DUBUQUE, IA--By the time Willie Knierim takes the ice for the Dubuque Fighting Saints to open the regular season on September 26, the Skokie, IL native will have a summer full of hockey honors under his belt. The second-year Fighting Saint forward recently finished up a tenure as the alternate captain for Team USA at the prestigious Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament in Bratislava. Now, Knierim's summer will conclude with a chance to play in the 2015 CCM/USA Hockey All-American Top Prospects Game on September 24 in Buffalo, NY. Knierim was one of 42 players that NHL scouts have their eyes on selected to play in the game.
Each year the CCM/USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game assembles the top U.S. players who are eligible for the upcoming NHL Entry Draft. Following last year’s game, 26 players that participated in the contest went on to be chosen in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft, including seven first-round selections. This year's game will be played at the First Niagara Center, home of the Buffalo Sabres.
Knierim, who is eligible for the 2016 NHL Draft, was signed to a tender by the Fighting Saints in April 2014. He joined the club as at just 16 for the 2014-2015 campaign and enjoyed a solid rookie season in the USHL. Knierim skated in all 60 games for the Fighting Saints, registering 12 goals and 16 assists for 28 points. The 6-foot-3 forward would catch fire in the playoffs, scoring four goals and adding three assists in just seven games.
The Miami (Ohio) commit joins teammates Spenser Young and Hunter Miska as players to have skated in the All-American Top Prospects Game. Young played in last year's game, and Miska was selected to the contest in 2012. Former Fighting Saints Shane Eiserman and Seamus Malone (2013) and Mike Downing (2012) to play in the game.
Knierim and the Fighting Saints open the 2015-2016 regular season on September 26 with Opening Night presented by American Trust as the Madison Capitals come to town. The club opens preseason action next Friday, September 4, on home ice versus Cedar Rapids. Knierim will play in the preseason before departing to Buffalo, then returning to Dubuque for Opening Night.
Tickets to all home games are on sale now by calling 563.583.6880 or online at DubuqueFightingSaints.com.