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Plymouth Whalers

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Plymouth Whalers
Plymouthwhalers
City: Plymouth, Michigan
League: Ontario Hockey League
Conference: Western
Division: West
Founded: 1990 (1990)–1991
Home Arena: Compuware Arena
Colours: Navy blue, white, green and silver
                   
Head Coach: Flag of the United States Mike Vellucci
General Manager: Flag of the United States Mike Vellucci
Affiliate(s): Compuware Ambassadors
Franchise history
1990–92: Detroit Compuware Ambassadors
1992–95: Detroit Junior Red Wings
1995–97: Detroit Whalers
1997–present: Plymouth Whalers
Plymouth-Saginaw Faceoff

The Plymouth Whalers and Saginaw Spirit line up for a faceoff at the Compuware Arena.

Whalers 10th Anniversary Logo

Whalers 10th Anniversary Logo

The Plymouth Whalers are a major junior ice hockey team in the Ontario Hockey League. They play out of Compuware Arena in Plymouth, Michigan, USA.

HistoryEdit

The Whalers can trace their roots back to the 1990–91 Detroit Compuware Ambassadors as an expansion team in the OHL. Since then the franchise has been the Detroit Junior Red Wings and the Detroit Whalers. In 1998 they were officially called the "Plymouth Whalers" after the local municipality gave generous tax breaks to the team and venue. The franchise has been owned by Peter Karmanos since its inception.

The Whalers have been part of the Compuware Hockey program since 1990, which also includes the Compuware Ambassadors minor hockey program and the NHL's Carolina Hurricanes, who were formerly the Hartford Whalers, the namesake of the Detroit Whalers. The Carolina Hurricanes tend to give preference to players from the Plymouth Whalers in the NHL Entry Draft, and coaches and executives are promoted from within the Compuware Hockey affiliation. Chad LaRose is the only player to have played at every level of Compuware hockey; Compuware AAA Ambassadors, Plymouth Whalers, Florida Everblades, Lowell Lock Monsters, and the Carolina Hurricanes.

Plymouth is one of only two teams to win 5 consecutive division titles (West division from 1999–2003, the other team being the Ottawa 67's (East division from 1996–2000). Plymouth has made the playoffs 17 consecutive seasons, since the 1991–92 season. The Whalers reached the OHL finals two consecutive seasons in 1999–2000, and 2000–01, losing to the Barrie Colts and Ottawa 67's. These seasons included future NHLers David Legwand, Justin Williams, Robert Esche, and Stephen Weiss.

Celebrating their 10th Anniversary playing at the Compuware Arena during the 2005–06 season, all current Whalers players had been brought into the system by head coach and general manager Mike Vellucci. This created the build-up for the next year. Headed by overage captain John Vigilante, the team's rookies in 2003 and 2004 came to fruition in James Neal, Dan Collins, and Tommy Sestito. Vellucci acquired the Belleville Bulls' leading scorer Evan Brophey and the Toronto St. Michael's Majors goaltender Justin Peters, who had an extensive resume. On the last game of the season, the Whalers played the Saginaw Spirit, with the division title on the line, in what has been proven to be one of most exciting OHL games in recent history. With the Whalers' 2-0 lead going into the third period, the Spirit fought back and managed the tying goal just before time expired. However, Brophey scored in overtime to clinch the Whalers' 9th division title.

During the 2006–07 season, rookie goaltenders Jeremy Smith and Michal Neuvirth, combined for the lowest goals against average in the OHL, with only 173 goals against in total. The Whalers had a number of high prospects signed or drafted by NHL teams, including former Wayne Gretzky 99 Award winner Daniel Ryder, who was acquired, with him already having been signed with the Calgary Flames. After a very inconsistent start, the team improved to fall short of the London Knights by one point for the Hamilton Spectator Trophy. During the second half of the season and through the playoffs, the Whalers featured a 23 game winning streak at home, lasting three and a half months, falling at Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals to London. The Whalers, although seeded #2, easily won the Wayne Gretzky Trophy as Western Conference playoff champion, sweeping #7 Guelph, and winning in 5 against both #3 Kitchener and #1 London. In the final, the Whalers defeated the Sudbury Wolves in six games to win the J. Ross Robertson Cup, thus earning the right to represent the OHL in the 2007 Memorial Cup.

