CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – A record-breaking six Corpus Christi IceRays players have been selected for the 2019 NAHL Top Prospects Tournament, the North American Hockey League announced Friday. Right wing Santeri Hartikainen, defenseman Tyler Love, right wing Kyle Moore, center Jake Stella, goaltender Samuel Vyletelka, and defenseman Gordon Whalen will participate in the two-day tournament Feb. 18-19 in Attleboro, Mass.
Love, Moore, Stella and Whalen will play for the South Division team, while Hartikainen and Vyletelka will play for Selects Blue.
The tournament, to be played in front of hundreds of scouts from NCAA programs and NHL teams, consists of six total games at the New England Sports Village. 120 players from across the NAHL were selected for the event, including top players currently uncommitted for college hockey, as well as some potential NHL Draft picks who have already committed to NCAA Division I programs. The entire event will be available to watch live and on-demand on HockeyTV (hockeytv.com). More information, including a schedule of games, is available at nahl.com/tpt.
Hartikainen, 20, committed last month to Robert Morris University (Atlantic Hockey). The Helsinki, Finland native has posted 34 points (14+20) in 40 games this season. He is the only one of the six IceRays players named to the Top Prospects Tournament who has already committed to a college.
Love, 18, has been a steady force on the IceRays’ blue line this season while also registering nine points (2+7) in 39 games. The Pittsburgh native is a product of the Pittsburgh Penguins Elite program.
Moore, 21, has scored at a near point-per-game pace this season, notching 33 points (14+19) through 35 games. The IceRays’ team captain previously played for the Charlotte Rush (USPHL) in his hometown of Charlotte, N.C., as well as 19 games in the Ontario Hockey League with the North Bay Battalion.
Stella, 20, has been the IceRays’ top-scoring center this season with 25 points (14+11) through 41 games. The Karlstad, Sweden native is in his second season in North America after playing last year for the South Shore Kings (NCDC).
Vyletelka, 18, was acquired by the IceRays earlier this week from the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights. NHL Central Scouting ranked the Zilina, Slovakia native 29th among North American goaltenders for the 2019 NHL Draft.
Whalen, 19, is a consistent defenseman who has registered three assists this season along with a +6 rating. The Niles, Ill., native played youth hockey for Team Illinois before skating last season for the Cochrane Crunch (NOJHL), as well as his first three NAHL games with the Bismarck Bobcats.
The six players join IceRays General Manager/Head Coach Ryan Cruthers (Assistant Coach, South Division) and Director of Broadcasting & Media Relations Rob Sanderson (Play-by-Play), who were previously selected by the NAHL to represent the IceRays at the 2019 NAHL Top Prospects Tournament.
Tonight, the IceRays play their first of four games over a two-week trip to Alaska, facing the Fairbanks Ice Dogs inside Big Dipper Ice Arena at 10:30 PM CT (7:30 PM AKT). The game broadcast will be carried live on Sportsradio Corpus Christi (1230 AM/95.1 FM/96.1 FM), HockeyTV and Mixlr with the pre-game show starting at 10:15 PM CT. The two teams will rematch Saturday night at the same time before the IceRays travel south in Alaska for next weekend’s games against the Kenai River Brown Bears in Soldotna. For more information, visit goicerays.com/broadcast.
Stay connected with the IceRays on Facebook (/CorpusChristiIceRays), Twitter (@goicerays) and Instagram (CorpusChristiIceRays). Tickets are on sale now for the IceRays’ final eight home games of the 2018-19 regular season. Visit goicerays.com or call 361-814-PUCK (7825) for tickets or more information.