For the first time, the NA3HL’s annual Top Prospects event is headed east, to the New England Sports Village in Attleboro, Massachusetts. Making the trek out to Boston will be a grand total of seven representatives from the St. Louis Jr. Blues—five players, head coach Chris Flaugher, who will be behind the bench of the Central Division team, and broadcaster Kevin Gier, who once again will be calling the NA3HL side for HockeyTV.
Here’s a look at the five Jr. Blues players who will be suiting up for the Central Division at this all-star event:
Sean Hofstetter: The forward from Columbia, Ill. has made an instant impact in his first year of junior hockey, with 12 goals and 13 assists in 34 games. He has been a versatile forward for the Jr. Blues, spending time on both power-play and penalty-kill units, and his speed has attracted attention from NAHL teams, most recently skating with the Janesville Jets.
COACH’S COMMENT: “Sean’s got a great skill-set, and in this day and age speed is everything in hockey and he’s got a lot of that. Sean has come along way this year after getting acclimated to the junior game. He has climbed our depth chart and worked his way into a big role on our team.
Ivan Galaguzov: The native of Yekaterinburg, Russia is in his final year of junior hockey and is making it count, with 15 goals and 11 assists in 24 games played. Always a potent offensive threat, this year he has added a more physical dimension to his game, which he hopes will serve him well in American college hockey.
COACH’S COMMENT: “Ivan has been a big part of our team over the years. He’s got a great work ethic and scoring touch. His determination to be a better player will be an asset for the school he commits to for the next four years.”
Jake Faulkner: Also playing in his age-out year, the defenseman from Oakville, Mo. has shown an impressive level of maturity and poise on the St. Louis blue-line this year, with 9 goals, 16 assists, and a +41 rating in 34 games played. This is not Faulkner’s first trip to Top Prospects, as he was a member of the 18U Selects Red team in 2017.
COACH’S COMMENT: “Jake’s been a real asset to our defense, playing in all three phases of the game and always being a guy ready to put his hand up when we need a lock-down play.”
Mason Kruger: This season for the left-handed defenseman out of Alpharetta, Ga. has been one to remember: he has been a strong contributor to the St. Louis defensive corps, with 3 goals and 15 assists in 28 games, and has skated several times with NAHL sided. He has posted these numbers despite missing most of the month of November with an injury suffered during practice.
COACH’S COMMENT: “Mason’s a great two-way defenseman who has shown a lot of resilience this year. He’s got a great shot but most importantly very good awareness in his own zone.”
Mikael Foucher: A native of St-Hubert, Quebec, this young goaltender has turned heads around junior hockey with his performance this year. He has racked up a 18-3-1 record, with a 2.02 goals against average, .926 save percentage, and four shutouts.
COACH’S COMMENT: “There isn’t really much to say about Fouch that hasn’t already been said: great movement and puck-tracking ability, great recovery skills, and overall he’s a goalie with a lot of potential. We’re hoping that Top Prospects is just the start of great things for him.”
Overall, Flaugher is excited for the Jr. Blues—and indeed, the NA3HL—to show off their top talents in a new location. “This is such a great event and opportunity for our players to show what they have against some of the league’s top talent. With the amount of exposure they will be getting, who knows what doors will open from this event. Our players have always created some sort of opportunity for themselves at the NAHL or college level after the Top Prospects and I don’t see this year being any different.”