Wednesday, May 4, 2016

WHL's Number One Player In Its History is Joe Sakic

The Top 50 WHL Players of All-Time countdown, as voted on by WHL fans, concluded earlier today with the announcement of the top three at the 2016 WHL Awards in Calgary. WHL graduates Joe Sakic, Bob Clarke and Carey Price have earned top honours on the prestigious list.

As part of the Western Hockey League’s 50th Season celebrations, a panel of historians selected the top 125 players in WHL history this past September based on a combination of the impact they had while playing in the WHL and their careers upon graduating from the League. From this list, WHL fans voted at to select the Top 50 WHL Players of All-Time.

 #1 Joe Sakic (Swift Current Broncos, 1986-88)

Joe Sakic spent two campaigns as a member of the Swift Current Broncos from 1986 to 1988. During the 1986-87 season, the Broncos relocated back to Swift Current after 12 years in Lethbridge. However, tragedy struck in the form of a bus crash on December 30, 1986. Sakic and his teammates dedicated the season to their four fallen brothers. After notching 133 points (60g-73a) in 72 games, Sakic received Most Valuable Player and WHL Rookie of the Year honours in the Eastern Conference.

The following season, Sakic was named the CHL Player of the Year as well as the WHL’s Most Valuable Player for the second year in a row. There was a tie for the WHL Top Scorer award between Sakic and Theoren Fleury as both players had 160 points, but Sakic finished with a League-best 78 goals. The Burnaby, BC product was also a member of Team Canada’s gold medal-winning team at the 1988 IIHF World Junior Championship.

Throughout his WHL career, Sakic accumulated 293 points (139g-138a) in 139 regular season games and 25 points (11g-14a) in 14 playoff appearances. After being selected in the first round, 15th overall, by the Quebec Nordiques in the 1987 NHL Draft, Sakic played his entire 20-year NHL career with the Quebec Nordiques/Colorado Avalanche organization.

The 46-year-old is currently the Executive Vice-President of Hockey Operations and General Manager of the Colorado Avalanche. During his playing days on the Avalanche, Sakic hoisted the Stanley Cup twice in 1996 and 2001. The long-time Captain of the Avalanche led the way in the 1996 NHL Playoffs to earn the Conn Smythe Trophy. In 2000-01, Sakic received the Hart Memorial Trophy as the most valuable player in the NHL, the Lester B. Pearson Award as the NHL’s most valuable player as selected by the National Hockey League Players’ Association as well as the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy for sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct. When Sakic retired from the NHL in 2009, he had tallied 1641 points (625g-1016a) in 1378 regular season games which sits ninth all-time in NHL scoring. His 188 playoff points (84g-104a) in 172 contests are ranked eighth all-time.

Sakic is a member of the elite Triple Gold Club. In addition to winning the Stanley Cup, Sakic won an Olympic gold medal in 2002 and a World Championship gold medal in 1994 with Team Canada. For all his accomplishments throughout his distinguished hockey career, Sakic was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame as part of the 2012 class.

Top 50 WHL Players of All-Time

#1 - Joe Sakic (Swift Current Broncos, 1986-88)
#2 - Bob Clarke (Flin Flon Bombers, 1967-69)
#3 - Carey Price (Tri-City Americans, 2003-07)
#4 - Bryan Trottier (Swift Current/Lethbridge Broncos, 1972-75)
#5 - Scott Niedermayer (Kamloops Blazers, 1989-92)
#6 - Lanny McDonald (Medicine Hat Tigers, 1971-73)
#7 - Jarome Iginla (Kamloops Blazers, 1993-96)
#8 - Mike Modano (Prince Albert Raiders, 1986-89)
#9 - Grant Fuhr (Victoria Cougars, 1979-81)
#10 - Cam Neely (Portland Winter Hawks, 1982-84)
#11 - Ray Ferraro (Portland Winter Hawks and Brandon Wheat Kings, 1982-84)
#12 - Bernie Federko (Saskatoon Blades, 1973-76)
#13 - Shea Weber (Kelowna Rockets, 2002-05)
#14 - Brian Propp (Brandon Wheat Kings, 1976-79)
#15 - Wendel Clark (Saskatoon Blades, 1983-85)
#16 - Jordan Eberle (Regina Pats, 2006-10)
#17 - Theoren Fleury (Moose Jaw Warriors, 1984-88)
#18 - Bill Derlago (Brandon Wheat Kings, 1974-78)
#19 - Dale Derkatch (Regina Pats, 1981-85)
#20 - Trevor Linden (Medicine Hat Tigers, 1986-88)
#21 - Rob Brown (Kamloops Junior Oilers/Blazers, 1983-87)
#22 - Brad McCrimmon (Brandon Wheat Kings, 1976-79)
#23 - Mark Recchi (New Westminster Bruins and Kamloops Blazers, 1985-88)
#24 - Clark Gillies (Regina Pats, 1971-74)
#25 - Ryan Getzlaf (Calgary Hitmen, 2001-05)
#26 - Barry Beck (New Westminster Bruins, 1974-77)
#27 - Dan Hodgson (Prince Albert Raiders, 1982-85)
#28 - Ray Allison (Brandon Wheat Kings, 1975-79)
#29 - Reggie Leach (Flin Flon Bombers, 1967-70)
#30 - Doug Wickenheiser (Regina Pats, 1977-80)
#31 - Mike Vernon (Calgary Wranglers, 1980-83)
#32 - Dennis Sobchuk (Regina Pats, 1971-74)
#33 - Jamie Benn (Kelowna Rockets, 2007-09)
#34 - Patrick Marleau (Seattle Thunderbirds, 1995-97)
#35 - Ron Chipperfield (Brandon Wheat Kings, 1970-74)
#36 - Brendan Gallagher (Vancouver Giants, 2008-12)
#37 - Shane Doan (Kamloops Blazers, 1992-95)
#38 - Brad Moran (Calgary Hitmen, 1995-2000)
#39 - Tom Lysiak (Medicine Hat Tigers, 1970-73)
#40 - Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (Red Deer Rebels, 2009-11)
#41 - Marian Hossa (Portland Winter Hawks, 1997-98)
#42 - John Davidson (Calgary Centennials, 1971-73)
#43 - Sam Reinhart (Kootenay ICE, 2011-15)
#44 - Brent Sutter (Lethbridge Broncos, 1980-82)
#45 - Pavel Brendl (Calgary Hitmen, 1998-2001)
#46 - Cliff Ronning (New Westminster Bruins, 1983-85)
#47 - Duncan Keith (Kelowna Rockets, 2002-03)
#48 - Darcy Tucker (Kamloops Blazers, 1991-95)
#49 - Ray Whitney (Spokane Chiefs, 1988-91)
#50 - Stu Barnes (New Westminster Bruins and Tri-City Americans, 1987-90)


Anonymous said...

Federko ahead of Sobchuk makes no sense to me.

Anonymous said...

Darcy Tucker???

Where the heck is Hnat Dominicielli on that list?

It seems like this list was based on NHL careers and not strictly WHL. There a few Non-NHL stars (Brad Moran, Pavl Brendl) but not many.

That's a pretty big oversight, wouldn't you say Mitch?

Russ from Saskatoon