The Whitecourt Wolverines are a junior "A" ice hockey team in North Division of the Alberta Junior Hockey League (AJHL) based in Whitecourt, Alberta, Canada. The 2012–13 season was their inaugural season in Whitecourt.

The Wolverines were founded on May 2, 2012, through the relocation of the St. Albert Steel from St. Albert.[5] The team plays out of the Scott Safety Centre, which has a seating capacity of 1,058.[5] Scott Safety Supply Services Ltd. is the sponsor of the arena[6] and a corporate sponsor of the team.[7]

History

The Whitecourt Wolverines junior "A" franchise was originally established in 1976 as the Fort Saskatchewan Traders, with 1976–77 being their inaugural season.[2] The Traders won their first AJHL championship in 1978–79,[9] their third year in the league. After winning the championship, the team then defeated the Richmond Sockeyes of the BCHL in five games at the Doyle Cup, before falling to the Prince Albert Raiders in six games at the Abbott Cup, the eventual national champions at the 1979 Centennial Cup.[10][11] The Traders proceeded to win their second league championship in 1983–84.[9]

Due in part to financial difficulties and low attendance, the AJHL approved a deal on March 15, 2007, to relocate the Traders to St. Albert for the 2007–08 season, ending the Traders' 31-year run in Fort Saskatchewan.[2] The team was renamed the St. Albert Steel, and became the second team to represent the City of St. Albert, replacing the St. Albert Saints who left for Spruce Grove in 2004.[2]

After five years in St. Albert, it was announced on March 29, 2012, that the team applied to relocate to Whitecourt for the 2012–13 season.[13] On May 2, 2012, the AJHL announced it approved the request to relocate the team to Whitecourt, where the team would remain in the AJHL's North Division and be named the Whitecourt Wolverines.[5]

The twice relocated franchise took its current team name from Whitecourt's predecessor junior "B" Whitecourt Wolverines of the North West Junior Hockey League (NWJHL).[5] After five years in the NWJHL, four league championships, a provincial title, and a bronze medal at the Keystone Cup,[3][15][16] this junior "B" predecessor team folded to make way for the relocated junior "A" Wolverines.[5]

The following is a summary of the team's firsts that occurred in its inaugural 2012–13 season:[17]

  • first game was a 4–2 loss to the Canmore Eagles on the road, with Colten Meaver scoring the first goal in franchise history;[18]
  • first win was a 4–3 overtime victory over the Okotoks Oilers on the road, with Ryan Berlin recording the first hat trick and game-winning goal in franchise history;[19]
  • first home game was a 4–3 overtime loss to the Spruce Grove Saints in front of 1,283 attendees at Scott Safety Centre;[20]
  • first shutout in franchise history was recorded by goaltender Tanner Kovacs in a 3–0 victory over the Camrose Kodiaks at the league's annual AJHL showcase in Spruce Grove;[21]
  • first placement in Canadian Junior Hockey League (CJHL) weekly top 20 rankings was 14th spot occurred in late October 2012;[22] and
  • first playoff appearance was a 3–2 divisional quarter final series victory over the Fort McMurray Oil Barons.[23]

Wolverines' Mathieu Guertin and Colten Mayor each won the Ernie Love Trophy in the team's first two seasons. The trophy is awarded annually to the AJHL's scoring champion. Guertin accumulated 95 points in the inaugural 2012–13 season, while Mayor was the co-winner in the sophomore 2013–14 season, tying Spencer Dorowicz of the Olds Grizzlys with 75 points.[24]

Season-by-season record

See Fort Saskatchewan Traders for the franchise's season-by-season record from 1976 to 2007, and see St. Albert Steel for the franchise's season-by-season record from 2008 to 2012.

Note: GP = games played, W = wins, L = losses, OTL = overtime losses, Pts = points, GF = goals for, GA = goals against, PIM = penalties in minutes

SeasonGPWLOTLPtsGFGAPIMFinishPlayoffs
2012–13[25][26]6031218702272201,5074th, NorthLost in semi-final round[27]
2013–14[25][26]6026313552092171,6946th, NorthLost in first round[28]
2014–15[25][26]6024288561812061,1327th, NorthLost Rd 1, 1-3 (Bobcats)
2015–166042126902561722nd, NorthWon Div. Quarterfinals, 3-0 (Oil Barons)
Lost Div. Semifinals, 0-4 (Bobcats)
2016–176041136882541562 of 8 Nor
3 of 16 AJHL
Won Div. Quarterfinals, 3-0 (Storm)
Won Div Semifinal, 4-3 (Saints)
Won Div Finals 4-2 (Oil Barons)
Lost AJHL Finals 0-4 (Bandits)
Total39915495313591172971

Current roster

As of March 3, 2014 (excluding reserves) [4]

Honoured members

The number 22 was retired for Elias Lachance at the start of the 2011–12 season.[29] Lachance, who played for the Wolverines' predecessor junior "B" hockey team during its 2008–09 and 2009–10 seasons,[29] died in a car accident in 2011.[30]

Leaders

Team captains
  • Jamie Johnson (2012)[31]
  • Jerome Raymond (2012–2013)[32]
  • Trace Elson (2013)[32]
  • Colten Mayor (2013–2014)[24]
  • Evan Warmington (2014)[33]
  • vacant (2014–2015)[34]
Head coaches
  • Joey Bouchard (2012–present)[4]
General managers
  • Joey Bouchard (2012–present)[4]
Team presidents
  • Brent Stark (2012–present)[4][35]

Community

The Wolverines are engaged in two programs within the community under a "Team for Success" project where players mentor young students on reading and writing, and boys through issues experienced at the junior high level.[36] During their inaugural season, the team hosted a Hockey Hall of Fame exhibit that featured the Stanley Cup.[37] The proceeds from the event, sponsored by Scott Safety, benefitted the Whitecourt Minor Hockey Association and the Whitecourt Girl Guides.[38][39]

See also