CALGARY, Alberta – The Canadian Junior Hockey League (CJHL) is proud to report that over 920 CJHL alumni are currently playing in the National Hockey League (NHL), minor professional leagues and Canadian Hockey League (CHL).
An impressive 20% of all players on NHL rosters are alumni of the CJHL and 33% of players playing in the various other professional leagues – such as the American Hockey League (AHL) and the ECHL – honed their skills playing Junior A hockey.
Number of CJHL alumni competing at NHL, minor professional and Major Junior levels across North America (% of rosters):
- National Hockey League – 133 (20%)
- American Hockey League – 177 (22%)
- ECHL – 165 (32%)
- Central Hockey League – 119 (46%)
- Canadian Hockey League – 326 (23%)
“We are proud of the fact that a significant percentage of CJHL alumni move on to play hockey at the NHL, minor professional and Canadian Hockey League levels,” stated CJHL Executive Director Rick Morocco. “It is a testament to the quality of our ten Junior A leagues and their ability to provide elite hockey development opportunities year after year.”
A total of 133 alumni are currently playing in the NHL, including three Canadian NHL team captains – Andrew Ladd (Winnipeg Jets), Mark Giordano (Calgary Flames) and Brian Gionta (Montreal Canadiens). During the 2013 Stanley Cup Finals, CJHL alumni were well represented by a total of eight players playing for the Boston Bruins and Chicago Blackhawks.
Calgary Flames forward Joe Colborne experienced huge strides in his development as a member of the 2001 RBC Cup Champion Camrose Kodiaks (AJHL). “It was two of the best years of my life,” said Colborne. “My coach made me into a much better hockey player and a young man. Those were the biggest growth years of my entire life.”
The top development league to the NHL, the American Hockey League (AHL), has 177 CJHL alumni playing in the league accounting for 22% of all AHL player rosters. The other minor professional hockey leagues in North America, the ECHL and Central Hockey League, have 284 CJHL alumni that are currently playing on their rosters making up 37% of these leagues' players.
Cory Conacher, a Burlington Cougars (OJHL) graduate, who played parts of three seasons in the minors before ending up with the Buffalo Sabres says, “I cannot say enough about how instrumental my year in the CJHL was for my development as a hockey player and person. It allowed me to grow, both mentally and physically, and prepared me for taking the next step to the NCAA Collegiate game. I still cherish many of my friendships from my time playing Junior A and was also proud to see the success that my brother achieved in the prior to moving on to Canisius.”
Twelve players from the CJHL were selected in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft in Newark, NJ. Adam Tambellini of the Surrey Eagles (BCHL) was drafted in the second round, 65th overall, by the New York Rangers to become last year’s highest CJHL draft pick.
There are 326 CJHL alumni playing in the Canadian Hockey League. This accounts for 23% of the CHL’s player roster. The Canadian Hockey League is comprised of the Western Hockey League, Ontario Hockey League and the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.