Ready to move onto the next chapter of your own personal hockey league? Here's everything you need to DO it! The new 2016-17 World Hockey League player card update for HOCKEY BLAST Pro Hockey Board Game is NOW AVAILABLE!
In April of 2010, we introduced the World Hockey League--a fictional hockey universe where YOU are the commissioner. A roster of 320 WHL players took the ice for that inaugural season, representing a variety of abilities and playing styles. The WHL card set quickly became one of our most popular releases, evidenced by the assortment of leagues that were created, as reported on the official PLAAY Games Forum!
After a successful sixth season update, we're ready for round SEVEN ...
Some players have moved on. Several of the league's long-time veterans, like defensemen Stefan Backstrom and Yvan DuPere, center Barry Charlebois, forwards Ben Robson and Peter Franssen, and goalie Roland Cuilleriere have hung up the skates. Others, like defenseman Brock Coffil and right winger John Saavedra simply weren't offered new contracts. Defenseman Oldrich Bubla and center Tony Diamente were among players sent down to the minors who might or might not make it back to the big-time. Goalie Grant Koffler is headed to the broadcast booth, forward Adam Saint-Clair has accepted a coaching role, and left winger Ernest Saindon is opening up a sports bar. Other players left under less-amenable circumstances: center Alexandre Laverdure was dismissed for disciplinary reasons, left winger Joey Tomaszewski showed up to camp fifty pounds overweight, and defenseman Kevin Dreschler balked at taking a pay cut and was sent packing. In all, a few dozen of last year's players won't be returning for the 2016-17 WHL season.
To take the places of the departed players, a brand new crop of rookies and free-agents has signed on. Every rookie class is different, and this one has great balance.
The 2016 rookie class has some noteworthy scoring punch. Right winger Scott Dow, and left wingers Cole Trepanier and Steve Konowalchuk each have the potential to settle in among your league's scoring leaders in their rookie season. Forwards Pasi Kapanen and Dwayne Kilger show great potential, too. On defense, Dmitri Nedorost and Corey Gilchrist are top draft choices who are expected to not only start as rookies, but perhaps even star. And goalie Colin Peat has fans buzzing about some sensational performances he turned in during the pre-season.
Of course, many of this year's rookies are project players--and with a little time and experience could develop into star performers. Such was the case last year with defenseman Pete Gilles and right winger Travis Schock--both ready to take on top-line roles in the new hockey season after a rookie season learning the ropes. In all, nearly 40 rookies earned roster spots among the league's twelve teams for 2016-17.
A few names who may ring a bell--players who missed the 2015-16 season for one reason or another--will return to the ice in 2016-17. Winger Denny Logan is attempting a comeback from an injury, and right winger Richard Sirois and goalie Phil Ghozzi have made it back to the WHL after a year in the minors. Forward Anton Malik decided retirement didn't suit him well, and he's back on the ice, too, albeit in a reduced role.
Despite the tide of change just discussed, a large number of last year's players return for the 2015-16 season. As you would expect from a pro hockey league, some of those returning players are showing improved skills, some not so much...
Stars like forwards Colt Kelley and Ahren Niinimaki, center Chris Denis, defenseman Denis Bourque and goalie Teppo Toskala will again perform at all-league levels, while former all-stars like defenseman Matt Baxter and forwards Rick Craig and Wayne Osborne struggle to hang onto a roster spot as their careers wind down. Young stars like Curt Connauton, Nick Concannon and Rich Zigomanis continue their ascent, while seventeen-year WHL veteran Jerry Hutchinson has announced that this will be his final season.
Goalie Kurt Boyer is moving up in the WHL net minder hierarchy with sustained solid play. Right winger Kieran Curtis continues his reformation from enforcer to all-round defender. Defenseman Evan Harper was rewarded with a new contract for his fine play last year--how will he respond? Forwards Kent Lind and Mats Jonassen are healthy again after last year's injury issues, but are they all the WAY back? People are starting to think that maybe defenseman Rupe Odelein won't ever be the player he was drafted to be. And, is this the year that left winger Ilka Pelatola finally gets some recognition for his superb play?
Those are just SOME of the story-lines that will shape YOUR league for 2016-17!
Want to learn more about the league? We've created a free downloadable WHL Player Profile that includes detail on EVERY player in the league for the 2016-17 season, as well as every player from last year who won't be returning. Which player has the top-selling jersey in league souvenir stores? Which player had management clamoring for a contract extension--until he hurt his shoulder? Which player dishes out hits on the ice, AND off the ice in his own local rock band? A number of HOCKEY BLAST fans suggested that a publication like this would be helpful in "filling in the blanks" about the World Hockey League--it's available now!
The new 2016-17 World Hockey League Update for HOCKEY BLAST Pro Hockey Game is available in either printed or PDF formats. The printed version sells for $18, and includes all 320 WHL player cards on easy-to-separate micro-perfed card stock. The PDF edition sells for $13, and is sent right to your e-mail box, so you can print-and-play right away! Your own, personal hockey universe--endlessly entertaining, exciting, and UNIQUE to only you--is just a click away! NOW AVAILABLE!