The Western Hockey League is celebrating its 50th season by selecting the top 125 players in its history, and three West Kootenay boys have made the grade.
Trail’s Ray Ferraro and Todd Robinson are on the list as is Nelson’s Danny Gare who played with the Calgary Centennials from 1971-74.
Ferraro split his two year WHL career between the Portland Winterhawks and Brandon Wheat Kings. The five-foot-nine forward was a prolific scorer in junior hockey, that included his MVP and top-scoring season where he tallied a 108 goals and 192 points for the Wheat Kings in 1983–84. He also was a member of the 1982–83 Winterhawks squad that won the WHL championship.
Ferraro’s NHL career spanned 18 seasons, playing with the Hartford Whalers, New York Islanders, New York Rangers, Los Angeles Kings, Atlanta Thrashers, and retiring with the St. Louis Blues in 2002. In 1,258 games, Ferraro scored 408 goals, 490 assists and 898 points.
Todd Robinson meanwhile was rookie of the year in the WHL in 1995 and won the Bobby Clarke trophy for the league’s top scorer in 1996-97 netting 38 goals and 134 points in 71 games for Portland Winterhawks. Robinson, a consummate playmaker, played five seasons in the WHL, and went on to play 15 years of professional hockey with 13 different organizations over seven different leagues. Over that time he tallied 1,546 points (402 goals and 1,144 assists) to go along with an incredible plus-133 rating in 1,125 career games played.
As for Gare, after three seasons with the Centennials, he went onto a 14 year NHL career, most notably eight seasons with the Buffalo Sabres where he had two 50-goal seasons, and five with the Detroit Red Wings, before playing his final season, 1986-87, with the Edmonton Oilers. Gare’s stats included 354 goals and 331 assists for 685 points in 827 NHL games.
The list includes the best WHL players from the League’s inception in 1966 through to players that suited up as recently as last season. In total: 88 forwards, 27 defencemen, and 10 goaltenders made the list. Players were selected based on a combination of the impact they had while playing in the WHL and their careers upon graduating from the League.
As a part of the WHL’s 50th Season celebrations, fans can have their say in October alongside the committee by way of an online vote available at www.WHL.ca. The results will be released in January, when the WHL will count down the Top 50 WHL Players of All-Time.
The committee was comprised of members of the media and individuals who have demonstrated long-standing contributions to the WHL, along with WHL Office staff.