CANADIAN JUNIOR HOCKEY LEAGUE
Release date: Monday, Jan. 28, 2013
129 CJHL alumni on opening week NHL Rosters
CALGARY – The Canadian Junior Hockey League announced Monday that 129 CJHL alumni were on NHL rosters during the opening week of the 2013 NHL season.
Among that group starting the campaign in the NHL is former Superior International Jr. Hockey League alumnus and current Pittsburgh Penguins defenceman Robert Bortuzzo.
Bortuzzo skated for a Fort William North Stars squad that captured both the Bill Salonen Cup SIJHL championship and a Dudley-Hewitt Cup crown before falling in the semifinal to the eventual Royal Bank Cup champion Burnaby Express back in 2006.
A total of 36 former CJHL players are members of Canadian NHL clubs, including eight on the Vancouver Canucks, which is the most of the Canadian teams.
Vancouver Canucks defenceman and British Columbia Hockey League alumnus, Jason Garrison, believes the CJHL prepared him for his NHL career.
“The coaching all my years of junior hockey was tremendous; that was the best part. It’s all about getting players to the next level,” said Garrison.
“I think for me, it was just developing as a player and as a person. On the hockey side of things, it was good because it was really competitive. If you’re not performing, you’re not playing,” added Garrison.
The Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oilers have 10 CJHL alumni to begin the campaign, with five former players on each roster.
Flames forward Mike Cammalleri developed his career in the Ontario Junior Hockey League (OJHL).
“Jr. A was a great experience for me and I learned so much playing in the league”, offered Cammalleri.
“I was fortunate to be part of a Championship team and still some of my best friends are guys I played with in Bramalea”.
Mark Letestu of the Columbus Blue Jackets took advantage of the opportunity to advance from the Alberta Junior Hockey League to college hockey on his way to the NHL.
“Playing in the Canadian Junior Hockey League for three years gave me the opportunity and platform to extend my playing career and also my education by way of NCAA,” stated Letestu.
“I valued my time in Jr. A, it allowed me to develop as a player and person making the transition to the next level much easier to adjust.”
Over 560 CJHL alumni are enjoying professional careers in leagues across North America this season, including the NHL, American Hockey League, ECHL and Central Hockey League.
CJHL Alumni breakdown by league
An additional 295 CJHL alumni have made the Canadian Hockey League home for the 2012-13 season where they are continuing their athletic and academic quests.
Earlier this season, the CJHL announced the success of its alumni at the college and university level with over 1,950 former CJHL players pursuing academic and hockey careers across North America in the 2012-13 season.
In total, over 2,800 CJHL alumni are pursuing their hockey careers at the professional, major junior and college level this season.
For more information on the CJHL, visit their website at www.cjhlhockey.com.