In the Memorial Cup, the team suffered a rough start, losing to the Vancouver Giants 4-3 in overtime on May 18, and again to the Medicine Hat Tigers 4-1 on May 21. Their fortunes would change, however, on May 22, when they would defeat the Lewiston Maineiacs 2-1 in overtime, thus putting them in the tiebreaker game on May 24, in which they would defeat Lewiston again, 5-1, eliminating the Maineiacs from the Memorial Cup and advancing to the semifinal. However, on May 25, the Whalers would lose again to the Vancouver Giants in the semifinal round, this time in dramatic fashion by a score of 1-8. This way, the Whalers finished the 2007 Memorial Cup in third place[1].

The 2007–08 Whalers dealt the goaltender that led them to their 2007 OHL Championship, Michal Neuvirth, early, to make room for Jeremy Smith to start. Neuvirth was among 12 players that left/were traded from that team, leaving the team looking to a number of young players for leadership. Chris Terry led the team in scoring and was helped by overage captain Andrew Fournier and up-and-comer AJ Jenks. In mid-December 2007, President and GM Mike Vellucci left his head coaching position for Greg Stefan. A late season injury to overage defenseman Wes Cunningham hampered the flow of the team, leading to an early playoff exit at the hands of the eventual OHL champions, the Kitchener Rangers.

Early in the 08–09 Whalers' season, Stefan was recalled to the Hurricanes, where Mike Vellucci came back to fill the head coaching role. Injuries and inconsistency plagued the team, as they fell to dead last in the league. After the coaching change, as well as key trades, including a short lived experiment with Cory McGillis, then-leading scorer Matt Caria from the Greyhounds, Scott Fletcher from the Ice Dogs, and the return from AHL-playing Brett Bellemore, the team saw a turn around by Christmas putting them back into the middle of the pack. At the deadline, as a result of Bellemore's return and the emergence of Matt Hackett as the new starting goaltender, Patrick Lee and Jeremy Smith were traded to Niagara for draft picks.

ChampionshipsEdit

The Plymouth Whalers have won seven divisional titles, five of them consecutively. Plymouth has also won three Hamilton Spectator trophies and reached the OHL Championship Finals three times, winning during the 2006–07 season.

J. Ross Robertson Cup
OHL Champion

  • 1999–00 Finalists vs. Barrie Colts
  • 2000–01 Finalists vs. Ottawa 67's
  • 2006–07 Champions vs. Sudbury Wolves


Wayne Gretzky Trophy
Western Conference Playoff Champion

  • 1999–00, 2000–01 and 2006–07

Hamilton Spectator Trophy
Season Champion

  • 1998–99 51 wins, 4 ties, 106 pts
  • 1999–00 45 wins, 4 ties, 1 OTL, 95 pts
  • 2001–02 39 wins, 12 ties, 2 OTL, 92 pts

Bumbacco Trophy
West Division Champion

  • 1998–99, 1999–00, 2000–01, 2001–02, 2002–03, 2005–06, 2006–07

CoachesEdit

  • 1995–01 Peter DeBoer (6 seasons) - DeBoer was promoted from assistant coach to become coach & general manager of the Whalers organization in 1995. DeBoer was twice voted the OHL Coach of the Year, winning the Matt Leyden Trophy in the 1998–99 and 1999–00 seasons. DeBoer left to coach the Kitchener Rangers.
  • mid-2007-mid-2008 Greg Stefan (2 seasons) - Stefan began his coaching career in 1993 with the Detroit Junior Red Wings. He served as an assistant coach in Plymouth until 1998, and re-joined the Whalers as director of player development and assistant coach in 2003. Named head coach during the 2007–08 season when Vellucci moved to focus on the front office, Stefan left the Whalers in the middle of the 2008–09 season to take a scouting job with the Carolina Hurricanes.
  • 2001-mid-2007; mid-2008–pres Mike Vellucci (8th season) - Vellucci was promoted to President of the Plymouth Whalers in 2000 and was appointed the team's general manager and head coach in 2001. In 2007, Vellucci won the Matt Leyden Trophy as Ontario Hockey League Coach of the Year - the first American ever to win the award. Vellucci stepped down in the middle of the 2007–08 season to focus on his GM position. He returned as head coach of the club in the middle of the 2008–09 season with Stefan's moving to the Hurricanes.

