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 Top50.whl.ca to select the Top 50 WHL Players of All-Time. This week, the fan and panel voting results revealed the following placements:
#14 Brian Propp (Brandon Wheat Kings, 1976-79)
Propp played for the Brandon Wheat Kings from 1976 to 1979 and two of those campaigns still sit among the 10-best regular season performances in WHL history. In 1976-77, Propp finished third in League scoring behind his linemates, Bill Derlago and Ray Allison, with 135 points (55g-80a) in 72 regular season games. The WCHL Rookie of the Year had a seven-goal performance on January 25, 1977 that season which is tied for the most goals by an individual in a single game. Propp then recorded 26 playoff points (14g-12a) to help guide Brandon to the League Final. The following season, Propp earned the WCHL Top Scorer Award after amassing 182 points (70g-112a) in 70 games.
During his final year of junior hockey, Propp repeated as the League’s top scorer with 194 points (94g-100a) in 71 regular season games. His remarkable season ranks third all-time for most goals and points in a season. The Wheat Kings collected a WHL-record 125 points in 1978-79 to finish atop the regular season standings for the third year in a row. Propp was instrumental to the Wheat Kings winning their first WHL Championship in franchise history as he notched a League-best 38 points (15g-23a) in the playoffs.
At the end of his WHL career, Propp had accumulated 511 points (219g-292a) in 213 regular season games. Over his regular season career, Propp ranks fifth all-time in points, seventh all-time in goals and eighth all-time in assists. Propp’s 77 points in 46 postseason contests are tied for eighth all-time over a playoff career while his 36 goals are tied for fifth.
The Philadelphia Flyers selected Propp in the first round, 14th overall, of the 1979 NHL Draft. His NHL career lasted 15 years including 11 seasons with the Flyers. When he hung up his skates, Propp had compiled 1004 points (425-579a) in 1016 regular season games and tallied 148 playoff points (64g-84a) in 160 contests. In international competition as a member of Team Canada, the Neudorf, SK native captured the 1987 Canada Cup Championship as well as bronze medals at the 1982 and 1983 IIHF World Championships.
#13 Shea Weber (Kelowna Rockets, 2002-05)
Weber was an integral member of the Kelowna Rockets from 2002 to 2005. The Rockets were the class of the WHL during that span as Kelowna won two League titles and a Memorial Cup. As a 17-year-old rookie, Weber helped the Rockets win their first WHL Championship in franchise history. In 2003-04, Weber contributed 12 goals and 32 points in 60 games to secure a spot on the WHL’s Western Conference Second All-Star Team. The Rockets were the top team in the regular season for the second straight season that year, but Kelowna was unable to repeat as League champions. However, the Rockets would hoist the Memorial Cup as the host team as Weber was named to the tournament all-star team.
During his last year of junior hockey, Weber received CHL Second Team and WHL Western Conference First Team All-Star honours after posting 12 goals and 41 points in 55 regular season games. Weber raised his game when it mattered the most and was named the 2005 WHL Playoffs MVP. He tallied 17 points during the postseason run, including nine goals thanks in part to his legendary slap shot. Kelowna won their second WHL title in three years in 2005, while the Sicamous, BC native was also one of the 14 WHL players on Team Canada that captured gold at the 2005 IIHF World Junior Championship. It was regarded as one of the most dominant teams in the history of the event as all junior-eligible players took part in the tournament due to an NHL lockout.
At the conclusion of his WHL career, Weber had compiled 91 points (26g-65a) in 190 regular season games and 39 playoff points (13g-26a) in 54 outings. Although Weber went undrafted in the WHL Bantam Draft, he is one of the numerous graduates from a pipeline of defencemen that the Rockets have developed throughout the years. Selected in the second round by the Nashville Predators in 2003, Weber has played his entire 11-year NHL career so far in Nashville and has been the team’s captain for the past six seasons.
The 30-year-old rearguard has had the opportunity to represent his country again since graduating from the WHL. His decorated international resume includes two Olympic gold medals in 2010 and 2014, a gold medal at the 2007 IIHF World Championship as well as a silver medal at the 2009 IIHF World Championship.
