In my weekly Texas Stars notebook I took a look Mike Hedden’s career year and his path from Division III Neumann College to the AHL.
While it’s not unheard of, it’s rare for Division III players to produce professional careers beyond the ECHL or a minor stint in the AHL. This got me thinking, how was 2013-14 Texas Stars roster developed?
Not from an acquisition standpoint, but rather from a “How did they develop their game before the pros?” perspective. With the exception of Hedden, the rest of the players on the current 26-man roster went through the more tried and true pipelines: major junior, Division I college and Europe.
Below is a list of where each member of the Texas Stars played their last year of “development hockey” before becoming a professional in North America.
Major Junior (17)
WHL – Colton Sceviour, Justin Dowling, Scott Glennie, Matej Stransky, Brendan Ranford, Taylor Peters, Derek Meech, William Wrenn, Taylor Vause.
OHL – Brett Ritchie, Jack Campbell, Jamie Oleksiak, Cameron Gaunce, Dustin Jeffrey
QMJHL – Maxime Fortunus, Francis Wathier, Hubert Labrie
Division I college (5)
WCHA – Toby Petersen, Travis Morin, Josh Robinson
CCHA – Curtis McKenzie, Chris Mueller
SHL (Sweden) – Patrik Nemeth, Cristopher Nilstorp
Liiga (Finland) – Jyrki Jokipakka
Division III college (1)
ECAC West – Mike Hedden
*As you can see, a majority of the Stars went the major junior route, particularly in the WHL. It doesn’t hurt when Texas’ coach Willie Desjardins is the former coach at Medicine Hat in the WHL.
*The Division I college players affiliation is based on the league their school was in when they attended the school. For example, the CCHA is now defunct and Chris Mueller’s alma mater (Michigan State) plays in the Big 10, while Curtis McKenzie’s alma mater (Miami) play in the National Collegiate Hockey Conference.
*William Wrenn and Jamie Oleksiak also played in college before finishing their development years in major junior. Wrenn played at Denver for two years before heading back to the WHL, while Oleksiak played one year at Northeastern before leaving school for the OHL.