Junior Hockey’s Best Development League Opens Its 48th Season

whl is back

Jeff Hubert

September 18, 2013, Regina, SK (ISN) –  WHL Commissioner Ron Robison officially launched the 2013-14 regular season on Wednesday at a media conference in Regina, Saskatchewan.

The 2013-14 WHL regular season opens with its first game on Thursday, September 19th, when the Regina Pats host their East Division rivals, the Swift Current Broncos. The contest will be broadcast on SHAW TV throughout Western Canada, live at 7pm CST.

Once again, the WHL continues to be the leader in developing young hockey talent. 33 WHL players were selected in the 2013 NHL Draft this past June, including 8 players chosen in the first round: (4)Seth Jones( Portland Winterhawks/ Nashville Predators) (13) Josh Morrissey (Prince Albert Raiders/Winnipeg Jets) (15) Ryan Pulock (Brandon Wheat Kings/New York Islanders) (17) Curtis Lazar (Edmonton Oil Kings/Ottawa Senators) (18) Mirco Mueller (Everett Silvertips/San Jose Sharks) (24) Hunter Shinkaruk (Medicine Hat Tigers/ Vancouver Canucks) (26) Shea Theodore (Seattle Thunderbirds/ Anaheim Ducks) (28) Morgan Klimchuk ( Regina Pats/ Calgary Flames). This season, the spotlight will be on the number one projected pick for the 2014 NHL Entry Draft Sam Reinhart (Kootenay Ice), along with other NHL top prospects including Jake Virtanen (Calgary Hitmen) and Brycen Martin (Swift Current Broncos).

The WHL, in partnership with its member clubs, is proud host several major events this season. The top 40 draft eligible NHL prospects for the upcoming 2014 NHL Entry Draft will be showcased in Calgary, Alberta on January 15th, 2014 as the WHL hosts the CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game. The SUBWAY® Super Series, which features the top players from the WHL facing off against the Russian National Junior Team, will make stops in Red Deer, AB, on November 27th and in Lethbridge, AB, on November 28th. The SUBWAY® Super Series is a preview of the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championships.

While WHL players continue make an impact on the ice, they are also making strides in the classroom. Academic success is a top priority for WHL Clubs. The WHL, in partnership with Canada West universities and Athabasca University, continues to offer the most comprehensive scholarship package in North America. Last season, WHL Clubs awarded over 350 WHL Scholarships to graduate players.

“As the world’s premiere junior hockey league, the WHL provides an ideal environment for the top prospects in our system to achieve both their hockey and academic goals,” commented WHL Commissioner, Ron Robison. “The 2013-14 season promises to be another highly competitive campaign as our 22 WHL Clubs battle for the Ed Chynoweth Cup and the right to represent our league at the 2014 MasterCard Memorial Cup.”

Fans looking forward to another competitive and exciting WHL season will have many options to stay on top of all the WHL action. SHAW TV continues to be the official regional broadcaster of the WHL, and will feature 32 regular season games as well as a full series in each round of the 2014 WHL Playoffs. The WHL on SHAW broadcast schedule will continue to feature key rivalries LIVE across Western Canada on most Friday nights on SHAW TV and Shaw Direct ‘Channel 299’. The WHL and ROOT SPORTS will continue to provide fans in the U.S. Pacific Northwest with “Friday Night Ice” which features televised WHL action providing up to 8 regular season games to viewers. The 2013-14 WHL on ROOT SPORTS broadcast schedule will feature all five WHL U.S. based Clubs: Everett Silvertips, Portland Winterhawks, Seattle Thunderbirds, Spokane Chiefs and Tri-City Americans. The broadcasts bring WHL action into 3.4 million homes across five U.S. states including Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana and Alaska. Canadian Hockey League broadcast partner Rogers Sportsnet will also feature up to eight nationally televised WHL games on ‘CHL Friday Night Hockey’ plus LIVE coverage of the 2013 SUBWAY® Super Series, 2014 CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game and the 2014 MasterCard Memorial Cup.

As in previous seasons, all 22 Clubs will provide radio broadcasts of their entire home and away schedule throughout the regular season and playoffs. All 792 WHL regular season games, as well as the entire playoff schedule, will be available for viewing on WHL LIVE webcasts with the WHL’s digital media partner NeuLion, in co-operation with the WHL’s radio broadcast partners. WHL LIVE offers an enhanced viewing experience for live and archived games, incorporating adaptive streaming technology, allowing the ability to detect a viewer’s bandwidth and seamlessly adjust the picture quality to eliminate buffering or intermittent viewing. The service also provides high quality video, and allows fans pause and rewind live games.

The Western Hockey League is also pleased to acknowledge and thank our prestige partner Kal Tire for their extensive support of the WHL and its Member Clubs. The WHL would also like to recognize our official partners RE/MAX, BMO, Sandman Hotels, Reebok, Home Hardware, Dodge, Subway and Old Dutch, Post Cereals, Denny’s, the Insurance Brokers Association of Western Canada, Travelodge and General Paint, together with our broadcast partners SHAW TV, Root Sports, Rogers Sportsnet and NeuLion

For all the up-to-date information on the WHL, visit www.whl.ca and follow the WHL on Twitter (@TheWHL) and Facebook (www.facebook.com/WHLHockey)

Scott Harrigan
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