RivalsEdit

  • Windsor Spitfires: proximity, considering the 30 mile distance between the two teams' arenas, has made this the Whalers' largest rivalry.
  • Saginaw Spirit: The Spirit are another major rival of the Whalers, due to both proximity and the fact that Saginaw is the other Michigan-based OHL team, making games between the two a battle for state bragging rights. Also, the Whalers traded to get the Spirit's captain on a run in the playoffs in 2003, and beat the Spirit for the division title in overtime on the last game of the season in 2006.
  • London Knights: bad blood and reputation, considering the nature of the Whalers to be quick to start a fight to change momentum, and the propensity of the Knights to resort to questionable tactics when skill is thrown out for grit/goonery. Many games end up with multiple fights. The Whalers opened the door for the modern Knights' dominance by losing to them in the first round of the 2002 playoffs, despite Plymouth being ranked #1 and London being seeded #8. A line brawl involving some Knight players coming off of the bench to fight Whalers while a goaltender fight at center ice in 2005 was a memorable start, as well as the Whalers being one of only a few teams to defeat the Knights in that season. A clean, open-ice hit by Jared Boll on Robbie Drummond started another series of fights, as well as a hit-from-behind by Tom Sestito on Patrick Kane.

The last few years, the Whalers, Spitfires, and Knights have been league leaders in fighting majors.[2]

PlayersEdit

Retired numbersEdit

14 - Pat Peake is the only number retired by the Whalers organization. Peake (who played in the Junior Red Wings era) was a two-season captain, the first MVP for the franchise in 1992–93, as well as Canadian Hockey League player of the year, and OHL Most Sportsmanlike player of the year. He has the most career points in franchise history.

Vig

Former captain John Vigilante.

Team captainsEdit

Award winnersEdit

Notable playersEdit

First round NHL Entry Draft picksEdit

Players who were drafted in the first round of the NHL Entry Draft while playing for the Whalers franchise.

Second round NHL Entry Draft picksEdit

Players who were drafted in the second round of the NHL Entry Draft while playing for the Whalers franchise.

NHL alumniEdit

List of Plymouth Whalers alumni who have played in the National Hockey League.

Current rosterEdit

Goaltenders
# Player Catches NHL rights Place of birth
29 Flag of Canada Scott Wedgewood L Eligible in 2010 Brampton, Ontario
31 Flag of Canada Matt Hackett L MIN 2009 London, Ontario
Defensemen
# Player Shoots NHL rights Place of birth
3 Flag of Canada Colin MacDonald L Eligible in 2010 London, Ontario
4 Flag of Canada Leo Jenner - A L Free Agent Dorchester, Ontario
6 Flag of the United States Josh Bemis L Eligible in 2010 Clarkston, Michigan
7 Flag of the United States Austin Levi L Eligible in 2010 Farmington Hills, Michigan
17 Flag of the United States Beau Schmitz R Eligible in 2010 Howell, Michigan
19 Flag of the United States Nick Malysa L Eligible in 2011 Bridgewater, New Jersey
32 Flag of the Czech Republic Michal Jordan L CAR 2008 Zlín, Czech Republic
Forwards
# Player Position Shoots NHL rights Place of birth
8 Flag of the United States Austin Mattson RW R Eligible in 2010 Livonia, Michigan
9 Flag of Canada Tyler Seguin - C C R Eligible in 2010 Brampton, Ontario
10 Flag of the United States Ryan Hayes - A RW R Free Agent Syracuse, New York
11 Flag of the United States Stefan Noesen R RW Eligible in 2011 Plano, Texas
12 Flag of Canada Tyler G. Brown C L Eligible in 2010 Wasaga Beach, Ontario
13 Flag of the United States Myles McCauley RW R Eligible in 2010 Sterling Heights, Michigan
15 Flag of Canada Mitchell Heard L LW Eligible in 2010 Bowmanville, Ontario
16 Flag of Canada Garrett Meurs C R Eligible in 2011 Ripley, Ontario
20 Flag of Canada James Marsden RW R Undrafted Exeter, Ontario
21 Flag of the United States RJ Mahalak LW L Eligible in 2010 Monroe, Michigan
22 Flag of the United States AJ Jenks - C LW L FLA 2008 Wolverine Lake, Michigan
23 Flag of Canada Jamie Devane LW L TOR 2009 Mississauga, Ontario
24 Flag of Canada Joe Gaynor - A LW L Free Agent Goderich, Ontario
26 Flag of the United States Tyler J. Brown LW L Eligible in 2010 Westland, Michigan
37 Flag of Canada Josh Brittain LW L ANA 2008 Milton, Ontario

Franchise recordsEdit

A complete list of team records can be found here.

