Abbotsford professional hockey talents remain in the mix for the Stanley Cup, as the National Hockey League’s second round nears its end.
There are currently four players with Abbotsford connections still alive for hockey’s biggest crown.
New York Islanders defenceman Devon Toews has the best chance right now to advance to the final four, as his club holds a 3-2 series lead over the Philadelphia Flyers in the Eastern Conference semifinals.
The Islanders eliminated the Florida Panthers 3-1 in the qualifying round and then upset the Washington Capitals 4-1 in the first round. Toews has collected six points in 13 postseason games.
Toews played junior hockey with the Abbotsford Pilots and Surrey Eagles, and was drafted 108th overall by the Islanders in 2014. He played minor hockey with the Abbotsford Minor Hockey Association and also spent time with the Yale Hockey Academy.
Toews and the Islanders are squaring off against another Abbotsford hockey talent in Flyers forward Derek Grant. The Flyers were ranked the top team in the Eastern Conference after the play-in round and then eliminated the Montreal Canadians 4-2. Grant has two assists in 13 postseason games.
Grant also played junior hockey for the Pilots and the Langley Chiefs, and was drafted by the Ottawa Senators 119th overall in 2008. He has suited up for the Senators, the Calgary Flames, Buffalo Sabres, Nashville Predators, Pittsburgh Penguins and Anaheim Ducks in addition to the Flyers.
Saturday night shoutouts! 📺@CCpxpSN with the shoutout to our program and our alumni @stheodore17, @Jake_Virtanen and @DevonToews6 on Hockey Night in Canada!#TBirdNation #BirdFamily @BCHockey_U18 pic.twitter.com/5ar5HnBSlw
— FV Thunderbirds U18 AAA (@FVTBirdsU18) August 30, 2020
Abbotsford hockey alumni is also squaring off in the Western Conference semifinals, as Jake Virtanen and the Vancouver Canucks take on Shea Theodore and the Vegas Golden Knights.
Virtanen and the Canucks eliminated the Minnesota Wild 3-1, and the defeated the defending champion St. Louis Blues 4-2 in round one. The Canucks trail Vegas 3-2 in the semifinal round. Virtanen has two points in 13 postseason games.
Virtanen played minor hockey with the AMHA, YHA and with the Fraser Valley Bruins before playing junior hockey with the Calgary Hitmen. He was drafted by the Canucks sixth overall in 2014.
Theodore and the Golden Knights were ranked first in the Western Conference and took out the Chicago Blackhawks 4-1 in round one. Theodore has 14 points in 12 postseason games.
The Aldergrove native played with the Fraser Valley Bruins and YHA before playing junior hockey with the Seattle Thunderbirds. He was drafted by the Ducks 26th overall in 2013.
Game six for both series occur tonight (Thursday).