by Scott Harrington

WSHL standings are expressed W-L-OTW-OTL (“W” and “L” represent regulation wins and losses; shootouts are included in overtime results).  Three points are awarded for a regulation win, two for an overtime win and one for an overtime loss.

 COLD LAKE WINGS (2-16-1-1, 9 pts)


 The Cold Lake Wings are idle this week and will hope to snap their 15-game losing streak at the Western States Shootout where they face the Wichita Jr. Thunder, Casper Bobcats and Steamboat Wranglers.

One of the youngest players in Sin City for the showcase next week will be Cold Lake defenseman Lare Pahtayken.  The 5’7”, 154-pound blue liner has four points (1-3-4) in 17 games.  He scored his first WSHL goal November 15 against Seattle – five days after his 15th birthday.

Playing a regular shift in junior hockey at the tender age of 15 is impressive, and Pahtayken has five years of Junior hockey eligibility remaining, which means he has plenty of development time left and is likely only scratching the surface of his potential.  That is something that should interest college scouts.

19-year-old Darian Hartley has three points (1-2-3) in his first three games with the Wings.  Hartley a 5’11”, 190-pound Cold Lake native scored a goal in his WSHL debut November 30 against Meadow Lake.  He comes to the Wings with 37 games of Junior B experience.

Veteran goaltender Max Gaudet has his save percentage up to an even .900.  Gaudet has provided solid goaltending while facing a lot of rubber this season.  The 20-year-old puck-stopper came to the WSHL after stints with four different Junior B teams in the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League.

EDSON AEROS (15-3-1-1, 48 pts)


 With just three regulation losses on the season, the Edson Aeros are heading to Las Vegas to show they can compete with the elite teams in the WSHL.  They will go up against some of the elite teams the league has to offer, taking on El Paso, Long Beach and Ogden.  Wins against any of those teams would prove that the new Provincial Division can be a player in the Thorne Cup.

A trio of 19-year-old Swedish import forwards: Sebastian Heden, Emil Johansson and Kevin Lundin are likely to be very popular with the 125 scouts expected to be in attendance at the showcase.

In what is the first exposure to North American hockey for all three players, Heden (30-36-66) and Johansson (33-31-64) reside in the top two spots in the WSHL scoring race.  Although they both benefit from prominent roles on Edson’s effective power play, they have both done plenty of damage at equal strength, combining for 39 goals at evens. 

As a matter of fact, Johansson has scored four shorthanded goals, second in the league only to Lundin (5).

The Aeros kept Meadow Lake’s Shane Hounsell off the board last Friday – the only time the Mustangs top offensive player has been kept off the board since joining the team.

HINTON WILDCATS (12-6-1-1, 39 pts)


The Hinton Wildcats may seem well-positioned for home ice in the first round of the playoffs – and they are – but the recent stretch of hot play by Meadow Lake, and three-point regulations wins, mean that the Mustangs are not out of the Provincial race with 31 games still to play for all four clubs in the division.

So, it would behoove the Wildcats to return from Las Vegas with some points.  Three games in front of a crowd of college scouts is a fantastic opportunity for any junior hockey team, but all three games also count in the official WSHL standings, meaning there are nine points on the table as well.

The Wildcats face off against the Northern Colorado Eagles, San Diego Sabers and Steamboat Wranglers.  Steamboat is scuffling a bit in their first season in the WSHL, but Northern Colorado and San Diego are quality teams making noise in very competitive divisions.  The Wildcats will be tested in Vegas for sure.

MEADOW LAKE MUSTANGS (5-15-0, 15 pts)


 It only took Shane Hounsell seven games to become Meadow Lake’s team-leading scorer.  With 10 goals, and just as many assists, Hounsell is producing 2.86 points per game, and gives the Mustangs a legit weapon to build their offense around.

The 19-year-old Meadow Lake native, who has Junior A experience in the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League, should have his name circled by a lot of scouts at the Western States Shootout.

The Casper Bobcats, Ontario Avalanche and a select team from the CPJHL, will have the challenge of keeping the puck away from Hounsell at the showcase.

Meadow Lake has scored 30 goals in the last five games (6.0 goals per game) after lighting the lamp just 33 times in their first 14 contests (2.4 goals per game)

Justin Hebert is another 19-year-old forward who recently joined the Mustangs and got his name on the scoresheet with four points (2-2-4) in three games.

--- Compiled by Scott Harrington for Harrington Sports Media