Welcome to WHL On This Day, where we look day at notable accomplishments of Western Hockey League Alumni. On Tuesday and Thursdays, we’ll breakdown some of the best moments to take place on that specific day in WHL history, adding context to the rest of their season and career. Be sure to share your favourite moments from a specific day on social media using #WHLOTD!
2000 – Jarret Stoll, Kootenay ICE
Looking for success in Cranbrook, B.C., the Kootenay ICE made their WHL Playoffs debut in 1999, resulting in Game 7 heartbreak during the first round at the hands of the Calgary Hitmen. The following season though, they returned several key parts of their lineup, including forward Jarret Stoll. The first-overall selection at the 1997 WHL Bantam Draft, Stoll emerged as a top performing player in his second full season with 75 points (37G-38A) in 71 WHL regular season games. With Stoll, the ICE roared to the second-best record in the WHL and eventually progressed to the 2000 WHL Championship Series.
On May 12, 2000, Stoll scored the game-winning goal in Game 5 of the 2000 WHL Championship Series against the Spokane Chiefs. The ICE had taken the lead in the first period off a Wade Burt goal, but the Chiefs had tied up the game early in the third on a short-handed goal by Scott Roles. With 4:13 left in regulation, Stoll struck for the game-winning goal. After dropping the first two games of the series at home, the ICE roared to four-straight wins to capture their first WHL Championship.
The Central Division dominated the late 1990s and early 2000s, winning five of a possible six WHL Championships between 1997 and 2002. Stoll cemented his legacy as one of the legendary players in ICE history, posting 286 points (124G-162A) in 245 WHL regular season games. He added 50 points (18G-32A) in 57 WHL playoff games, later captaining the ICE to the 2002 WHL Championship and Memorial Cup. Stoll would also go on to play 872 NHL regular season games, recording 388 points (144G-244A), between the Edmonton Oilers, Los Angeles Kings, New York Rangers and Minnesota Wild. He posted 26 points (10G-16A) in 97 NHL playoff games, winning Stanley Cups with the Kings in 2012 and 2014.
2014 – Reid Petryk, Edmonton Oil Kings
After falling in the 2013 WHL Championship Series, the Edmonton Oil Kings re-tooled for another run in 2013-14. One of those additions came on October 1, 2013 when they acquired overage forward Reid Petryk from the Everett Silvertips. The Edmonton, Alta. product did more than get a chance to return to his hometown, becoming an integral part of the Oil Kings’ offence that season. Petryk tallied 56 points (17G-39A) to mark career-best figures in assists and points. When it came time for the 2014 WHL Playoffs, the Oil Kings returned to the WHL Championship Series and Petryk continued to contribute.
On May 12, 2014, Petryk scored the game-winning goal in a 4-2 win in Game 7 of the 2014 WHL Championship Series. The Winterhawks went up 1-0 in the first period of the deciding game, but the Oil Kings rallied for four goals in a 13:27 span of game play during the second period. Petryk scored Edmonton’s third goal of that stretch, counting his second goal of the entire 2014 WHL Playoffs. He remains the most recent player to score a WHL Championship-winning goal for their hometown team.
Petryk’s WHL career spanned 321 WHL regular season games with the Medicine Hat Tigers, Silvertips, and Oil Kings. In that time, he tallied 160 points (65G-95A) He also added 19 points (6G-13A) in 42 WHL playoff games. He’s played professionally since the end of his WHL career, most notably with the San Antonio Rampage of the American Hockey League. This past season, he played for Frisk Asker in Norway.
2017 – Mathew Barzal, Seattle Thunderbirds
From the moment Mathew Barzal hit the ice in the WHL with the Seattle Thunderbirds, you could tell he was going to be a special player. Barzal backed up the expectations that come with being the first-overall selection at the WHL Bantam Draft during four seasons with the Thunderbirds. Officially returned to the Thunderbirds from the New York Islanders in November 2016, the Coquitlam, B.C. product carved up defences with 79 points (10G-69A) in 41 games. After the heartache of falling in the 2016 WHL Championship Series, Barzal played a leading role in helping the T-Birds get back to that point.
On May 12, 2017, Barzal recorded three points (2G-1A) as the Thunderbirds earned a 7-4 win in Game 5 of the 2017 WHL Championship Series. With the Pats up 2-0 in the first, Donovan Neuls and Barzal scored 52 seconds apart to tie up the game. Going down 3-2 in the second, Barzal assisted on the game-tying goal by Keegan Kolesar and then scored on the power play to make it 4-3. The Thunderbirds never trailed for the rest of the game, tacking on three goals in the third to win by the three-goal margin. Two days later, the Thunderbirds hoisted the WHL Championship for the first time in their history.
Barzal took the National Hockey League by storm in the 2017-18 NHL Regular Season. He scored 85 points (22G-63A) in 82 games to earn the Calder Memorial Trophy as the NHL Rookie of the Year. The 16th-overall selection at the 2015 NHL Draft, Barzal has accrued 207 points (59G-148A) in 234 NHL regular season games to date and has established himself as one of the league’s young stars.
2019 – Jared Dmytriw, Vancouver Giants
As the top team in the WHL’s Western Conference during the 2018-19 WHL Regular Season, the Vancouver Giants certainly impressed throughout the campaign. They carried that momentum into the 2019 WHL Playoffs, advancing to the 2019 Rogers WHL Championship Series to face the Prince Albert Raiders. Down 3-1 in the series to the Raiders, most assumed the series would wrap up after five games. However, a win by the Giants sent the series back to northern Saskatchewan.
On May 12, 2019, Giants captain Jared Dmytriw scored the game-winning goal and added an assist for a multi-point game as the Giants beat the Raiders 4-2 in Game 6 of the 2019 Rogers WHL Championship Series. The Raiders had opened and closed the scoring on a four-goal first period, leaving both teams tied 2-2 and the fate of the series in the balance. Following a scoreless second, Dmytriw struck 3:40 into the final frame of regulation to provide the difference on the scoreboard. The Giants proved themselves as a formidable team. after climbing back from a 3-1 deficit in the series to push the Raiders to their limits.
The 2018-19 WHL season marked the end of Dmytriw’s WHL career. With the Victoria Royals, Rebels and Giants, Dmytriw appeared in 315 WHL regular season games, recording 114 points (59G-55A). He also added 32 points (14G-18A) in 55 WHL playoff games. The Craven, Sask. product utilized his WHL Scholarship at the University of Saskatchewan, joining the Huskies men’s hockey team. Dmytriw led all rookie scorers in Canada West, posting 28 points (10G-18A) in 28 games, earning him the Rookie of the Year Award for Canada West Men’s Hockey as well as a spot on the All-Rookie Team. Dmytriw also helped the Huskies claim the Canada West men’s hockey championship earlier this calendar year.