World Junior Hockey
By Adam Vickers, Sports Editor
With end of the World Junior hockey tournament we thought it would be good to get an idea where the best players for the World Junior’s come from. Players come from all over North America and Europe, but one league in particular produces the best in the world. The league that produces the most world junior hockey players for the World Junior Championship is the CHL (Canadian Hockey League). The CHL is the most competitive junior league in the world and players come from all over to play in the CHL. The CHL is organized into three leagues; the Western Hockey League (WHL), The Quebec Major Junior Hockey League(QMJHL), and the Ontario Hockey League (OHL). The WHL includes BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and Washington and is the league home to the Prince George Cougars. The QMJHL is the league local to Quebec, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island, producing notable NHL players including Sidney Crosby and Mario Lemieux. The OHL includes Ontario, Michigan, and Pennsylvania producing numerous notable NHL players, the best current alumni being Steven Stamkos.
Although there have been a large number of NHL players and world junior players being produced in the CHL, there are a few different league that do produce talented hockey players. These leagues include the Swedish Elite League (SEL), the Kontinental Hockey League, and the NCAA. The Swedish Elite League is a professional league in Europe that used to be biggest league in Europe. The SEL is not a league geared towards juniors, but they do produce a number of junior players. The Kontinental Hockey league, KHL for short, is another professional European located in Russia. The KHL used to be the Russian super league and is another league gear towards professionals and not towards junior hockey players. Probably the most well known league is the NCAA, which is the college hockey league of the United States. The NCAA produces NHL talent as well but they are often at a bit of a disadvantage because of their short seasons on comparison to the CHL, KHL, and the SEL. All these leagues produce the best NHL talent the Sedins from the SEL, Alex Ovechkin from the KHL, and Ryan Kesler from the NCAA, but as it goes, the CHL has a play represented on nearly every team in the World Junior Hockey Championships. The World Junior Hockey Championship is a great way for countries to show off their countries’ prospects to the NHL as well as give young players a chance to play for their country. As other countries become stronger so does completion to the CHL and perhaps a junior hockey league will be produced in Europe in the future.