Six former members of the Kelowna Rockets have been cited among the top players in the history of the Western Hockey League.
Unveiled by this week as part of the WHL’s 50-season anniversary, Tyson Barrie, Jamie Benn, Duncan Keith, Leon Draisaitl, Tyler Myers and Shea Weber were named in a list of the top 125 players who have starred in the league since its inception in 1966-67.
The selection committee was comprised of members of the media and individuals who have demonstrated long-standing contributions to the WHL, along with members the WHL office staff.
As a part of the WHL’s 50th season celebrations, fans will have their say in October alongside the committee by way of an online vote available at www.WHL.ca. Beginning in January, the WHL will count down and release the Top 50 WHL Players of All-Time.
Here’s a look at the former Rockets in the top 125:
• Tyson Barrie
Barrie, a native of Victoria, played for the Rockets from 2006 to 2011, had 51 goals and 228 points over four-plus seasons in the WHL.
Currently a member of the Colorado Avalanche, Barrie scored the series-winning goal against Calgary in the WHL championship series in 2009.
• Jamie Benn
Benn, a native of Victoria, played two seasons in Kelowna from 2007 to 2009, scoring 79 goals and 68 assists in 107 regular season games. Like Barrie, he was a member of the WHL championship team in 2009. Benn won the NHL scoring title last season with the Dallas Stars.
• Leon Draisaitl
Draisaitl, from Cologne, Germany, spent the last half of the 2014-15 season with the Rockets after a trade from the Prince Albert Raiders. After playing 37 games with the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers, Draisaitl joined Kelowna where he scored 19 goals and 53 points in 32 games.
He led the Rockets in playoff scoring with 28 points in 19 games, and was named the MVP of both the WHL playoffs and the 2015 Memorial Cup championship in Quebec City.
• Tyler Myers
Myers, a native of Houston who also grew up in Calgary, had 17 goals and 60 assists over four seasons with the Rockets from 2005 to 2009, and was named the MVP in the WHL playoffs as Kelowna the league title. Currently with the NHL’s Winnipeg Jets, the 6-foot-8 Myers won the Calder Trophy as the NHL’s top rookie in 2010.
• Duncan Keith
Keith, from Penticton via Winnipeg, had 46 points in 37 games with the Rockets during the 2002-03 regular season, then added 14 more in 19 games in the playoffs. Keith and the Rockets won the team’s first WHL title in 2003.
As an NHL player, Keith has three Stanley Cup rings with the Chicago Blackhawks, two James Norris Trophies as the league’s top defenceman, and the Conn Smythe Trophy as the top playoff performer in the postseason.
• Shea Weber
Weber, from Sicamous, had 26 goals and 91 points in 190 games with the Rockets between 2001 and 2005. He was named the WHL playoff MVP in leading Kelowna to the 2005 league championship.
Weber is currently the captain of the Nashville Predators and has been nominated three times for the Norris Trophy as the NHL’s top defence man, but has yet to win the award.