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:
#17 – Theoren Fleury (Moose Jaw Warriors)
#16 – Jordan Eberle (Regina Pats)
#15 – Wendel Clark (Saskatoon Blades)
#17 Theoren Fleury (Moose Jaw Warriors, 1984-1988)
Fleury joined the Moose Jaw Warriors when the Club relocated from Winnipeg in the 1984-85 campaign. During his rookie season, Fleury tallied 75 points in 71 games to finish sixth in scoring among freshmen. The following year, Fleury eclipsed the 100-point mark in just his second season. In 1986-87, Fleury earned a spot on the WHL Eastern Conference First All-Star Team after placing fifth in League scoring with 129 points (61g-68a) in 66 games.
In his final junior season, Fleury tied with Joe Sakic for the WHL’s Top Scorer award as both players had 160 points. Fleury was also named a WHL East Second Team All-Star that season as the captain of the Warriors found the back of the net 68 times in 65 games. Moose Jaw failed to qualify for the 1988 WHL playoffs, so Fleury joined the Salt Lake Golden Eagles of the International Hockey League where he helped the team capture the Turner Cup Championship. Fleury also won a gold medal for Team Canada at the 1988 IIHF World Junior Championship.
In his WHL career, Fleury accumulated 472 points (201g-271a) in 274 regular season games. Over his regular season career, Fleury ranks 10th all-time in points, 11th all-time in goals and 13th all-time in assists. In addition, he recorded 36 playoff points (14g-22a) in 22 contests. His jersey has since been retired by the Moose Jaw Warriors as Fleury holds the Club record for most goals, assists and points. The Calgary Flames took a chance on the 5-6, 180 lb forward in the eighth round of the 1987 NHL Draft. It proved to be a bargain as Fleury played 11 of his 15 seasons in the NHL with the Flames.
During his NHL rookie season in 1989, Fleury hoisted the Stanley Cup with the Flames. At the end of his NHL career, Fleury had collected 1088 points (455g-633a) in 1084 regular season games and notched 79 points (34g-45a) in 77 postseason outings. The Oxbow, SK native was also a member of Team Canada’s gold medal-winning teams at the 2002 Olympics and the 1991 Canada Cup. In addition, he won a silver medal at the 1991 IIHF World Championship.
#16 Jordan Eberle (Regina Pats, 2006-2010)
Eberle played four seasons with his hometown Regina Pats from 2006 to 2010. As a sophomore, Eberle earned the Daryl K. (Doc) Seaman Trophy as the WHL’s Scholastic Player of the Year in 2007-08. The WHL Eastern Conference First Team All-Star notched 42 markers and 75 points in 70 games that season. During the 2009 IIHF World Junior Championship, Eberle provided one of the most memorable moments for Team Canada in tournament history. In the semi-final game against Russia, Eberle tied the game with 5.4 seconds left before scoring the winner in the shootout. Canada went on to win its fifth consecutive gold medal.
In his last year of junior hockey, Eberle was named the CHL and WHL Player of the Year. After finishing second in the scoring race with 106 points (50g-56a) in 57 games, Eberle received CHL and WHL Eastern Conference First Team All-Star honours. Eberle added a 2010 IIHF World Junior Championship silver medal to his trophy case after Canada lost in overtime in the final game of the tournament. The clutch performer holds the Team Canada record for most career goals at the tournament with 14 tallies.
At the conclusion of his WHL career, Eberle had collected 310 points (155g-155a) in 254 regular season games and 13 playoff points (4g-9a) in 11 outings. The Edmonton Oilers selected Eberle in the first round, 22nd overall, in the 2008 NHL Draft.
The 25-year-old forward is currently in his sixth season with the Oilers. Eberle also won gold medals for Team Canada at the 2015 IIHF World Championship and the 2012 IIHF U18 World Championship. Eberle’s jersey now hangs in the rafters of the Brandt Centre in Regina after the Pats retired his number.
#15 Wendel Clark (Saskatoon Blades, 1983-1985)
Before Clark plied his trade as a forward in the NHL, he patrolled the blueline for two seasons with the Saskatoon Blades from 1983 to 1985. During his freshman season, Clark was among the top-10 in both rookie and defencemen scoring with 68 points (23g-45a) in 72 games. In 1984-85, Clark received the WHL Defenceman of the Year award along with a spot on the WHL Eastern Conference First All-Star Team. Clark recorded 32 goals and 87 points to finish third in defencemen scoring that season. The product of Kelvington, SK was also a member of Team Canada’s gold medal-winning team at the 1985 IIHF World Junior Championship.
Throughout his WHL career, Clark registered 155 points (55g-100a) in 136 regular season games and six points (3g-3a) in three postseason appearances. After the Maple Leafs picked Clark first overall in the 1985 NHL Draft, he played the majority of his 15-year NHL career in Toronto. He is one of only eight WHL players that have been selected first overall in the NHL Draft.
Clark joined the Maple Leafs as a 19-year-old and quickly made the transition from the blueline to forward. When he retired in 2000, Clark had compiled 564 points (330g-234a) in 793 regular season games and amassed 69 playoff points (37g-32a) in 95 contests. His jersey has since been retired by the Saskatoon Blades.
WHL Top 50 Players of All-Time (as of April 7th)
#15 - Wendel Clark (Saskatoon Blades, 1983-85)
#16 - Jordan Eberle (Regina Pats, 2006-10)
#17 - Theoren Fleury (Moose Jaw Warriors, 1984-88)
#18 - Bill Derlago (Brandon Wheat Kings, 1974-78)
#19 - Dale Derkatch (Regina Pats, 1981-85)
#20 - Trevor Linden (Medicine Hat Tigers, 1986-88)
#21 - Rob Brown (Kamloops Junior Oilers/Blazers, 1983-87)
#22 - Brad McCrimmon (Brandon Wheat Kings, 1976-79)
#23 - Mark Recchi (New Westminster Bruins and Kamloops Blazers, 1985-88)
#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)