Five former Tri-City Americans on Tuesday were named to the Western Hockey League’s list of the top 125 players over the past 50 years.
Four Broncos Award winners Stu Barnes, who played for the Americans from 1988-90, and Brendan Shinnimin (2008-12) were joined by goaltender Carey Price (2003-07) and forwards Daymond Langkow (1992-95) and Brian Sakic (1989-92) on the list, selected by a committee of league historians.
“Five is a good number when it’s league-wide,” Tri-City general manager Bob Tory said. “There are a few more that could be on there, but the ones who are there are very deserving.”
The list, which consists of 88 forwards, 27 defensemen and 10 goalies, features players from the league’s inception in 1966 until last season.
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Beginning in January, the WHL will count down and release the top 50 players over the past 50 years.
“It’s interesting to look back and realize there were a lot of great hockey players on every team in the league,” Tory said. “Fans are blessed to see future stars grow up right in front of them.”
Barnes was on the first Tri-City team 28 years ago, when the franchise moved from New Westminster, British Columbia, to Kennewick. He was the WHL Rookie of the Year for the 1987-88 season and the 1989 Four Broncos Award winner. He still ranks in the top five in several Tri-City scoring categories.
A native of Spruce Grove, Alberta, Barnes had 59 goals and 141 points during the 1988-89 season, and he had 52 goals and 144 points the following season.
His 92 assists in 1989-90 rank third on the Americans’ single-season list, while his 59 goals in 1988-89 rank fourth. His scoring totals in those seasons rank third and fourth.
Shinnimin, from Winnipeg, Manitoba, was the WHL’s top scorer during the 2011-12 season with 134 points, seventh on the Americans’ single-season scoring list. He also was the 2012 Four Broncos Award winner.
Over four seasons and 263 regular-season games, Shinnimin scored 337 points (131 goals, 206 assists), ranking fifth all time for Tri-City.
“When you think how many great players have come out of the WHL, and to be selected as one of these guys, out of the best junior league in the world, is a real special honor,” said Shinnimin, who is attending the Arizona Coyotes’ main camp. “When I was playing, I would look on the wall (of former top Tri-City players). You want to live up to those guys and break some of their records.”
Price, now the Montreal Canadiens’ starting goalie, is one of 10 goalies on the list — and the most recent to play in the WHL. He played 10,888 career minutes (in 193 games) with 83 wins, as well as club records of 15 shutouts and a .914 save percentage.
Price ranks second in lowest career goals against average (2.52) and first in single-season shutouts (eight). He was named WHL Goaltender of the Year for the 2006-07 season.
Langkow, a native of Edmonton, Alberta, was the WHL’s top scorer during the 1994-95 season with 140 points, fifth on the Americans’ single-season list. He ranks second on the Americans’ single-season goals scored list with 67 (1994-95).
Langkow had 159 career goals (ranks first on the Americans’ all-time list), 219 assists (third) and 378 points (second). He also ranks seventh on the team’s all-time penalty minute list with 515.
Sakic holds many of the Americans’ single-season and career records for goals, assists and points. His 122 assists and 162 points during the 1990-91 season are club records. He also ranks first in career assists (297) and points (429) — all in 199 games.
A native of Burnaby, British Columbia, Sakic is tied for first in the WHL for most points in a game with 10 (two goals, eight assists) in a 19-3 win over Seattle on Oct. 3, 1990.
Sakic, who also played two seasons with Swift Current before joining the Americans, holds the WHL career records in assists (405) and points (591, including 186 goals).