My boy’s gonna play in the big leagues
It’s no secret that Saskatchewan is a hockey centre in Canada. Long winters make the prairies the perfect place for Saskatchewan boys to start preparations for careers on the ice. The province has produced many hockey stars over the years – many of whom are currently thriving in the limelight and making names for themselves – and continues to do so today,
Ryan Getzlaf, Anaheim Ducks
The 26-year-old center is one of the top players in the NHL and is still improving. After a solid junior career with the Calgary Hitmen, Getzlaf was selected 19th overall in the 2003 NHL entry draft. After a brief stint in the AHL, Getzlaf made an easy transition to the show and has never looked back. Averaging just under a point-per-game, owning a Stanley Cup ring, and an Olympic gold medal in just his sixth NHL season, Getzlaf is one of Regina’s finest. As the captain of the Ducks, Getzlaf had his best season in 2008-2009, scoring 91 points. Last year he finished 14th overall in scoring with 76 points. This year, Getzlaf will be a fixture for the Ducks and will likely have a shot at a career best season.
Jordan Eberle, Edmonton Oilers
After a stellar junior career with the Regina Pats, the 21-year-old winger has made himself a household name across Canada with his World Junior performance, particularly the infamous 5.4-second goal in the semifinals against Russia. Eberle is still Canada’s all-time leading goal scorer in the tournament and is just adding more accolades to his resume in the big leagues. Eberle had a strong rookie season with the Oilers last year and with the young team improving and becoming more mature, Eberle is one of Edmonton’s top gunners. He scored 43 points last year, but by the looks of things, that will be his lowest-ever point total in the NHL.
Chris Kunitz, Pittsburgh Penguins
The owner of two Stanley Cup rings, Kunitz is doing well in Pittsburgh after honing his skills with the Anaheim Ducks. He won a cup with the Ducks in 2007 and then with the Penguins in 2009. Growing up, Kunitz spent two years with the SJHL’s Melville Millionaires, before going on to play NCAA hockey in Ferris State. Although the left winger went undrafted, he has managed to prove himself on his way to becoming one of the Pens go-to-guys, at 32 he is averaging about 50 points per year when healthy.
Scott Hartnell, Philadelphia Flyers
The owner of one of the best flows in the hockey, Hartnell has impressed many in the NHL. The 29-year-old was born in Regina and has become a tough and tenacious forward for the Flyers over the years. Prior to his pro career, Hartnell spent time with the Lloydminster Blazers in the AJHL and then moved on to the Prince Albert Raiders of the WHL. In 2000, he was drafted by the Nashville Predators sixth overall and went on to become the youngest player in Predators’ history to play for the club. Since then, the gritty forward has found his home in front of the net, usually averaging about 50 points per year.
Tyler Bozak, Toronto Maple Leafs
The emerging 25-year-old Maple Leaf is finding his spot in the big leagues. Bozak is currently in the midst of his second full season in the NHL, following a 32-point campaign in 2010-11. Bozak took a non-traditional rout to the NHL, playing junior in the BCHL for the Victoria Salsa,then moving on to play at the University of Denver for two seasons. After his second year with the Pioneers, Bozak was a heavily-pursued free agent and the Leafs were lucky enough to land him. It is safe to project that Bozak’s point totals will only go up from here., making him an offensive force for the Leafs for years to come.
Tanner Glass, Winnipeg Jets
The gritty 27-year-old forward helped the Vancouver Canucks reach Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals in 2011 after a strong season where he played in 73 games. Glass’ work ethic and toughness make him a great fourth-line player and that’s exactly why the Jets picked him up. Glass grew up in Craven and played in the BCHL for the Penticton Panthers and Nanaimo Clippers. He then moved on to play for Dartmouth Big Green in the NCAA. After spending a few years in the minors, he moved up to play with the Florida Panthers in 2007 before moving to the Canucks in 2009, where he was able to find his role. Although Glass is not expected to score goals, he is a depth forward who will stick up for his teammates, which makes him a player that any team would love to have.