Former Calgary Hitmen Pavel Brendl


Calgary, AB – As part of the Western Hockey League’s 50th Season celebrations, a panel of historians selected the top 125 players in WHL history this past September. From this list, WHL fans voted at to select the Top 50 WHL Players of All-Time. This week, the fan and panel voting results revealed the following placements:

#45 – Pavel Brendl (Calgary Hitmen)
#44 – Brent Sutter (Lethbridge Broncos)
#43 – Sam Reinhart (Kootenay ICE)
#42 – John Davidson (Calgary Centennials)
#41 – Marian Hossa (Portland Winter Hawks)

#45 Pavel Brendl (Calgary Hitmen, 1998-2001)

Pavel Brendl, one of the best imports to ever play in the WHL, was a member of the Calgary Hitmen from 1998-2001. He made quite an impression in his first season in the League and was selected as both the CHL and WHL Rookie of the Year. After notching a League-best 73 goals and 134 points in 68 games, Brendl took home the Bob Clarke Trophy as the Top Scorer in the WHL. Brendl continued to dominate the League in the postseason and guided the Hitmen to their first WHL Championship in franchise history. His 46 points in the 1999 WHL Playoffs are ranked second all-time for the most points in a single playoff run. The Hitmen would lose in the Memorial Cup Final, but Brendl was named to the tournament all-star team. The memorable campaign culminated with the New York Rangers selecting Brendl fourth overall in the 1999 NHL Draft.

The following season, Brendl finished second in league scoring, behind his teammate Brad Moran, with 111 points. Brendl found the back of the net 59 times to lead the WHL in goals for the second consecutive year. After Calgary was eliminated from the 2000 WHL Playoffs, Brendl captured the Calder Cup with the Hartford Wolf Pack of the AHL.

Brendl capped off his junior career by winning a gold medal for the Czech Republic at the 2001 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship. Throughout his WHL career, Brendl accumulated 320 points (172g-148a) in 178 regular season games and tallied 78 points (35g-43a) in 40 postseason appearances.

The product of Opocno, Czech Republic played for the Philadelphia Flyers, Carolina Hurricanes and Phoenix Coyotes over parts of four seasons in the NHL. The 34-year-old forward is currently playing in Slovakia after stints in the Kontinental Hockey League and Sweden. Brendl also hoisted the Spengler Cup as a member of HC Davos in 2011.

Former Lethbridge Bronco Brent Sutter middle

#44 Brent Sutter (Lethbridge Broncos, 1980-82)

Brent Sutter played for the Lethbridge Broncos from 1980-82. The Broncos developed the legendary Sutter brothers as Brent followed in the footsteps of his older brothers Brian, Darryl and Duane. Brent also got the opportunity to play with his twin brothers, Rich and Ron.

The New York Islanders selected Brent Sutter in the first round, 17th overall, of the 1980 NHL Draft after he tore up the AJHL with the Red Deer Rustlers. He also scored his first WHL goal during a brief five-game stint with the Broncos during that 1979-80 season. In 1980-81, Sutter notched 108 points (54g-54a) in 68 games to finish 15th overall in WHL scoring. The following campaign, Sutter only played 34 contests with the Broncos but still racked up 80 points (46g-34a). The Islanders called up Sutter midway through the season and he never returned to the Broncos. As a 19-year-old, Sutter was already making an impact in the NHL. He finished the regular season as a point-per-game player in 43 games and won his first Stanley Cup.

Over his WHL career, Sutter collected 189 points (101g-88a) in 107 regular season games and tallied 10 points (6g-4a) in nine playoff matches. The Viking, AB product played in the NHL for 17 seasons for the Islanders and the Chicago Blackhawks.

Brent joined his brother, Duane, on the Islanders and was a part of the dynasty that won four consecutive Stanley Cups. Brent hoisted the Stanley Cup during the last two years of that run in 1982 and 1983. When Sutter retired in 1998, he had accumulated 829 points (363g-466a) in 1111 regular season games and netted 74 playoff points (30g-44a) in 144 appearances. Sutter also captured gold medals for Team Canada at the Canada Cup in 1984, 1987 and 1991 as well as a bronze medal at the 1986 IIHF World Championship.

In 1999, Sutter became the owner of the Red Deer Rebels. The 53-year-old is currently in his second stint as the General Manager and Head Coach of the Rebels. In between, he coached the New Jersey Devils and Calgary Flames in the NHL. In 2000-01, Sutter was named the CHL and WHL Coach of the Year as well as the WHL Executive of the Year. Sutter also coached Team Canada to back-to-back gold medals at the IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship in 2005 and 2006.

