Comments: Is the WHL equal to the ECHL or is it considered a “junior” league to the ECHL?
Reply: Not sure it’s correct to refer to it as a junior league TO the ECHL, but it is a junior league, meaning that it is a league comprised of amateur players aged 16-20. These are players who aspire to play professional hockey, and the major junior ranks (Ontario Hockey League, Quebec Major Junior Hockey League and the Western Hockey League) are still the primary route to the NHL. The most recent figures I have seen have 50% of all NHLers coming from the OHL, QMJHL or WHL.
Those players don’t all go straight to The Show, however. Last season’s Condors playoff roster featured 11 players who played major junior, and 12 who played NCAA. Watch this summer’s NHL draft and see how many come from those three leagues (known in Canada as the Canadian Hockey League – combining all three major junior leagues under one umbrella).
-The Mailbag Guy