Ready to move onto the next chapter of your own personal hockey league? Here's everything you need to DO it! The new 2017-18 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 seventh season update, we're ready for round EIGHT...
Some players have moved on. Several of the league's long-time veterans, like defensemen Antero Saarinen and Jerry Hutchinson, and right winger Jacques Lafontaine have hung up the skates. Others, like center Petr Lofgren, defenseman Doug Urbanek and right winger Maury Marcil simply weren't offered new contracts. Center Denny Roe and goalie Dom Little were among players sent down to the minors who might or might not make it back to the big-time. Others left the league under their own unique circumstances: Long-time WHL goalie Terry LoDuca accepted a college coaching role, right winger Larry Dyer moves from the ice to the front office, and defenseman Todd Zajac surprised the hockey world by announcing he's leaving the ice in the prime of his career to pursue a career in public service. Other players left under less-amenable circumstances: management wearied of left winger Austin Lillico's bad attitude, center Justin George showed up to camp dramatically out of shape, and right winger Daryl Grant balked at taking a pay cut—each was sent packing. In all, a few dozen of last year's players won't be returning for the 2017-18 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 2017-18 rookie class has a great balance of offense and defense, and you'll have fun watching these new stars take their places on your ice. Center Dan Cross's huge year in the minors (he scored 60 goals) earned him a promotion to "The Show" where he hopes to continue lighting the lamp. Forward Garry Justice wraps up a mega-successful college career and head to the WHL in hopes of pro stardom. Matt Wilm is at the head of a solid class of rookie defenders coming into the league this season, but talented youngsters like Ed Chartrand, Danny Tulley and Darren Washburn are not far behind. Insiders feel that first-team All-American goalie Kurt Parrot has all the tools to start immediately for whichever team puts him at the top of their draft list. It's completely the opposite outlook for winger Tim Calder, with club officials and coaches clashing over whether or not he's ready for pro hockey this year!
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 forward Chad Van Allen and defenseman Ross Staios—both ready to take on top-line roles in the new hockey season after a rookie season learning the ropes. In all, over 40 rookies have earned roster spots among the league's twelve teams for 2017-18. It'll be up to you to decide for whom they play, and how often!
A few names who may ring a bell—players who missed the 2016-17 season for one reason or another—will return to the ice in 2017-18. Winger Christiaan Thygesson is attempting a comeback from major knee surgery, and winger Joey Tomaszewki and defenseman Kevin Dreschler have made it back to the WHL after a year out of hockey. Forward Mikal Nurminen 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 2017-18 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 defenseman Denis Bourque, wingers Jake Hull and Todd Bergstrom, and goalie Teppo Toskala will again perform at all-league levels, while former all-stars like Maxime Galanov, Seth Stacy and Zdeno Musil now find it a struggle to hang onto a roster spot as their careers wind down. Young stars like Curt Connauton, Nick Concannon and Tony DiSalvatore continue their ascent, while 38 year-old WHL veteran Rick Craig has announced that this will be his final season. Just like real hockey, there's a fascinating story in the ebb and flow of each player's WHL career!
Forward Robbie Blanchard got the league's "hot stove" buzzing by negotiating a huge new contract—his numbers didn't really justify it, does the club know something fans don't? Winger Lucas Pennington is on a short leash after a series of questionable hits late last season, management insists that one more incident and he's done. Center Sergei Borzov suddenly seems distracted, uncomfortable—what's up with him? Goalie Troy Bussiere had a horrific pre-season—can he snap out of it once the games start to count?
Those are just SOME of the story-lines that will shape YOUR league for 2017-18!
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 2017-18 season, as well as every player from last year who won't be returning. Which player has sold more bobbleheads than anyone else? 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 2017-18 World Hockey League Update for HOCKEY BLAST Pro Hockey Game is available in either printed or PDF formats. The printed version sells for $18 postage-paid, and includes all 320 WHL player cards on easy-to-separate micro-perforated 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!