Top 10 WHL Centers

by Glen Erickson
on
Photo: Mark McNeill (CHI) was one of the top centers playing in the WHL in 2011-12. (Photo courtesy of Aaron Bell/CHL Images)

The criteria remain the same as our ranking of goaltenders, wingers and defensemen. All players ranked have been drafted or signed by NHL teams. There are many different kinds of centermen; those who primarily excel offensively and those who contribute in other ways to the success of their respective teams.

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Michigan Star to make the Jump to Junior

by Jeff Bromley
on
When the Kootenay ICE finished their 1999-2000
Memorial Cup finalist season, they lost a good percentage of their offensive output when Captain Mike Green (Florida) and line-mate Jaroslav
Svoboda (Carolina) graduated to the professional ranks. For any club, even as one as deep as the ICE, it is a dent on the stats sheet that would
be a heady task to replace.

Well, if forecasts are accurate, consider it replaced.

The Kootenay ICE announced this past week that Marek Svatos, Kootenay’s 47th overall CHL import draft pick and NCAA Michigan Wolverine
star Mike Comrie, an Edmonton Oiler 1999 NHL Draft pick (91st overall) will both be joining the club for the 2000-01 season. For Svatos, a Kosice,
Slovakia native the move to North America a full two weeks ahead of the beginning of training camp will only benefit him in making the transition
to his new Canadian surroundings. For Comrie however, making the jump to junior from the NCAA is more of a strategic move. The fact that
Comrie will no doubt enhance his professional aspirations by making the transfer if only for the fact that the WHL plays almost double the
amount of regular season games (72 as opposed to 40) and the increased ice time will only be to his benefit in trying to make the jump to the
NHL. Mike Comrie’s arrival to the Kootenays also enhances his contract position with the Edmonton Oilers due to a path carved out by Comrie’s
former Michigan Wolverine teammate Mike Van Ryn.
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Dan’s BLACKmagic BURNing Opponents

by Dustin Nielson
on
The Kootenay Ice were known as a threat around the
WHL two seasons ago but were ousted by the Hitmen in first round
7 game thriller. A year later they returned the favor to the Hitmen
in the WHL semi-finals by brushing them aside in 5 games.

What was the difference?

Was it the “Money Line” who made the biggest impact. Sure
Mike Green, Jaroslav Svoboda and Zdenek Blatny made a difference
but they were not the answer.

Possibly the emergence of a group of d-men that complemented
each others game better then no other team in the Dub. Once again
the defense were a piece to the puzzle but not the most important.

The answer is a kid from Canmore, Alberta who was turning heads when
he hit the ice in rookie camp.

Dan Blackburn was the Ice’s first round pick in the 1998 Bantam Draft.
He was the highest goaltender ever selected in the WHL Draft when Kootenay
snagged him with the 3rd overall choice. Little did Ice management know but just
2 short years later that baby faced 15 year old would carry them to the WHL title
and a birth in the Mem Cup.

Blackburn made many jaws drop and heads turn as he started to perform brilliantly
in the early games at the Memorial Arena (a.k.a Silver Dome) in Cranbrook
B.C.

He plays a a cross between a Patrick Roy butterfly and Martin Brodeur paddle
on the ice style that seems to be very effective. Blackburn is always in position Read more»

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