Former Kootenay ICE forward Sam Reinhart

#43 Sam Reinhart (Kootenay ICE, 2011-15)

Sam Reinhart, the youngest of the three Reinhart brothers, was a member of the Kootenay ICE for four full seasons from 2011-15. As a 15-year-old affiliate player, he scored two goals in four regular season games before appearing in seven postseason matches en route to winning the 2011 WHL Championship with his brother, Max. In 2011-12, Reinhart received the Jim Piggott Memorial Trophy as the WHL’s Rookie of the Year after recording 62 points (28g-34a) in 67 games. During his NHL Draft year in 2013-14, Reinhart earned the Four Broncos Memorial Trophy as WHL Player of the Year as well as the CHL and WHL Sportsman of the Year award. His 105 points (36g-69a) in 60 games were fifth in League scoring and Reinhart was named to the WHL Eastern Conference First All-Star Team. Reinhart was also chosen to the WHL Eastern Conference Second All-Star Team in 2012-13 and 2014-15.

At the end of his WHL career, Reinhart had registered 319 points (120g-199a) in 250 regular season games. Reinhart holds the Kootenay ICE franchise record for the most assists and points in a career. In addition, he recorded 35 points (13g-22a) in 36 playoff contests. The Buffalo Sabres selected Reinhart second overall in the 2014 NHL Draft.

The 20-year-old forward is currently in his first full season with the Sabres after appearing in nine games in 2014-15. The North Vancouver, BC native also has a decorated international resume with Team Canada. Reinhart won gold medals at the 2015 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship, the 2013 IIHF U18 World Championship and the 2012 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament as well as a bronze medal at the 2012 IIHF U18 World Championship.

Former Calgary Centennial John Davidson

#42 John Davidson (Calgary Centennials, 1971-73)

Davidson was a member of the Calgary Centennials for two full seasons from 1971-73. During his rookie season in 1971-72, Davidson earned WCHL Most Valuable Player and WCHL Goaltender of the Year awards. Davidson was instrumental to the success of the Centennials as he backstopped Calgary to a first place finish in the regular season standings. He posted a League-best 2.37 goals against average, a .918 save percentage and eight shutouts in 66 appearances. After the Centennials were knocked out of the playoffs, the League-champion Edmonton Oil Kings added Davidson to their Memorial Cup roster. Even with Davidson between the pipes, the Oil Kings could not secure a victory and were eliminated from the tournament. The following campaign, Davidson was named a WCHL First Team All-Star for the second straight year as he appeared in 63 games and registered a 3.31 goals against average.

The Ottawa, ON native finished his WCHL career with a 2.83 goals against average and a 0.910 save percentage along with 10 shutouts in 130 regular season appearances. The St. Louis Blues selected Davidson in the first round, fifth overall, of the 1973 National Hockey League Draft.

Davidson recorded 123 victories in 301 games over 10 seasons in the NHL with the Blues and the New York Rangers. The 62-year-old is currently the President of Hockey Operations of the Columbus Blue Jackets after holding the same title with the Blues. Prior to his managerial career in the NHL, Davidson had a long broadcasting career. Davidson has been honoured for his contributions in broadcasting with the Foster Hewitt Memorial Award by the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2009 and the Lester Patrick Trophy by the NHL and USA Hockey in 2004.

Former Portland Winterhawk Marian Hossa

#41 Marian Hossa (Portland Winter Hawks, 1997-98)

Marian Hossa played just one season in the WHL in 1997-98. As an 18-year old, Hossa received the Jim Piggott Memorial Trophy as the WHL’s Rookie of the Year. His 85 points (45g-40a) in 53 games that year were second amongst freshman players that season. After finishing atop the regular season standings, the Portland Winter Hawks cruised through the postseason to win the WHL Championship. Hossa led the Winter Hawks with 13 goals and finished with 19 points in 16 WHL Playoff games. Portland then hoisted the Memorial Cup as Hossa was selected to the tournament all-star team after contributing nine points (5g-4a). The CHL and WHL Western Conference First Team All-Star also represented Slovakia at the 1997 and 1998 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship.

Hossa is currently in his 17th season in the NHL, playing for the Chicago Blackhawks. The Ottawa Senators selected Hossa in the first round, 12th overall, of the 1997 NHL Draft while he has also played for the Atlanta Thrashers, Pittsburgh Penguins and Detroit Red Wings.

The 37-year-old forward is part of the core of the Blackhawks that have won three Stanley Cups in a six-year span (2010, 2013 and 2015). Hossa has accumulated over 1000 points in more than 1200 regular season games so far in his NHL career and is approaching the 500-goal milestone. The product of Stara Lubovna, Slovakia has represented his country at the past four Olympic Games.


#41 – Marian Hossa (Portland Winter Hawks)
#42 – John Davidson (Calgary Centennials)
#43 – Sam Reinhart (Kootenay ICE)
#44 – Brent Sutter (Lethbridge Broncos)
#45 – Pavel Brendl (Calgary Hitmen)
#46 – Cliff Ronning (New Westminster Bruins)
#47 – Duncan Keith (Kelowna Rockets)
#48 – Darcy Tucker (Kamloops Blazers)
#49 – Ray Whitney (Spokane Chiefs)
#50 – Stu Barnes (New Westminster Bruins and Tri-City Americans)