As the next NHL entry draft draws near, it is a good time to look back on
the junior careers of players who have made it in the NHL so we can be reminded
of what it takes to start a career on the right path. Here is a look back at
Trevor Linden’s junior career.
Trevor Linden had an impressive junior career
with the Medicine Hat Tigers of the Western Hockey League. Over
a span of three seasons, Linden played in 144 games, scored 62 goals and
recorded 148 points, captaining the Tigers to two consecutive Memorial
Linden was born on April 11, 1970, in the small town
of Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada. Like the majority of Alberta boys Trevor,
idolized “The Great One” Wayne Gretzky. But the man Linden adored more
than any other was the Flyers’ Bobby Clarke. Following in his hero’s footsteps,
Trevor wore the number 16, to pay tribute to him. All the Linden boys,
Trevor, Dean, and Jamie wanted to play in the NHL. But Linden’s immediate dream was to play for the Medicine
Hat Tigers. It so happened he did and in 1983, he signed with the Medicine
Hat Tigers. In 1985, Linden joined the Tigers. He joined a team that all
ready had future NHLers such as Troy Gamble, Rob DiMaio, Craig Berube and
Doug Houda. Linden scored 2 goals in 5 games and earned a spot on the Tigers.
A disappointment in the playoffs though, the 1st place Tigers bowed out
to the West Division’s best, the Kamloops Blazers in five games in the 1986
The next season, the Tigers named Linden captain
of their WHL club. Linden scored 14 goals to go along with 36 points to
help the Tigers reach the WHL playoffs. Medicine Hat finished 1st in
the Eastern Division with a 48-19-5 record for 101 points. Medicine Hat
got a bye in to the second round and followed that up with a 4-2 series
win over the Moose Jaw Warriors and a trip to the East Finals against
the second place Saskatoon Blades, lead by Shaun Van Allen. The
Tigers battled hard and beat the Blades in Game 7 in their own building.
Here they were, in the same spot they were last year, the WHL finals. A surprise
happened in the West, the Blazers lost to the Portland Winter Hawks
5-3 in a 9-game series. Once, again, it went to a seven game in their building.
Medicine Hat played their best game of the season, beating the Winter Hawks
and winning the WHL Championship and trip to the Memorial Cup Finals. Linden
finished with 9 goals playing in all 20 games.
The event was being held in Oshawa. The host team
never got the automatic bye to the Championship like they do today but
Oshawa won the OHL that year. The Tigers got the first day off and watched the other
two teams; Oshawa (OHL) play Longueuil (QMJHL). Oshawa won 3-2. Medicine
Hat had back-to-back games against Oshawa (May 11) and Longueuil (May 12)
The first game, they lost 5-3 to Oshawa but came back to win the next one
against Longueuil 4-3. With that record of 3-0 Oshawa advanced directly
to the final and the final two games of the round robin were replaced by
two game total goal semi final series between Medicine Hat and Longueuil.
The Tigers won the first game 6-0 and took game two by a 3-1 scored to
advance to the final with a 9-1 margin in total goals. In the finals against
Oshawa, Linden scored two goals to lead his team to a 6-2 victory to bring
the Memorial Cup to Medicine Hat for the first time in history.
The next season had so many expectations for the
Tigers. The Tigers had the same core of players as last year and finished
second to Saskatoon with a 44-22-3 record for 94 points, finishing three
behind the Blades for 1st. The Tigers, for the second year, got the bye
to the second round and face the 3rd place Prince Albert Raiders,
who finished three points behind the Tigers, who eliminated the Brandon
Wheat Kings in four games in the first round, best-of-fve series. Medicine
Hat eliminated Mike Modano and the Raiders in six games. Next was a rematch
of last year’s East Finals, with the Saskatoon Blades. The Tigers
swept them and moved on to play the West Champion, Kamloops Blazers.
The Tigers beat them in six and the Tigers got a trip to Chicoutimi and
a chance to defend their Memorial Cup Championship. Linden finished off
the playoffs 4th in scoring with 13 goals and 25 points, finishing behind
teammate Rob DiMaio, and Kamloops Blazers’ Mark Recchi and Greg Hawgood.
Here this year was the Windsor Spitfires and
the QMJHL’s Hull Olympics and Drommoundville Voltigeurs.
Hat beat the Voltigeurs 7-1 and Hull 7-3. It wasn’t good enough to get
a bye to the Finals and faced off against Hull in the Semis. In the semi
final game Darren Taylor scored the game winning goal for the Tigers with
seven minutes left to play as they went on to a 5-3 win to advance to the
final. In the final Windsor jumped out to a 3-0 lead 12:00 in and the game
soon became a high scoring affair. Mark Pedersen scored the game winning
goal with less than three minutes left to play to give Medicine Hat a 7-6 win.
Linden was named to the All-Tournament all-star team along with teammate
Rob DiMaio (Center), Dean Chynoweth (Defense) and Mark Fitzpatrick (Goal).
Another Memorial Cup capped off a great junior career for Linden.
Linden was selected by the Vancouver Canucks in the
first round (2nd overall) of the 1989 NHL Entry Draft. He never played
another game with Medicine Hat and was named to the NHL All-Rookie team in
1989-90. After being traded to the Islanders, Linden enjoyed short stints
in Montreal and Washington before returning to Vancouver. ”We’re very pleased to have Trevor back in Vancouver,” Canucks general
manager Brian Burke said at the time. “Our expectation is that Trevor will add versatility,
leadership and experience to our forwards, and we were able to add him without subtracting
from the core of our group.”
Linden has had a great career in the NHL along with other
Tiger greats such as Lanny McDonald, Ed Johnstone, Don Murdoch, Kelly Hrudey,
Troy Gamble, Chris Osgood, Rob Niedermayer as well as newcomers such as Jay
Joffery Lupul and Jason Chimera. Trevor Linden is among those names
for the best to ever play in Orange and Black.
Trevor Linden’s Junior Statistics
|1985-86||Medicine Hat (WHL)||5||2||0||2||0|
|1986-87||Medicine Hat (WHL)||72||14||22||36||59|
|1986-87 Playoffs||Medicine Hat (WHL)||20||5||4||9||17|
|1987-88||Medicine Hat (WHL)||67||46||64||110||76|
|1987-88 Playoffs||Medicine Hat (WHL)||16||13||12||15||19|
1987-88 named to WHL East Second All-Star Team and
to Memorial Cup All-Star Team.