2012 All-Americans Prospects Game Preview: J.T. Compher

With the 2012 All-Americans prospect game on Saturday the 29th in Buffalo, we are taking the next week to take a look at some of the players you should watch for. Our first profile features forward J.T. Compher.

Compher was born in Illinois and is rated by NHL Central Scouting as one of the five A skaters eligible for the 2013 NHL Draft that will be playing in the United States Hockey League. Compher has already committed to playing for Michigan after spending last season playing for the USNTDP Under 17 and 18 teams. He will play with the Wolverines in the 2013-14 season.

Compher is expected to be a first round pick in the 2013 NHL Draft. He led the USNTDP Under 17 team this past season with 27 assists and finished second on the team to Tyler Kelleher in total points with 42. He also made 18 appearances with the USNTDP Under 18 team and had 13 points in 18 games with them. He has some tournament experience under his belt already with five points in six games at the IIHF Under 18 tournament as the USNTDP took their fourth consecutive gold medal. Compher will suit up full time with the Under 18 team this season.

Compher's hockey adventure almost got off to a late start after his father was diagnosed with prostate cancer. The week that Compher was supposed to start with USA Hockey, his father went into surgery to treat the cancer. From Max Preps this January:

Yet here it was, late August, and 16-year-old J.T. was packing his bags for a strange world four hours away while his dad prepared for surgery. Virtually every day began with a good family cry at the Comphers home in Northbrook, Ill.

"It was extremely emotional," said Valerie Compher, J.T.'s mother.

"It was rough hearing it and it was terrible timing for me," J.T. Compher said. "I knew my dad‘s surgery was the first week I‘d be here and normally if I‘m home, I‘d be able to help my mom out and my sisters and make sure she wasn‘t overwhelmed, which I‘m sure she was."

Compher will be lining up for Team Housley on Saturday night. If you don't have your tickets yet, here is the link from Tickets.com. If you use the promo code SABRES, you can get $10 off all tickets. That puts tickets as cheap as $5.