospects, mic'd up, win FREE tix, plus: a question for YOU

Several WHL players made a respectable showing at the 2011 Home Hardware CHL/NHL Top Prospects game earlier this week in Toronto. 13 WHL players took part in the skills competition and game, which gives scouts and teams a good look at the top players going in the NHL Entry Draft this summer. No surprise, the Portland Winterhawks sent the most players (4), but it was Red Deer Rebels forward Ryan Nugent-Hopkins who turned the most heads. Nugent- Hopkins played a strong game all-round and contributed two assists to be named player of the game for Team Orr, which beat Team Cherry by a decisive 7-1 score. Portland's Sven Bartschi scored a goal and an assist for Team Orr. Seattle Thunderbirds' forward Colin Jacobs also had an assist for Orr. Winterhawk Ty Rattie assisted on Team Cherry's only goal. Brandon Wheat Kings goaltender Liam Liston stopped all 18 shots during the 29:30 he played in the first and part of the second period for Team Orr, while Saskatoon Blades defenseman Duncan Siemans showed how tough he is by squaring off with Vancouver Giants d-man David Musil. Regina Pats' defenseman Myles Bell won the skills competition for hardest shot, at 98.4 mph.

WHL officials have to be happy with the way their guys represented at the game and competition, and hope to see all 13 go in the first round of the draft (Last year, 17 WHL'ers went in the first round). Here's a look at all 13 WHL players invited to play in the prospects game: Team Cherry - D: Duncan Siemens/Saskatoon, Myles Bell/Regina, Joseph Morrow/Portland, Tyler Wortherspoon/Portland. F: Ty Rattie/Portland, Mark McNeill/Prince Albert. Team Orr - D: Reece Scarlett/Swift Current, David Musil/Vancouver, F: Shane McColgan/Kelowna, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins/Red Deer (Team Orr Captain), Colin Jacobs/Seattle, Sven Bartschi. G: Liam Liston/Brandon. You can read a game recap by clicking here.

Seattle T-Birds, Mic'd up

The Seattle Thunderbirds are taking a page out of the Pittsburgh Penguins' & Washington Capitals' playbook, with help from Seattle TV station KCPQ. They took to Facebook and Twitter to get the fans to vote which player should be mic'd up during the game versus the Kelowna Rockets Tuesday night. KCPQ shot the game and plans to unveil the "mic'd up" segment this Sunday on the show "Q It Up Sports," with sports anchor Aaron Levine. People who live in the Seattle area can catch the show at 9:30pm on Joe TV (Channel 22) and at 10:30pm on KCPQ (Channel 13). I'm sure the T-Birds and Q13 will post video after it airs as well.

Win FREE tickets to a WHL game

The WHL teamed up with Re/Max Realtors to offer free tickets to WHL games for fans who live in Western Canada (and to promote their Facebook and Twitter social media platforms). All fans have to do it "Like" the WHL page on Facebook and enter using a special link at the page, or follow the WHL on Twitter (@TheWHL) and answer weekly questions. Each winner receives 4 tickets to a game, hopefully close to their home city. This special promotion runs until March. You can read more about the contest by clicking here.

A question for YOU

Now that we've passed the halfway point in the season, what grade would you give your team? And what ONE thing do you think your team needs to do to improve - or stay on track if your team is leading its division? Comment below or email me. Just look for the link at the bottom of the page. Thanks in advance for playing!

Now, a look at this weekend's match-ups:

Tonight (Friday, January 21)

Calgary @ Prince Albert

Regina @ Swift Current

Lethbridge @ Brandon

Moose Jaw @ Edmonton

Red Deer @ Medicine Hat

Chilliwack @ Kamloops

Kootenay @ Spokane

Prince George @ Vancouver

Portland @ Everett

Kelowna @ Seattle

Saturday, January 22

Seattle @ Portland

Lethbridge @ Regina

Calgary @ Saskatoon

Swift Current @ Brandon

Medicine Hat @ Edmonton

Moose Jaw @ Red Deer

Prince George @ Chilliwack

Vancouver @ Kamloops

Kelowna @ Spokane

Everett @ Tri City

Sunday, January 23

Red Deer @ Kootenay

Spokane @ Portland

Chilliwack @ Vancouver

Kelowna @ Tri City

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