Hey, all, I'm brooklynhockeyboy. A few of you might know my personal blog, and some of you might even know me from NHL Connect as Hockeyfreek22. But that's beside the point.
Starting from here on in, I'll be your WHL and NCAA update man. That's right, the good old Western Hockey League in Canada (and the U.S.), and the NCAA, the college league in the U.S.A.
Ok, for those of you who don't know squat about one-third of Canada's junior hockey, here's a little run down for you:
1. The WHL consists of 22 teams: In the East division (of the WESTern league, that's weird), we've got the Swift Current Broncos, the Moose Jaw Warriors, the Prince Albert Raiders, the Brandon Wheat Kings, the Saskatoon Blades, and the Regina Pats. In the Central division, there's the Red Deer Rebels, the Edmonton Oil Kings, the Lethbridge Hurricanes, the Medicine Hat Tigers, the Calgary Hitmen, and the Kootenay Ice. In the British Columbia division (there is no West division, by the way, apparently that would make those teams mightier than the rest, or something), we have the Vancouver Giants, the Prince George Cougars, the Kamloops Blazers, the Kelowna Rockets, and the Chilliwack Bruins. In the U.S. division, there's the Everett Silvertips, the Spokane Chiefs, the Tri-City Americans, the Portland Winter Hawks, and the Seattle Thunderbirds.
2. The WHL goes by the same points system as the NHL; 2 points for a win, 1 for an overtime or shootout loss, and 0 for a loss.
3. The WHL champion is awarded the President's Cup, and goes on to play for the CHL's Memorial Cup against the champions of the OHL, QMJHL, and whichever team hosts the Memorial Cup. Last season, the WHL produced the Memorial Cup champ out of Spokane, a team led by forwards Drayson Bowman (Carolina's 72nd overall pick in 2007) and Mitch Wahl (Calgary's second round pick in 2008), defenseman Jared Spurgeon, and goalie Dustin Tokarski (Tampa Bay's 5th round pick in 2008). They return all 4 players this year, and have started the season with 2 wins in 3 games.
As far as the NCAA goes, there are 69 Division I teams. I would list them all, but that would be way to many links. Some of the more prominent teams are in Minnesota, Boston, Michigan, North Dakota, and Colorado. However, NHL prospects can come out of just about any college team. James van Reimsdyk, the #2 overall pick of the 2007 draft, decided to attend the University of New Hampshire after being chosen, while the Edmonton Oilers have prospect Riley Nash attending Cornell University.
This season, Boston College is the pre-season favorite to top the standings, as they did in the 2008 season. Michigan was ranked second, and Notre Dame was voted third.
I'll be providing weekly updates on both of these leagues, starting this Saturday with an update on the WHL standings, leading scorers, and major news stories. The same will go for the NCAA, although the season has not yet started. Make sure and read http://freshfromtheice.blogspot.com/ for NHL stories as well!