Team records for a single season
StatisticTotalSeason
Most points1061998–99
Most wins511998–99
Most goals for3301992–93
Least goals for1982004–05
Least goals against1621998–99
2000–01
Most goals against3781990–91
Individual player records for a single season
StatisticPlayerTotalSeason
Most goalsChad LaRose612002–03
Most assistsKevin Brown911992–93
Most pointsBob Wren1451992–93
Most points, rookieDavid Legwand1051997–98
Most points, defensemanBill McCauley1021994–95
Most PIMDavid Benn3051991–92
Best GAA (goalie)Robert Holsinger2.081998–99
Most wins (goalie)Rob Zepp361999–00
Goalies = minimum 1500 minutes played


Top scorersEdit

Top scorers in the history of the franchise.Edit

Player Years GP G A Pts PIM
Pat Peake 1990–92 162 138 181 319 162
Bob Wren 1991–94 182 115 188 303 220
Chris Terry 2005–09 253 114 175 289 352
Todd Harvey 1991–95 173 113 157 270 310
Kevin Brown 1992–94 113 102 167 269 161
Sean Haggerty 1993–96 187 131 132 263 136
John Vigilante 2002–06 254 93 153 246 107
Harold Druken 1996–99 187 123 120 243 60
John Mitchell 2001–05 258 80 150 230 158
Damian Surma 1998–02 241 105 120 225 286

Top active scorersEdit

Player Years GP G A Pts PIM
AJ Jenks 2006– 249 79 114 193 290
Tyler Seguin 2008– 124 69 104 173 82
Ryan Hayes 2008– 132 52 50 102 124
Michal Jordan 2007– 138 30 67 97 89
Joe Gaynor 2005– 279 39 58 97 235
Beau Schmitz 2008– 134 14 53 67 194
Tyler G. Brown 2007– 152 23 43 66 59
Robbie Czarnik 2009– 43 17 32 49 28
Leo Jenner 2008– 250 10 38 48 399
RJ Mahalak 2007– 146 13 22 35 162

Yearly resultsEdit

Regular seasonEdit

Legend: OTL = Overtime loss, SL = Shootout loss

Season Games Won Lost Tied OTL SL Points Pct % Goals
For
Goals
Against
Standing
1997–98663722 7 -- 810.6142792232nd Western
1998–99685113 4 --1060.7793131621st West
1999–00684518 4 1- 950.6912561721st West
2000–01684315 5 5- 960.6692531621st West
2001–0268391512 2- 920.6622491661st West
2002–03684314 9 2- 970.6992591741st West
2003–04683224 9 3- 760.5372202042nd West
2004–05683029 6 3- 690.5071982042nd West
2005–06683528- 1 4 750.5512272241st West
2006–07684914- 2 31030.7572991731st West
2007–08683428- 2 4 740.5442282235th West
2008–09683726- 5 0 790.5812242182nd West
2009–10683827- 1 2 790.5812452012nd West

