USA Hockey announced on Tuesday that former Buffalo Sabres forward Derek Plante would be one of the head coaches for the 2015 CCM/USA Prospects game held later this month at the First Niagara Center. Plante had been with USA Hockey as a coach of the 2014 and 2015 U.S. Under 18 team at the annual Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament. He will most likely serve the same role in December at the World Junior Championship.
Currently Plante resides in Cloquet, MN after retiring from an eight-year NHL career. Buffalo traded Plante to the Dallas Stars during the 1999 season. That same team came back to defeat the Sabres in the Stanley Cup finals in six-games. Plante did not appear in the final two rounds that year but still had his named engraved on the Cup. The next season he caught on with the Chicago Blackhawks organization and was sent to their AHL affiliate the Chicago Wolves. The next season he signed a two-way deal with the Philadelphia Flyers and spent time with the Phantoms down in the AHL before being called up to the Flyers.
Plante began his coaching career where he played his college hockey, the University of Minnesota-Duluth. He helped guide the Bulldogs to the 2011 NCAA Div. 1 national title. He is now a developmental coach with the Chicago Blackhawks.
Jeremy Roenick will also serve as a head coach for the September 24th event that features 42 of the top American-born prospects that will be eligible for the 2016 NHL entry draft, which coincidentally will also be held in Buffalo, NY. Roenick played 20 seasons in the NHL for five different teams including the Blackhawks, Flyers, Phoenix Coyotes, Los Angeles Kings and San Jose Sharks. He is now a studio analyst on NBC’s coverage of the NHL. He is also a member of the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame (2010).
Auston Matthews (Arizona), USA’s top prospect will not be playing as he signed a deal with a Swiss professional team over the summer. He is widely considered to be the top choice in June’s entry draft.
Among some of the more notable prospects that will be participating are WNY’s own Stephen Dhillon (G) and Griffin Luce (D) the grandson of former Sabre great Don Luce.