WHL alums carry Bears to Calder Cup

The Hershey Bears were crowned American Hockey League champions Monday night, downing the Texas Stars 4-0 in game six of a competitive Calder Cup final.

The Bears, who won their second straight Calder Cup and the 11th in their franchise history, featured eight Western Hockey League graduates who appeared in at least one game during their run to the title.

That list included goaltender Braden Holtby, defensemen Karl Alzner, Patrick Wellar and Dylan Yeo, and forwards Cody Eakin, Simon Ferguson, Boyd Kane and Ashton Rome.

Holtby played 177 regular season games for the Saskatoon Blades from 2006-09, and was named to the Eastern Conference first all-star team in 2008-09. The 20-year-old from Lloydminster, Sask., appeared in three post-season contests, posting a 2-1 record.

Alzner, a Burnaby native, played four seasons for the Calgary Hitmen from 2004-08, and was named the 2007-08 WHL defenseman of the year. Washington’s first-round pick, fifth overall, at the 2007 National Hockey League entry draft, Alzner appeared in 20 playoff games for the Bears, scoring three goals and 10 points to go with a plus-seven rating.

Wellar (Carrot River, Sask.) played four seasons with the WHL’s Hitmen and Portland Winterhawks from 2000-04. The 26-year-old appeared in all 21 of Hershey’s post-season contests, notching six assists.

Yeo (Prince Albert, Sask.) spent four seasons in the WHL with the Hitmen and Prince George Cougars from 2003-07. The 23-year-old got into two playoff games for the Bears.

Eakin (Winnipeg, Man.) just wrapped up his third WHL campaign with the Swift Current Broncos before joining the Bears for their Calder Cup run. The 19-year-old scored 47 goals and was named to the WHL Eastern Conference second all-star team this season. A third-round pick of the Washington Capitals, Eakin appeared in five post-season games for the Bears.

Ferguson, a Langley native, spent five seasons in the WHL with the Lethbridge Hurricanes and the Kelowna Rockets from 1999-04, capturing a WHL championship in 2003 and a Memorial Cup in 2004 with the Rockets. Ferguson got into one post-season game for the Bears.

Kane (Swift Current, Sask.) played four seasons in the WHL with the Regina Pats from 1994-98, notching 48 goals and 93 points in his final season in 1997-98.

The 32-year-old appeared in 21 playoff games for the Bears en route to earning his third Calder Cup championship.

Rome (Nesbitt, Man.) played four seasons in the WHL with the Moose Jaw Warriors, Red Deer Rebels and Kamloops Blazers from 2002-06.

The 24-year-old suited up in 16 playoff games, notching two goals and three points.

Get more WHL information online at www.whl.ca.

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