1. Where do the players come from?
The WHL’s 22 Member Clubs are located throughout Western Canada and the Pacific Northwest region of the U.S. Players who reside in the Western Canadian provinces of Alberta, B.C., Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Northwest Territories, Yukon, and the Western U.S. states of Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Kansas, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Washington and Wyoming are within the protected territory designated to the WHL by the Canadian Hockey League (CHL). Players are eligible to be drafted or placed on the protected list of a WHL Member Club following their graduation from the Bantam age group. Those players not on WHL Club Player Protected List (PPL) are eligible to receive invitation to WHL Club tryout camps.
3. How does a player get the opportunity to play in the Western Hockey League?
Each of the member teams in the WHL has a 50 man PPL list that includes current roster players as well as players projected to be able to play for the team in the future. Once placed on the list of a member team, a player must play with that team if he wishes to play at the Major Junior level. The first opportunity to list players is in the year of their 15th birthday. The WHL conducts a draft of 15 year old players where teams can first add players to their lists. Any players who are not listed at that time, can be added to a team's list until the year of their 20th birthday. To add a player to a WHL Club PPL, a Club contacts the WHL Office and can add any player who does not appear on the list of another Major Junior team. If the team's list is filled with 50 players and they wish to add a player, they must first release a player from their protected list. Players released from a protected list are free to be added by any other WHL team after a seven day waiting period. Players must appear on a team's list in order to play a WHL regular season or playoff game.
4. Will a WHL Club contact the family when they make changes to their WHL Player Protected Lists? Yes, if a player is added or removed from a WHL Player Protected List, the WHL Club is required to notify the family within 24 hours.
5. Can players that are not listed attend training camps?
Yes. Training camps are open to players who receive an invitation from a WHL Club. Players who are not currently on a WHL Club protected list may still be invited to training camps and are free to choose which training camp they attend should they be invited to more than one.
6. How does a player get selected in the WHL Bantam Draft?
The WHL Bantam Draft, held annually by the WHL in late April or early May of each year, is similar to the National Hockey League Entry Draft in that all WHL Clubs select players in inverse order of the previous season's standings. All WHL Clubs have extensive scouting staffs that watch Bantam players across Western Canada and the Western United States. They identify top ranked talent and then select the players that they believe will one day play for their club in the WHL. The WHL Bantam Draft has become an integral part building a successful WHL program, and Clubs place a high priority on scouting.
7. What happens after a player gets selected in the WHL Bantam Draft?
After a player is chosen in the WHL Bantam Draft, the WHL Club will immediately contact the family. The player will then have the opportunity to attend the WHL Club’s rookie or main camp that coming season before returning to his midget hockey team. The WHL training camp experience acts as a opportunity for the player and his family to tour the city and facilities of the WHL Club, and meet the team staff and players. In addition, it allows the player an opportunity to evaluate his ability to play at the WHL level.
8. Where do the players live?
Players are billeted with families in the cities in which they play. The players tend to bond very quickly with the billets as they become an extended family. In most cases, the billet families become lifelong friends of the player and his family. In many cases a player is billeted with another teammate. All WHL Clubs have a billet coordinator who is responsible for screening all billet families and the accommodations each family will provide for the player. As well, prospective billets must volunteer to a criminal record check.
9. Can players be traded?
Players can be traded within the WHL up to January 10th each season. All trades are submitted and approved by the WHL Office. There is a WHL trade-freeze in affect during the holiday break.
10. Do WHL Clubs supply equipment for its players?
Yes. All WHL players are provided with all the equipment and uniforms necessary to participate in the WHL. This includes skates, sticks, protective equipment, and training apparel. The WHL is part of the CHL national hockey suppliers program which provides all Clubs with the necessary uniforms, equipment, skates, and sticks from leading suppliers.
11. Who do players look to when they need medical attention?
Each WHL Club has a full-time, fully certified medical trainer. As well, each Club has a team doctor and dentist. As well, chiropractors, massage therapists, and other specialists available to the players. All medical and dental expenses are paid for by the Club. This includes molded mouth guards, joint braces, or chiropractic care. All players are fully insured by their WHL Club through a comprehensive, national insurance policy.
12. How many Europeans can play in the WHL?
Each WHL Club is allowed a maximum of two non-North American import players on their roster. In order to be eligible to play in the WHL, import players must be drafted through the annual CHL Import Draft held in June.
13. How many 20 year olds (overage players) can a team use?
Each WHL Club is allowed a maximum of three overage, 20 year old players. WHL Clubs who have more than three overage players to start the season may continue to rotate them in and out of the lineup until October 10th at which time they must reduce their roster to three. Overage players who are released become free agents and are eligible to join another team in the WHL. From October 16th until February 10th, WHL Clubs may add an overage player, but, if they have three already, then they have to release one. February 10 of each year is the roster deadline and all players who are with a WHL Club on that date remain with the Club for the duration of the season.