WHL News and Notes

Where Are They Now?

Defenceman Austin Strand was originally picked by the Red Deer Rebels in the third round, 48th overall in the 2012 WHL Bantam Draft. He made his WHL debut in the 2014-15 season and played 163 games in a Rebels uniform. He posted 41 points over that span but broke out in a huge way during his final WHL season.

After being moved to the Seattle Thunderbirds, Strand put up 25 goals and 64 points in 69 games en route to a WHL Championship. With such success, he earned a contract offer from the Los Angeles Kings.

He started this season with the Manchester Monarchs of the ECHL, before being called up to the Ontario Reign of the AHL on Nov. 25. Since then, the 21-year-old has two goals and six points in 15 games.

Winnipeg ICE off and rolling

In what was the worst kept secret around major junior hockey, the Kootenay Ice made it official Tuesday they were moving to Winnipeg. There have been reports about the potential move all the way back to October and people in hockey circles have been discussing it as a matter of fact since around that time.

Governor Greg Fettes, ICE president and general manager Matt Cockell and WHL commissioner Ron Robison made the announcement in Cranbrook. Fettes and Cockell are from Winnipeg, so it was long rumoured that when new ownership took over in 2017, the destiny was set. The team made a peculiar amount of acquisitions at the trade deadline of players from Manitoba, which they denied had anything to do with the move.

In Cranbrook, the ICE were last in league attendance this season at just 2,218 fans per game. In Winnipeg, the ICE have already sold more than 1,000 season tickets in less than 24 hours. They will play at the University of Manitoba for the first two seasons, in a rink that only seats 1,400.

WHL Player of the Month

Vancouver Giants defenceman Bowen Byram was the WHL Player of the Month for January 2019.

The 2019 NHL Draft prospect recorded 19 points (10G-9A) in 13 games as the Giants led all WHL teams in points earned throughout the month with a 9-3-0-1 record.

Over the course of the 13 games, Byram recorded points in 11, including a pair of multi-goal games. On Jan. 12, against the Kamloops Blazers, Byram recorded the first five-point game of his WHL career, setting a franchise record for points in a single game by a Giants’ defenceman.

From his team’s nine wins during the month, Byram had the game-winning goal in three of those contests. The Cranbrook, B.C. product also recorded three other multi-point performances during the month.

WHL Goalie of the Month

Todd Scott of the Edmonton Oil Kings was the WHL Goaltender of the Month for January 2019.

In 245 minutes of action during the month of January, Scott sported a perfect 4-0-0-0 record, 1.47 goals-against-average, and stopped 103 of 109 shots for a 0.945 save percentage.

Scott’s month began with back-to-back wins against the Lethbridge Hurricanes on Jan. 11 and 13, stopping 55 of 57 shots sent his way. He then made 27 of 28 saves in a win against the Prince George Cougars and closed out his month Tuesday with a come-from-behind victory in the shootout against the Brandon Wheat Kings.

The 6-foot-1, 200-pound product of Albertville, Minn. has performed well in 10 games with the Oil Kings this season, sporting a 6-1-2-0 record, 3.14 GAA, and a 0.892 SV% in 573 minutes of action. Originally selected in the tenth round, 203rd overall, of the 2015 WHL Bantam Draft, by the Vancouver Giants, the 18-year-old Scott has appeared in 43 WHL regular season games, sporting a 18-13-5-1 record, 3.82 GAA, and 0.878 SV%.

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