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Thursday, February 25, 2016

WHL releases 3 new names in Top 50 Players of All-Time

Calgary, AB - As part of the Western Hockey League’s 50th Season celebrations, a panel of historians selected the top 125 players in WHL history this past September. From this list, WHL fans voted at Top50.whl.ca to select the Top 50 WHL Players of All-Time. This week, the fan and panel voting results revealed the following placements:

#35 – Ron Chipperfield (Brandon Wheat Kings)
#34 – Patrick Marleau (Seattle Thunderbirds)
#33 – Jamie Benn (Kelowna Rockets)


#35 Ron Chipperfield (Brandon Wheat Kings, 1970-74)

Chipperfield played four seasons for his hometown Brandon Wheat Kings from 1970-74. As a 16-year-old rookie, Chipperfield buried 40 markers and was a point-per-game player. In 1971-72, he placed ninth in league scoring with 112 points (59g-53a) while his 113 points, including 72 goals, were ranked seventh in the 1972-73 scoring race. In each of those two seasons Chipperfield was named the WCHL Most Sportsmanlike Player. Chipperfield had a sensational final season in junior as he earned both the WCHL Most Valuable Player and WCHL Top Scorer Award. The WCHL First Team All-Star tallied 162 points in 66 regular season games and his 90-goal campaign sits fifth all-time for most goals in a season.

Over his WCHL career, Chipperfield ranks second all-time with 261 goals and 11th all-time with 470 points in 252 regular season games. In addition, he notched 17 points (9g-8a) in 17 postseason appearances. Although Chipperfield was selected in the first round, 17th overall, of the 1974 National Hockey League Draft by the California Golden Seals, he started his pro career with the World Hockey Association.

Chipperfield spent five seasons in the WHA with the Vancouver Blazers, Calgary Cowboys and Edmonton Oilers. At the conclusion of his WHA career, Chipperfield had accumulated 330 points (153-177a) in 369 regular season games and he also was a point-per-game player in the playoffs with 30 points in 28 games. Chipperfield made his NHL debut when the Oilers joined the NHL as part of the WHA-NHL merger in 1979. He also played for the Quebec Nordiques before ending his career in Italy.

#34 Patrick Marleau (Seattle Thunderbirds, 1995-97)

After the Seattle Thunderbirds selected Marleau sixth overall in the 1994 Bantam Draft, he played two seasons for the Thunderbirds from 1995-97. As a 16-year old rookie, Marleau was already a difference maker as he found the back of the net 32 times. He placed fifth among freshman skaters with 74 points in 72 games that season. In his sophomore campaign, Marleau sat third in league scoring with 125 points (51g-74a) in 71 regular season games. The CHL Second Team All-Star and WHL Western Conference First Team All-Star also tallied 23 postseason points to lead the Thunderbirds to the WHL Final.

In his WHL career, Marleau collected 199 points (83g-116a) in 143 regular season games and 30 points (10g-20a) in 20 playoff contests. San Jose selected Marleau second overall in the 1997 National Hockey League Draft and he immediately joined the Sharks as an 18-year-old. Since then, Marleau has played his entire 18-year NHL career with San Jose.

The 36-year-old has accumulated over 1000 points in more than 1300 regular season games so far in his NHL career. The product of Swift Current, SK is a two-time Olympic gold medalist for Team Canada in 2010 and 2014. In addition, Marleau captured gold medals at the 2003 IIHF World Championship and the 2004 World Cup of Hockey as well as a silver medal at the 2005 IIHF World Championship.

#33 Jamie Benn (Kelowna Rockets, 2007-09)

Benn spent two seasons from 2007-09 as a member of the Kelowna Rockets. As an 18-year-old rookie, Benn notched 33 goals and 65 points in 51 games. In 2008-09, Benn finished among the top 15 in WHL scoring with 46 markers and 82 points in 56 regular season games. The WHL Western Conference First Team All-Star tallied a league-best 33 points (13g-20a) in the 2009 WHL Playoffs to lead the Rockets to their third WHL Championship in franchise history. After a nine-point (5g-4a) performance at the MasterCard Memorial Cup, Benn received the Ed Chynoweth Trophy for leading the tournament in scoring as well as a spot on the tournament all-star team. Benn was also a member of Team Canada’s gold medal-winning team at the 2009 IIHF World Junior Championship.

Throughout his WHL career, Benn registered 147 points (79g-68a) in 107 regular season games and 44 points (16g-28a) in 26 playoff outings. The 6-2, 210 lb forward was chosen by the Dallas Stars in the fifth round of the 2007 NHL Draft.

The 26-year-old captain of the Stars is in his seventh season in the NHL. During his first season in the pros, Benn joined the Texas Stars in the American Hockey League after the Dallas Stars failed to qualify for the NHL playoffs. Benn guided the Texas Stars all the way to the Calder Cup Final as he led the Club in postseason scoring. In 2014-15, Benn earned the Art Ross Trophy for the most points in an NHL season. He won the scoring race in dramatic fashion after a four-point night in the final game of the regular season. The Victoria, BC native also captured a gold medal for Team Canada at the 2014 Olympics.

TOP 50 WHL PLAYERS OF ALL-TIME

#33 – Jamie Benn (Kelowna Rockets)
#34 – Patrick Marleau (Seattle Thunderbirds)
#35 – Ron Chipperfield (Brandon Wheat Kings)
#36 – Brendan Gallagher (Vancouver Giants)
#37 – Shane Doan (Kamloops Blazers)
#38 – Brad Moran (Calgary Hitmen)
#39 – Tom Lysiak (Medicine Hat Tigers)
#40 – Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (Red Deer Rebels)
#41 – Marian Hossa (Portland Winter Hawks)
#42 – John Davidson (Calgary Centennials)
#43 – Sam Reinhart (Kootenay ICE)
#44 – Brent Sutter (Lethbridge Broncos)
#45 – Pavel Brendl (Calgary Hitmen)
#46 – Cliff Ronning (New Westminster Bruins)
#47 – Duncan Keith (Kelowna Rockets)
#48 – Darcy Tucker (Kamloops Blazers)
#49 – Ray Whitney (Spokane Chiefs)
#50 – Stu Barnes (New Westminster Bruins and Tri-City Americans)

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