#12 Bernie Federko (Saskatoon Blades, 1973-76)
Federko spent three seasons as a member of the Saskatoon Blades from 1973 to 1976. During his sophomore campaign, Federko had a breakout season and finished 13th in League scoring with 107 points (39g-68a) in 66 regular season games. The product of Foam Lake, SK then tallied a League-best 15 goals in the playoffs to help guide the Blades to the WCHL Final.
In 1975-76, Federko earned the WCHL Most Valuable Player and WCHL Top Scorer awards as well as a spot on the WCHL First All-Star Team. His 187 points (72g-115a) in 72 games that season ranks sixth all-time. Federko also led the League with 45 playoff points (18g-27a), a performance that sits fourth all-time for points in a single postseason. Despite Federko’s efforts, the Blades fell short in the WCHL Final against the New Westminster Bruins for the second year in a row.
Over his WCHL career, Federko recorded 344 points (133g-211a) in 206 regular season games and 67 postseason points (33g-34a) in 43 contests. After the Blues selected Federko seventh overall in the 1976 NHL Draft, he played the majority of his 14-year NHL career in St. Louis.
When Federko hung up his skates in 1990, he had accumulated 1130 points (369g-761a) in 1000 regular season games and notched 101 points (35g-66a) in 91 playoff outings. For all his accomplishments throughout his distinguished career, Federko was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame as part of the 2002 class. In addition, his jersey has since been retired by the Saskatoon Blades.
WHL Top 50 Players of All-Time (as of April 14th)
#12 – Bernie Federko (Saskatoon Blades, 1973-76)
#13 – Shea Weber (Kelowna Rockets, 2002-05)
#14 – Brian Propp (Brandon Wheat Kings, 1976-79)
#15 – Wendel Clark (Saskatoon Blades, 1983-85)
#16 – Jordan Eberle (Regina Pats, 2006-10)
#17 – Theoren Fleury (Moose Jaw Warriors, 1984-88)
#18 – Bill Derlago (Brandon Wheat Kings, 1974-78)
#19 – Dale Derkatch (Regina Pats, 1981-85)
#20 – Trevor Linden (Medicine Hat Tigers, 1986-88)
#21 – Rob Brown (Kamloops Junior Oilers/Blazers, 1983-87)
#22 – Brad McCrimmon (Brandon Wheat Kings, 1976-79)
#23 – Mark Recchi (New Westminster Bruins and Kamloops Blazers, 1985-88)
#24 – Clark Gillies (Regina Pats, 1971-74)
#25 – Ryan Getzlaf (Calgary Hitmen, 2001-05)
#26 – Barry Beck (New Westminster Bruins, 1974-77)
#27 – Dan Hodgson (Prince Albert Raiders, 1982-85)
#28 – Ray Allison (Brandon Wheat Kings, 1975-79)
#29 – Reggie Leach (Flin Flon Bombers, 1967-70)
#30 – Doug Wickenheiser (Regina Pats, 1977-80)
#31 – Mike Vernon (Calgary Wranglers, 1980-83)
#32 – Dennis Sobchuk (Regina Pats, 1971-74)
#33 – Jamie Benn (Kelowna Rockets, 2007-09)
#34 – Patrick Marleau (Seattle Thunderbirds, 1995-97)
#35 – Ron Chipperfield (Brandon Wheat Kings, 1970-74)
#36 – Brendan Gallagher (Vancouver Giants, 2008-12)
#37 – Shane Doan (Kamloops Blazers, 1992-95)
#38 – Brad Moran (Calgary Hitmen, 1995-2000)
#39 – Tom Lysiak (Medicine Hat Tigers, 1970-73)
#40 – Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (Red Deer Rebels, 2009-11)
#41 – Marian Hossa (Portland Winter Hawks, 1997-98)
#42 – John Davidson (Calgary Centennials, 1971-73)
#43 – Sam Reinhart (Kootenay ICE, 2011-15)
#44 – Brent Sutter (Lethbridge Broncos, 1980-82)
#45 – Pavel Brendl (Calgary Hitmen, 1998-2001)
#46 – Cliff Ronning (New Westminster Bruins, 1983-85)
#47 – Duncan Keith (Kelowna Rockets, 2002-03)
#48 – Darcy Tucker (Kamloops Blazers, 1991-95)
#49 – Ray Whitney (Spokane Chiefs, 1988-91)
#50 – Stu Barnes (New Westminster Bruins and Tri-City Americans, 1987-90)