In 1988, shockwaves were sent throughout Canada and California when Canadian icon and arguably the greatest hockey player to ever play the game, Wayne Gretzky, was traded from the Edmonton Oilers to the Los Angeles Kings. But the after-effects of that trade created a hockey boom in the Golden State and its legacy is still felt more than 25 years later. 29 NHL players have called California home, and an even greater number fill out the ranks of the top North American junior leagues and NCAA collegiate teams.
Forward Anthony Mantha (DET) is the Hockey's Future Prospect of the Month for December. An offensively prolific player since the start of the 2013-14 season, Mantha took his game to another level in December, with 14 points in five QMJHL games and 10 points through the preliminary round of the 2014 World Junior Championship.
Imagine spending two full seasons battling for ice time on a veteran-laden junior hockey team, one that was built to produce high-octane scoring in pursuit of a Western Hockey League championship. And then, when the elite performers finally move on, graduating to professional or Canadian University hockey, your time as a veteran leader emerges as the team is entrenched in rebuilding mode.
While the goal may have been modest, Germany's 2014 World Junior Championship entry managed to maintain their place among hockey's top countries at the U20 level by virtue of their winning a best-of-three, relegation round series over a tough Norway squad. By virtue of their win, Germany will take part in the 2015 WJC that will be held in Toronto, ON and Montreal, QC a year from now, while Norway once again drops down to the Division 1A WJC.
- Leon Draisaitl
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- Brycen Martin
- Nikita Scherbak
- Chase De Leo
- Conner Bleackley
- John Quenneville
- Reid Gardiner
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