After leading the Western Hockey League (WHL) in scoring for much of the season, South Surrey’s Trevor Cox finished the season in the runner-up position.
Playing left wing in his fourth WHL season, the 19 year-old enjoyed his most productive season with the Medicine Hat Tigers, scoring 29 goals and adding 80 assists for 109 points. Only Oliver Bjorkstrand of the Portland Winterhawks had more points, scoring 63 times and adding 55 assists for 118 points.
In 268 games over four years in Medicine Hat, Cox has tallied 80 goals and amassed 244 points.
He is one of two local players on the Tigers roster, and 14 from the Surrey/North Delta area playing major roles on WHL teams this season.
Matt Bradley, a centre, made the team as a 17-year-old and scored 17 goals and totaled 40 points while playing in 71 of 72 regular season games. He finished 11th among rookies in points, and fifth in goals scored.
The Tigers, the second-place team in the WHL’s Central Division, will face-off against the Red Deer Rebels in a best-of-seven first-round playoff series.
“Playoffs are a different season and anything can happen. We’ve shown that in past years, knocking off higher seeded teams than we were seeded, so anything can happen,” Cox told the Medicine Hat News. “They’re a really good team, we’ve got to respect them and they’re going to come at us hard. Over the next few days we’ll come up with a game plan and figure out a way to beat these guys.”
The Kelowna Rockets boast a pair of Surrey skaters on their blue line as they begin their playoff run against the Tri-City Americans, who have Cloverdale’s Parker Wotherspoon on defense.
Riley Stadel, 18, tallied 10 goals and 43 points in 71 games while in his third season in Kelowna, while 17-year-old Devante Stephens tallied four times and added seven assists in 64 games played in his rookie year. Wotherspoon, in his second season with the Americans, was their leading scorer among defenders with nine goals and 42 points.
The Rockets were runaway winners of the B.C. Division with a 53-13-6 record for 112 points, 30 better then the second-place Victoria Royals, who have 17-year-old Tyler Soy of Cloverdale playing centre. Soy completed his second season in the provincial capital with 28 goals and 63 points, and Sunday was named winner of the team’s Unsung Hero award.
Tristan Jarry will lead the Edmonton Oil Kings into the postseason, a year after he was part of their Memorial Cup championship team.
Jarry played in 55 games, posting a 2.74 goals against average to rank seventh among WHL net minders. The 19 year-old North Delta native had a save percentage of .907, ninth-best in the league. On Tuesday, he was named the Oil Kings’ Most Valuable Player.
Another North Delta native, Nic Petan of the Portland Winterhawks, worked his way up to seventh in the scoring race. Petan played just 54 games, missing time at the start of the season while in a preseason camp with the Winnipeg Jets, and again just after Christmas while winning a gold medal with Team Canada at the World Junior Hockey Championships in Toronto and Montreal.
Petan was drafted 43rd overall overall in the 2013 National Hockey League Entry Draft, claimed by the Jets in the second round. He was one selection ahead of Jarry, who was drafted by the Pittsburgh Penguins 44th overall.
One of Jarry’s teammates in Edmonton is David Koch of White Rock, who managed to get into 52 games for the Oil Kings as a 16-year-old rookie. The former Valley West Hawk scored 11 times and added 14 assists.
Austin Vetterl, 20, has played his last regular season game in the WHL, but will be with the Kootenay Ice when they begin their playoff series with the Calgary Hitmen. Vetterl, who began his WHL career with the Vancouver Giants, had a career-best 13 goals and 39 points in Cranbrook.
In Regina, 17-year-old defenceman Colton Kroeker of Surrey will play his first playoff game
Kroeker tallied three goals and six points in 52 games with the Pats.
The Seattle Thunderbirds will also have a pair of local players on their defense for the postseason. Surrey’s Jerret Smith, 19, played in all 72 games, scoring 11 goals and 38 points in his third season with Seattle. Cloverdale’s Sahvan Khaira, 17, netted a goal and two assists in 43 games on the T-Birds blue line.
Arvin Atwal won’t be seeing any playoff action. The 19 year-old form North Delta completed his third season with the Giants, establishing career-bests in goals (six), assists (19) and points (25). The Giants, however, finished in the B.C. Division basement and missed the playoffs.