WHL News and Notes

Don Cherry Jerseys

The Red Deer Rebels are once again set to participate in “WHL Suits Up with Don Cherry to Promote Organ Donation”. On Jan. 25, the Rebels will sport their flashy jerseys to honour the legendary hockey commentator and raise money for organ donation. Each game, a total of 1,000 limited second edition Don Cherry bobbleheads will be distributed to fans in attendance, along with 1,000 plaid RE/MAX drink koozies shaped like a house.

Fans in attendance will also have a photo opportunity with a life-size Don Cherry cut out.

This year, players will sport uniforms with fun nicknames as opposed to traditional surnames across their shoulders. Fans will have the opportunity to bid on the limited-edition jerseys, with 100 per cent of the proceeds going to local chapters of the Kidney Foundation of Canada. In addition to game-worn uniforms, fans will have the chance to bid on one Don Cherry-autographed jersey in each participating WHL market.

Last season, the WHL and RE/MAX came together to raise over $265,500, representing the largest public awareness and fundraising campaign in the history of the Kidney Foundation of Canada.

The Rebels will wear the jerseys on Jan. 25 at home against the Medicine Hat Tigers.

WHL Player of the Week

Vancouver Giants defenceman Bowen Byram was the WHL Player of the Week for the week ending Jan. 13. Byram was also the CHL player of the week for his six-point performance.

Saturday, he set the franchise record for points in a game by a defenceman with a five-point game. The two-goal, three assist effort was the first of his career and it came in a 7-4 win over the Kamloops Blazers.

Sunday, he picked up an even-strength goal in the first period of a 3-2 win over the Victoria Royals.

The six-foot-1, 192-pound blueliner was picked third overall by the Giants in the 2016 WHL Bantam Draft. NHL Central Scouting has the Cranbrook, B.C. product ranked as an ‘A’ prospect for the 2019 NHL Draft.

Byram has impressed in his second full season in the WHL, posting 39 points (13G-26A), including four power-play goals and two game-winning goals. Overall, he has played in 111 WHL regular season games, posting 66 points (19G-47A), including seven power-play goals and four game-winning goals.

WHL Goalie of the Week

Taylor Gauthier of the Prince George Cougars was the WHL Goaltender of the Week for the week ending Jan. 13. Playing in four games, Gauthier posted a 3-1-0-0 record, 1.26 goals-against-average, stopped 97 of 102 shots for a 0.951 save percentage, and recorded two shutouts.

He started with a 36-save shutout against the Tri-City Americans, then followed that up with 23 saves in a 4-2 loss to the Spokane Chiefs.

The Calgary, Alta. product then beat the Kelowna Rockets in a pair of games to end in the weekend. In the first, he turned aside 10 of 20 shots in a 7-2 win for Prince George. He backed that win up with a 20-save, 4-0 shutout over the Rockets.

The 2019 NHL Draft eligible netminder has impressed in his second season with the Cougars, posting a 12-15-1-1 record, 2.94 GAA, 0.905 SV%, and three shutouts. His three shutouts this season put him halfway to tying the single-season franchise record set by Scott Bowles during the 2005-06 WHL Regular Season.

Where are they Now?

Wyatt Johnson was a valued member of the Red Deer Rebels for four seasons. In his final year, he was the Rebels captain, but at the trade deadline was moved to the Spokane Chiefs. In 226 games for the Rebels, he had 58 goals and 131 assists. In only 9 games for the Chiefs, he posted four goals and three assists. After his WHL came to an end in 2016, Johnson decided to attend school in his home province of Saskatchewan.

The 6-foot, 185-pound centre has slowly developed into an important member of the Huskies team. This season, in his third year in U Sports hockey, Johnson has 14 points in 17 games. In his previous two seasons, he amassed just 10 points in 33 games. Meanwhile, the Huskies are the top team in Canada West, with 17 wins and only three losses this year.

 

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