Catch You On The Rebound - The Rest of the Best
In a previous issue of YMM (Volume 4, Issue 2) I selected the Top 10 hockey players ever to come out of Fort McMurray and they were in order from No. 1 to No. 10: Chris Phillips, Scottie Upshall, Dan Hodgson, Nolan Pratt, Colin Murphy, Brian Shantz, Bobby Stewart, Daryl Harpe, Jarret Lukin and Paul Strand.
With so much local talent, why stop at 10?
So here are the rest the best from No. 11 – No. 20 with honourable mentions.
No. 11 – Harlan Pratt
Drafted by Pittsburgh Penguins Round 5 #124 overall 1997 NHL Entry Draft, Harlan Pratt played 15 years of minor league hockey but left Fort McMurray around the age of 10 or 11, so just qualified by a blade for the list. Played solid D for 16 different teams with more than 900 games under skate!
No. 12 – Shawn Wheeler
Shawn Wheeler was part of part of back-to-back NCAA titles 1988-1990 at the University of Wisconsin Stevens Point and would play eight years in the minors, in which he had three years of 70 points or more! He would make history as one of the first African Americans to coach hockey in the minor leagues while with the Charlotte Checkers.
No. 13 – Trevor Buchanan
A 1989 199th draft pick by the Hartford Whalers, Trevor Buchanan had a 13-year career in the minors, majority of the time in Louisiana with the Shreveport Mudbugs. Also played four years of professional roller hockey and was a fulltime assistant coach with the Mudbugs from 2004-2009. A hardnosed forward who could also score, attested by eight years of 50 points plus seasons, highlighted goals 45 assists in 1998-1999, Buchanan also spent time in the penalty box with six seasons of 250 plus minutes with a high of 422.
No. 14 – Peter Headon
Peter Headon was drafted by Edmonton Oilers, Round 11 230 pick overall, 1985 NHL Entry Draft, and played for Boston University from 1985-1989. A stand out in local minor hockey.
No. 15 – Dan Stewart
Part of the Stewart playing brothers (Bobby at No. 7 and Jay, also star players in their own right) Dan played NCCA hockey at Miami University (Ohio) and now enters his 14th year of lacing up the skates professionally. He recently set a record for durability as having played the most games for an international hockey player in Great Britain’s Elite Ice Hockey League. He now plays for Fife Flyers in Kirkcaldy, Scotland.
No. – 16 Chris Lafreniere
Standout defenseman in the WHL, who also played three years of pro roller hockey, only suited up for one year of pro hockey but is recognized by local players, coaches and fans as an outstanding talent. A member of the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference All Decade team 1975-1985 when playing for the Mount Royal College Cougars.
No. 17 – T.J. Campbell
Part of the Campbell playing brothers (Brett and Drew) T.J. Campbell was team captain for the University of Alaska Fairbanks Nanooks. A team that showcased the talents of four former Fort McMurray Oil Barons in 2007-2008 with Campbell, Derek Klassen, Landon Novotney and Jeff Young. Campbell would go on two play two years in the ECHL with the Utah Grizzlies and Phoenix Roadrunners.
No. 18 – Brad Mueller
Part of the Oil Barons train that would send players to Michigan Tech., Brad Mueller played five years in the CHL. His best season was 2001-2002 with 18 goals and 41 assists for the Memphis Riverkings.
No. 19 – A.J. Aitken
Teammates with Brad Mueller on the Oil Barons and then four years at Michigan Tech. Reunited in CHL for three years in Memphis. Enters year No. 13 as a coach in NCAA hockey...of which 10 are with the St. Norbert College Green Knights.
No. 20 – Suzette Gillingham
Star female player who could skate and score. Women’s hockey was not big time when she was in her prime as she would have become a household name across Canada.
Honourable mentions: Ron Foy, Gates Generieux, Calvin Morrison, Brett Phillips and Tyler Romanchuk. Catch you on the rebound!