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10 WHL GRADS IN 2013 STANLEY CUP FINAL

The 2013 Stanley Cup Final is underway as the Boston Bruins battle the Chicago Blackhawks for hockey’s most coveted prize.

10 former WHL players are among the two teams battling for the 2013 Stanley Cup, with the Bruins boasting six WHL grads who have appeared in the 2013 playoffs and four WHL grads having suited up for the Blackhawks.

The Bruins, the 2011 Stanley Cup Champions, are led by former Prince George Cougars defenceman Zdeno Chara, who is the team’s captain.  Chara, who played for the Cougars in 1996-97, has a Stanley Cup ring with the Bruins from 2011.  Former Vancouver Giants star Milan Lucic is another veteran of the Bruins’ 2011 Cup-winning team.  Lucic also has a Memorial Cup title to his name, having led the Giants to the 2007 Memorial Cup.  Two other former WHL players, Johnny Boychuk and Andrew Ference, are both gunning for their second Stanley Cup rings with the Bruins.  Boychuk played for the Calgary Hitmen and Moose Jaw Warriors, while Ference won the 1998 Memorial Cup with the Portland Winterhawks.  Former Brandon Wheat King Wade Redden is also a member of the Bruins’ defence corps on their 2013 playoff run, while former Saskatoon Blade Anton Khudobin has served as the team’s back-up goaltender in the post-season.

The Chicago Blackhawks, the 2010 Stanley Cup Champions, have four WHL graduates skating in the Western Conference finals, including three who helped the team win it all in 2010.  Marian Hossa is the sixth Memorial Cup winning WHL graduate still skating in the Stanley Cup playoffs.  Hossa was a member of the 1998 Portland Winterhawks’ Memorial Cup winning team.  He also has his Stanley Cup ring from Chicago’s 2010 playoff run.  Former Kelowna Rocket Duncan Keith is also looking for his second Cup ring with the Hawks.  Keith won the 2003 WHL Championship with the Rockets.  Former Lethbridge Hurricanes star Brent Seabrook is the third WHL grad looking for his second Stanley Cup ring with the Blackhawks, while former Swift Current Bronco Michal Rozsival is looking for his first Stanley Cup.

While the battle for the Stanley Cup continues, so does the quest for the American Hockey League’s Calder Cup.  The Syracuse Crunch, the AHL Eastern Conference Champs, are battling the West Champion Grand Rapids in the Calder Cup final.

Nine WHL Grads are two remaining teams in the Calder Cup playoffs including four on the Crunch and five on the Griffins.

The Crunch have been led by former Spokane Chiefs star Tyler Johnson.  Johnson led the Norfolk Admirals to the Calder Cup last year as an AHL rookie, and has been the key cog in Syracuse’s run to the Calder Cup final this year.  The 2013 AHL Most Valuable Player, Johnson played four years with the Spokane Chiefs.  He led the Chiefs to the 2008 WHL Championship, earning Championship series MVP honors, and then helped them win the 2008 Memorial Cup.  Also on the Crunch’s roster are former Prince George Cougar Brett Connolly, former Everett Silvertip Radko Gudas, and defenceman Brendan Mikkelson, who played for the Portland Winterhawks and Vancouver Giants, winning the 2007 Memorial Cup with Vancouver.

The Griffins feature five WHL grads in their lineup including Landon Ferraro, a former member of the Red Deer Rebels and Everett Silvertips.  Mitch Callahan helped the Kelowna Rockets win the 2009 WHL Championship, while former Moose Jaw Warrior Nathan Paetsch, former Seattle Thunderbirds and Kootenay Ice defenceman Brennan Evans, and former Lethbridge Hurricane and Vancouver Giant Triston Grant are also skating for the Griffins.

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