Portland Winterhawks News – A Draft, A Signing And 3 Departures

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Even though the sports world has seemingly grinded to a halt, there have been other events going on off the ice that do warrant attention.

It started with two drafts. There was to have been a US-only prospect showcase in Kent, WA, which of course was cancelled, but the draft went on this past week. Two California natives, Alex Weiermair and Jason Zaccari, were drafted. Alex was drafted late in the first round and Jason went seventh in the second round. Because they were born in 2005, they are not eligible for full-time status with the Hawks except for five games during the season and regularly when their season’s end. Alex is a forward who skated with the Power Edge Pro camp featuring some of the most gifted players in North America. Jason is a defenceman who is a standout in the Anaheim Junior Ducks organization. 

Both are smaller at 5’9″, but as has been the case, they grow very quickly in the organization. They will appear at the Winterhawks camp and will have to be signed for them to play in any of the tournament games in Everett and Kennewick.

After laying claim to the captaincy of the Portland Winterhawks this season, John Ludvig flew out of the gate. After being drafted by the Florida Panthers early in the third round, Ludvig scored 62 points including 17 goals for Portland. Ludvig also was named the Best Defensive Winterhawk and the Winterhawks Award for Character, Leadership, Heart and Soul in 2019/20. Ludvig was rewarded with an Entry Level Contract for the Panthers ahead of the NHL Draft.

Ludvig is still eligible to play for the Winterhawks as he would return as an overager should Florida wish to reassign him. As an overager, he is also able to join the AHL or ECHL as a pro player should the Panthers wish to go that direction.

The Winterhawks also created a video expressing their well wishes for departing players. Usually during the team awards night, the three players who will age out from the league are photographed with their jerseys with the President of the team Doug Piper. However, with the Stay at Home order, the three players will not be able to do this. The Winterhawks made a  video for each player as he departed the team as part of the Scotty Munro team with the best overall record. Combined, they have played 759 games with a total of 312 points 116 goals and 196 assists. None of the three has yet been drafted or signed by an NHL team.

Next up for the Hawks will be figuring out the overage players for the upcoming season, Currently, forward Mason Mannek, defenceman Nick Ciecek and John Ludvig along with goaltender Joel Hofer would be the overage players from the Winterhawks heading into the next camp. Both Hofer and Luvig have signed with their NHL clubs. 

CHL President Dan MacKenzie issued a statement this past week:

To the Canadian Hockey League family,

I know this has been a difficult and emotional few weeks from uncertainty to sudden disappointment given the cancellation of our season, playoffs, and Memorial Cup championship.

Eight months ago when I stepped into this role I was excited to be part of one of hockey’s greatest traditions in Kelowna when I would have the opportunity to present the Memorial Cup to our league’s best for the 102nd straight year.

To win a championship takes teamwork, strength of character, and commitment.  And even though hockey has been put on hold, I’m encouraged by how these qualities have continued to shine brightly from coast-to-coast as we face challenges far bigger than sport.

Teamwork in the way that our league’s leaders and 60 clubs came together with the shared goal of doing what’s best to preserve the safety and well-being of our players, their families, staff, and fans.  Persevering through this pandemic is a test of character but already countless individuals have shown strength in how they’ve supported one another and continued to serve as role models for those around them.  And as we move forward, our efforts will turn to building all facets of our league with a commitment to delivering a new season filled with positive experiences for all of our stakeholders.

I would like to thank our teams, coaches, billets, league and team staff, and most importantly our players for their dedication this season and for the many great moments we’re so fortunate to have enjoyed.  I wish those graduating the best of luck in your next chapters, whether they be in professional hockey or academic fields, and hope that the skills you developed both on and off the ice serve you well in your future pursuits.

Thank you to our partners for your ongoing support, for helping us make a difference in our communities, and for enhancing our league and player environment.

And thank you to our passionate fans.  You are truly the ones who make the CHL special.

Until our next puck drops, I wish everyone lots of love, safety, and good health.  We’re in this together.

Yours in hockey,

Dan MacKenzie

President, Canadian Hockey League

While the world waits, hockey fans are chomping at the bit to start again, and the Hawks would especially be in this group as they look to defend their newly won Scotty Monroe trophy.

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About Author

Stuart Kemp is the President of the Portland Winterhawks Booster Club since 2008 and has been following hockey from his native Canada since he can remember, though he can't skate, but played road hockey for several years. Loving hockey and professional wrestling, he has traveled to most of the WHL cities and with wrestling, has seen four provinces and five states. It is true that every Canadian city with more than 500 residents has a hockey rink, well at least it looks that way. Stuart has had his hand in every facet of independent Professional wrestling as he debuted as an announcer in 1986 which started his career.

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