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:
#26 – Barry Beck (New Westminster Bruins)
#25 – Ryan Getzlaf (Calgary Hitmen)
#24 – Clark Gillies (Regina Pats)
#26 Barry Beck (New Westminster Bruins, 1974-77)
Beck was an integral member of the New Westminster Bruins from 1974 to 1977. The Bruins dynasty won four consecutive League titles from 1975-78 with Beck patrolling the blueline for the first three championship teams. The 6-3, 215 lb defenceman was arguably one of the toughest players in the League on what was regarded as the WHL’s toughest team. During his sophomore season in 1975-76, Beck and his teammate Brad Maxwell tied for second in scoring amongst defencemen with 99 points (19g-80a) apiece. The Bruins were the top team in the regular season that year and went on to repeat as League champions, but New Westminster could not capture their first Memorial Cup.
In 1976-77, Beck received the WCHL Most Valuable Player and WCHL Defenceman of the Year awards. Beck supplied 62 points (16g-46a) in 61 games to secure a spot on the WCHL First All-Star Team for the second year in a row. The third time was a charm for the Bruins as New Westminster finally claimed the Memorial Cup after winning its third straight WCHL Championship. Beck was dominant at the Memorial Cup as he notched eight points (3g-5a) in the tournament. He earned the Stafford Smythe Memorial Trophy as the Memorial Cup MVP and was also named to the tournament all-star team.
Over his WCHL career, Beck collected 203 points (44g-159a) in 189 regular season games and 35 playoff points (11g-24a) in 47 outings. Following his success in New Westminster, the Colorado Rockies selected Beck second overall in the 1977 NHL Draft.
Beck spent 10 seasons in the NHL with the Rockies, New York Rangers and Los Angeles Kings. At the end of his NHL career, Beck had registered 355 points (104g-251a) in 615 regular season games and amassed 33 points (10g-23a) in 51 postseason contests. The Vancouver, BC product represented his country at the 1981 Canada Cup where Team Canada finished second.
#25 Ryan Getzlaf (Calgary Hitmen, 2001-05)
Getzlaf spent four seasons from 2001 to 2005 as a member of the Calgary Hitmen. As an 18-year-old, Getzlaf finished among the top 15 in WHL scoring with 75 points (28g-47a) in only 49 games. He earned a WHL Eastern Conference First Team All-Star nod that season and also won a silver medal for Team Canada at the 2004 IIHF World Junior Championship. In his final year of junior hockey, the captain of the Hitmen notched 54 points (29g-25a) in 51 games and was named to the WHL East Second All-Star Team. Getzlaf was also one of the 14 WHL players on Team Canada’s gold medal-winning team at the 2005 IIHF World Junior Championship. It was one of the most dominant teams in the history of the event as all junior-eligible players took part in the tournament due to the NHL lockout.
At the conclusion of his WHL career, Getzlaf had accumulated 215 points (95g-120a) in 233 regular season games and 28 points (12g-16a) in 31 playoff contests. The Anaheim Ducks selected the 6-4, 221 lb forward in the first round, 19th overall, of the 2003 NHL Draft.
The 30-year-old captain of the Ducks is in his 11th season in the NHL. In 2007, Getzlaf lifted the Stanley Cup in only his second season in the NHL. The Regina, SK product is a two-time Olympic gold medalist for Team Canada in 2010 and 2014 and also won a silver medal at the 2008 IIHF World Championship. Getzlaf’s jersey now hangs in the rafters of the Scotiabank Saddledome as the Hitmen inducted him as the inaugural member of the Forever A Hitmen program.
#24 Clark Gillies (Regina Pats, 1971-74)
Gillies played for the Regina Pats for three seasons from 1971 to 1974. As a 17-year-old rookie, Gillies netted 31 goals and 79 points in 68 regular season games before helping the Pats advance all the way to the League final. The rugged 6-3, 210 lb forward followed that season by racking up 92 points (40g-52a) in 68 games during the 1972-73 campaign. In his final year of junior hockey, Gillies finished 10th in the scoring race with 112 points (46g-66a) in 65 regular season games. The WCHL First Team All-Star then notched 17 points in the 1974 WCHL Playoffs as the Pats captured the League title. Regina also became the first team in League history to be crowned Memorial Cup champions after a 7-4 comeback win in the final at the Calgary Corral.
Throughout his WCHL career, Gillies accumulated 283 points (117g-166a) in 201 regular season games and 35 points (14g-21a) in 35 postseason contests. Following his success in Regina, the New York Islanders selected Gillies fourth overall in the 1974 NHL Draft.
Gillies was an integral member of the Islanders dynasty that won four consecutive Stanley Cups from 1980 to 1983. At the end of his 14-year NHL career, Gillies had collected 697 points (319g-378a) in 958 regular season games and amassed 94 playoff points (47g-47a) in 164 outings. The native of Moose Jaw, SK represented his country at the 1981 Canada Cup as Team Canada finished in second place at the event. For all his accomplishments throughout his decorated hockey career, Gillies was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame as part of the 2002 class. In addition, his jersey has since been retired by the Regina Pats.
WHL Top 50 Players of All-Time (as of March 17th)
#24 - Clark Gillies (Regina Pats, 1971-74)
#25 - Ryan Getzlaf (Calgary Hitmen, 2001-05)
#26 - Barry Beck (New Westminster Bruins, 1974-77)
#27 - Dan Hodgson (Prince Albert Raiders, 1982-85)
#28 - Ray Allison (Brandon Wheat Kings, 1975-79)
#29 - Reggie Leach (Flin Flon Bombers, 1967-70)
#30 - Doug Wickenheiser (Regina Pats, 1977-80)
#31 - Mike Vernon (Calgary Wranglers, 1980-83)
#32 - Dennis Sobchuk (Regina Pats, 1971-74)
#33 - Jamie Benn (Kelowna Rockets, 2007-09)
#34 - Patrick Marleau (Seattle Thunderbirds, 1995-97)
#35 - Ron Chipperfield (Brandon Wheat Kings, 1970-74)
#36 - Brendan Gallagher (Vancouver Giants, 2008-12)
#37 - Shane Doan (Kamloops Blazers, 1992-95)
#38 - Brad Moran (Calgary Hitmen, 1995-2000)
#39 - Tom Lysiak (Medicine Hat Tigers, 1970-73)
#40 - Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (Red Deer Rebels, 2009-11)
#41 - Marian Hossa (Portland Winter Hawks, 1997-98)
#42 - John Davidson (Calgary Centennials, 1971-73)
#43 - Sam Reinhart (Kootenay ICE, 2011-15)
#44 - Brent Sutter (Lethbridge Broncos, 1980-82)
#45 - Pavel Brendl (Calgary Hitmen, 1998-2001)
#46 - Cliff Ronning (New Westminster Bruins, 1983-85)
#47 - Duncan Keith (Kelowna Rockets, 2002-03)
#48 - Darcy Tucker (Kamloops Blazers, 1991-95)
#49 - Ray Whitney (Spokane Chiefs, 1988-91)
#50 - Stu Barnes (New Westminster Bruins and Tri-City Americans, 1987-90)