PlayoffsEdit

  • 1997–98 - Defeated Sarnia Sting 4 games to 1 in division quarter-finals.
    Defeated Belleville Bulls 4 games to 2 in quarter-finals.
    Lost to Guelph Storm 4 games to 0 in semi-finals.
  • 1998–99 - Defeated Windsor Spitfires 4 games to 0 in conference quarter-finals.
    Lost to London Knights 4 games to 3 in conference semi-finals.
  • 1999–00 - Defeated Guelph Storm 4 games to 2 in conference quarter-finals.
    Defeated Windsor Spitfires 4 games to 1 in conference semi-finals.
    Defeated Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds 4 game to 1 in conference finals.
    Lost to Barrie Colts 4 games to 3 in finals.
  • 2000–01 - Defeated Sarnia Sting 4 games to 0 in conference quarter-finals.
    Defeated Windsor Spitfires 4 games to 0 in conference semi-finals.
    Defeated Erie Otters 4 game to 1 in conference finals.
    Lost to Ottawa 67's 4 games to 2 in finals.
  • 2001–02 - Lost to London Knights 4 games to 2 in conference quarter-finals.
  • 2002–03 - Defeated Owen Sound Attack 4 games to 0 in conference quarter-finals.
    Defeated London Knights 4 games to 3 in conference semi-finals.
    Lost to Kitchener Rangers 4 games to 3 in conference finals.
  • 2003–04 - Defeated Kitchener Rangers 4 games to 1 in conference quarter-finals.
    Lost to Guelph Storm 4 games to 0 in conference semi-finals.
  • 2004–05 - Lost to Owen Sound Attack 4 games to 0 in conference quarter-finals.
  • 2005–06 - Defeated Windsor Spitfires 4 games to 3 in conference quarter-finals.
    Lost to Guelph Storm 4 games to 2 in conference semi-finals
  • 2006–07 - Defeated Guelph Storm 4 games to 0 in conference quarter-finals.
    Defeated Kitchener Rangers 4 games to 1 in conference semi-finals.
    Defeated London Knights 4 games to 1 in conference finals.
    Defeated Sudbury Wolves 4 games to 2 in finals. OHL CHAMPIONS
    Finished tied for third place in Memorial Cup round-robin.
    Defeated Lewiston Maineiacs in tiebreaker round.
    Lost to Vancouver Giants in semi-finals.
  • 2007–08 - Lost to Kitchener Rangers 4 games to 0 in conference quarter-finals.
  • 2008–09 - Defeated Sarnia Sting 4 games to 1 in conference quarter-finals.
    Lost to Windsor Spitfires 4 games to 2 in conference semi-finals.
  • 2009-10 - Defeated Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds 4 games to 1 in conference quarter-finals.
    Lost to Windsor Spitfires 4 games to 0 in conference semi-finals.

Uniforms and logosEdit

ThumbnailCAF7FLO2

Whalers Blue Jersey

Whalers White Jersey

Whalers White Reebok EDGE Jersey

In 2009 all Canadian Hockey League teams came out with new Reebok EDGE Jerseys [3]

The Plymouth Whaler logo features an angry hockey stick-wielding whale, blowing a puck and spout of water out its blow hole. The name Whalers is superimposed on the image surround by a circle of green and blue with waves in the background.

The Whalers white Jersey has the whaler logo in the center with 3 even stripes on the sleeves and bottom of the jersey. The stripes are evenly spaced with two navy outer lines and one green inner line.

The Whalers blue Jersey has the whaler logo in the center with a white space and green space going down the sleeves

Anthony Harrison was the original creator for the Plymouth Whalers logo. A three-dimensional model of the logo was displayed in the Harford Whalers Team Store in 1996, this after the model was used in a presentation to the NHL in a third jersey effort. When the pitch failed, the logo was passed to the Plymouth Whalers.

MascotEdit

The Mascot Shooter

Shooter the Whale

The Plymouth Whalers have a mascot named Shooter[4]. His first game appearance was on December 11, 2003 against the Peterborough Petes.

His Bio states that he can be found throughout the community as well as at all home games spreading Whalers pride or trying to put a hex on the opponent's goaltender. Shooter loves meeting new fans, signing autographs, and getting photos. His favorite meals are wolves from Sudbury, greyhounds from Sault Ste. Marie, and ice dogs from Niagara.

ArenaEdit

Compuware Sports Arena interior

Interior of Compuware Arena

Peter Karmanos arranged to build the Whalers a new home in Plymouth Township, Michigan as soon as the 1995–96 season ended. The Compuware Arena was constructed in 6 months time, ready for the 1996–97 season. The arena is located at 14900 Beck Rd. in Plymouth with a seating capacity of 3,807.

In addition to the NHL-sized rink, there is an Olympic sized rink also in the building. Compuware Arena is home to not only the Whalers, but also the Compuware Ambassadors, a series of major midget teams and lower, according to age.

References Edit

External linksEdit


This page uses content from Wikipedia. The original article was at Plymouth Whalers. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with Ice Hockey Wiki, the text of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License 3.0 (Unported) (CC-BY-SA).


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