WHL News and Notes

WHL prospects at Canada Winter Games

A huge contingent of Western Hockey League prospects will be in Red Deer representing their provinces at the Canada Winter Games starting Saturday. In total, 79 WHL hopefuls from four provinces and two territories will represent at the Games. Saskatchewan leads the way with 20 WHL prospects, while Team Alberta and B.C. each have 19 and Manitoba has 18. Team Northwest Territory has two and Team Yukon has one.

Red Deer Rebels fans can keep their eyes on forward Jayden Grubbe of Team Alberta. Grubbe, 16, was selected seventh overall by the Rebels in the 2018 WHL Bantam Draft. The Calgary native has 26 points in 32 games in his first season of Midget AAA hockey with the Calgary Buffaloes. The Rebels are also represented by defenceman Kyle Masters in the tournament. Red Deer picked him 16th overall in the 2018 bantam draft.

WHL Player of the Week

Prince Albert Raiders Cole Fonstad was the WHL Player of the Week for the week ending Feb. 10. Fonstad recorded eight points in three games as the Raiders clinched a 2019 WHL playoff berth.

He picked up an even-strength goal Monday in a win over the Edmonton Oil Kings, before a two-goal, three assist performance against the Calgary Hitmen.

His success continued Saturday in Lethbridge when he scored twice in a tight 6-5 win. It was his 20th multi-point game of the season.

The Estevan, Sask. native now has 60 points (26G-34A) in 54 games and is well on his way to outdoing his career-high of 73 points (21G-52A) in 72 games, set in 2017-18. The eight-point week placed Fonstad into a tie for 18th in WHL scoring this season. This also marks Fonstad’s second straight 20-goal campaign of his WHL career.

WHL Goalie of the Week

Medicine Hat Tigers goalie Mads Sogaard was the WHL and CHL Goalie of the Week for the week ending Feb. 10.

He posted a perfect record with three wins and 96 saves on 100 shots. Wednesday, he turned aside 23 of 26 shots in a win over the Kootenay Ice, before a 41-save shutout performance against the Everett Silvertips. It was his third career shutout. To close out the week he stopped 32 of 33 shots in a 2-1 win over the Portland Winterhawks. In the win, he stood tall through five shootout rounds.

The 2018 CHL Import netminder from Denmark has posted a 15-4-3 record, 2.19 GAA, .935 SV% and three shutouts. The 6-foot-7, 190-pound product of Aalborg, Denmark is ranked third among North American goaltenders by NHL Central Scouting ahead of the 2019 NHL Draft.

Where are They Now?

Defenceman Matthew Pufahl was originally selected by the Red Deer Rebels in the fourth round, 68th overall in the 2008 WHL Bantam Draft. He joined the Rebels for the 2010-11 season and recorded a goal and three assists in 30 games. After another 30 games in 2011-12, the Saskatoon, Sask. native was traded to the Saskatoon Blades.

In his final two WHL seasons, split between the Blades and Everett Silvertips, Pufahl had 92 points in 131 games. That work earned him a five-game stint with the Lake Erie Monsters of the AHL, where he had one goal. From 2014-2018, he played USports hockey for the Acadia Axemen. He was on the first All-Star team in 2015-16.

This year he played six games for the Utah Grizzlies of the ECHL, with one assist. He then jumped to Europe, where he played 24 games for Zvolen Hkm of the Slovak league in Europe.


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