Who Is Chatham-Kent’s Best Hockey Player Ever?
This year Chatham-Kent, namely Dresden, honoured one of our greats, renaming the Dresden arena to the Ken Houston Memorial Agricultural Centre.
And that process got me to thinking, who is Chatham-Kent’s best ever hockey player.
Could it be Ken Houston himself? He did play 570 games in the NHL, scoring 328 points, including six 20+ goal seasons. He was also a tough customer, racking up 624 penalty minutes.
His fellow Dresden product Jeff Jackson was a high NHL draft pick from our area, going 28th overall in 1983, and playing 263 NHL games. He also won a World Junior gold for Canada. Then again, Ryan Jones had played 334 NHL games, so maybe he belongs?
If you went by overall totals, it would be Dave Gagner. Gagner played 946 NHL games, collecting a whopping 719 points and 1016 penalty minutes. He had back to back 40 goal seasons, and scored 30 or more for six straight years, playing in the NHL All-Star game in 1991. Oh, and he was the 12th overall pick in 1983, and represented Team Canada multiple times.
What about the highest ever local NHL draft pick Todd Warriner. Drafted 4th overall in 1992, Warriner played 453 NHL games, and also won an Olympic silver medal.
If the times had been different, we might be talking about Brian Wiseman. Billed as a mini-Wayne Gretzky, Wiseman broke multiple local scoring records. He captained the NCAA’s Michigan Wolverines, was the IHL MVP, but only got a cup of tea in the NHL, partially because he was only 5’6″, and partially due to injuries.
Then again, if you want to talk about a different time, listen to the stories about Herb Wakabayashi and Mel Wakabayashi. Find someone older than the internet in Memorial Arena, and ask them about the incredible skills of these prolific players.
Currently, you’d be hard to argue TJ Brodie won’t top them all. By this season’s end, he’ll be closing in on 600 NHL games, and is still only 28 years old. His close to 250 points as a defenseman are very impressive, and he’s in his prime. Could his career end as the answer to our question?
What if we look even younger to Travis Konecny? Only in his third NHL season, he’s passed the 200 game mark, has scored over 100 points, and has represented Canada in the World Championships, winning silver, and the World Juniors.
Did we miss someone? If so, tell us.
Or is the best yet to come? Will it be a current Chatham-Kent Cyclones player?
Or am I forgetting the other side of things? What about a Hokey Langan? Hokey captained Ohio State, was a conference player of the year and leading scorer, and won World U18 silver. Maybe our most notable player will come from the newly forming Chatham-Kent Girls Hockey Association.
From those we named, have your say. Who is Chatham-Kent’s greatest hockey player of all-time?