Photo: Victoria Royals forward and Buffalo Sabres prospect Logan Nelson spent a short amount of time in the USHL before electing to take his talents to the WHL (courtesy of Derek Leung/Getty Images)
By all accounts put forth by prognosticators through the early going, the road to a Western Hockey League title this season is likely to run through either Kelowna or Portland. However, the Victoria Royals would certainly like to force opponents to embark on a couple of ferry rides as part of the championship travel package next spring.
Photo: A native of southern California, goaltender Thatcher Demko has worked his way onto the radars of many NHL teams in the past year. Demko is beginning his freshman season with Boston College. (courtesy of Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
If the 2013 CCM/USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game is any indication, the state of California will be well represented at the 2014 NHL Draft. Four California-born players participated in the September 26th exhibition game, led by forward Chase De Leo and goaltender Thatcher Demko, both of whom head into the 2013-14 season with an 'A' ranking from NHL Central Scouting.
Photo: Red Deer Rebels goaltender and Los Angeles Kings prospect Patrik Bartosak earned the CHL Goaltender of the Year award in 2012-13, and is expected to aid the Rebels’ efforts to finish atop the Eastern Conference standings this season (courtesy of Marissa Baecker/Getty Images)
Here’s a look at the Western Hockey League’s Eastern Conference heading into the 2013-14 season.
Saskatoon Blades (Last Season: 44-22-2-4; 1st in East Division)
A complete rebuild would seem accurate these days in Saskatoon as the organization enters its 50th year in the WHL. The off-season included significant change, as new ownership is now in place. In recent years, the team has traded high draft picks for veteran relief, none of which has resulted in much post-season success on the ice. Having hosted the most recent Memorial Cup tournament, it will be some time before the team threatens to earn another berth in the national championship event.
Photo: Seattle Thunderbirds defenseman and Anaheim Ducks prospect Shea Theodore will lead a young but talented Thunderbirds squad that could make some noise in 2013-14 (courtesy of Marissa Baecker/Getty Images)
Here’s a look at the Western Hockey League’s Western Conference heading into the 2013-14 season.
Kelowna Rockets (Last Season: 52-16-3-1; 1st in B.C. Division)
While it may be difficult to match the 52 victories achieved last season, the Rockets are considered a top contender in the WHL's Western Conference this season.
Photo: Pittsburgh Penguins defensive prospect Derrick Pouliot was a part of the Team Canada squad that competed last month at the 2013 USA Hockey Junior Evaluation Camp (courtesy of Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Pittsburgh Penguins’ defensive prospect Derrick Pouliot has enjoyed a number of successes over his career, but it’s a pair of disappointments that are fuelling the fire of what he hopes will be a dynamic 2013-14 season.