Cooper Rush rated by CSB

Each week during the BCHL season, hockey guru Jacob Bestebroer offers his thoughts on the Chilliwack Chiefs and the BCHL.

Chiefs defenseman Cooper Rush was one of eight BCHL players ranked for the 2013 NHL entry draft by the Central Scouting Bureau on Tuesday.  Over the years 12 players have been picked directly from the Chilliwack or Langley Chiefs.

The highest Chiefs selection was goaltender Mike Minard who went 83rd overall to the Edmonton Oilers in the 1995 draft. Minard went on to play just one game for the Oilers, but he did play 12 seasons of professional hockey.

Interesting thing about the one game he played for Edmonton. It was against Calgary and the goalie for the Flames that night, Grant Fuhr, was playing his final NHL game.

That list does not include players who played for the Chiefs but were selected after they moved on.  The best example of this is Jeff Tambellini. He played two seasons with the Chiefs but because the draft rules were different then, it was best for him not to opt in to the draft after his second season here.

Had he done that he would have had to sit out a year of hockey. It was a stupid rule that has since been changed.

After a season with the NCAA’s Michigan Wolverines he was selected in the first round (27th overall) of the 2003 draft by the New York Islanders.

Quick tangent.

You may be thinking “Wait, what do the Langley Chiefs have to do with this? Aren’t they now the Rivermen and shouldn’t you be looking at the former Quesnel Millionaires who moved here to become the current edition of the Chilliwack Chiefs?”

“And what about the Richmond Sockeyes, who moved here in 1990 to become the Chiefs?”

Maybe, but no.

There is no hard and fast rule for this but when dealing with anything Chiefs alumni related, it’s just former Chilliwack and Langley Chiefs.

Nice debut with the Chiefs by Phil Zielonka last week. Acquired from Coquitlam the day before, Zielonka set up the tying goal in the final minute of the third period against Prince George, then scored the winner in overtime.

Zielonka certainly has the chance to be one of the better deadline deal acquisitions by Harvey Smyl over the years.

What makes this deal interesting is that it was made with a team in the same division.

The two players going the other way, Garrett Forster and Ben Israel, are players that we may see a lot of over the next few seasons.

A reminder that the Chiefs are sending an overnight fan bus to their games in Salmon Arm and West Kelowna February 1 and 2.

The cost is $225 per person and includes transportation, game ticket, breakfast, hotel and a pre-game dinner.

Call Andrea at the Chiefs office (604-392-4433) for more details.

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