Two Saskatoon Blades Alumni to represent at 2018 Winter Olympic Games
With the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympic Men’s Hockey Tournament set to open tomorrow, six Western Hockey League Alumni will be representing Canada while another 20 will be representing various international squads.
Of all 26 WHL alumni at the tournament, two are former Blades: forward Martin Erat of Czech Republic and Defenseman Stefan Elliott of Canada.
Erat, 36, played with the Blades from 1999 until 2001 when he was traded to the Red Deer Rebels, going on to win the Ed Chynoweth Cup and Memorial Cup. He was drafted into the WHL via the 1999 CHL Import Draft where he was picked by Saskatoon at #6 in the first round.
In 97 games for the Blades, Erat recorded 46 goals and 61 assists for 107 points. He recorded a further 12 points (4G, 8A) in 11 playoff games for Saskatoon in their 99/00 playoff campaign.
The Captain of the 2018 Olympic Czech Republic squad, Erat has previously represented his country at nearly every international level, winning Gold at the 2000 U20 WJC, Bronze at the 2006 Olympic Games, Silver at the 2007 World Championship and Bronze at the 2012 World Championship.
Elliott, 27, played his entire WHL career with Saskatoon from 2006 until 2011. He was originally drafted #12 overall in the first round of the 2006 WHL Bantam Draft by the Prince George Cougars. However, before he could make his WHL debut with the Cougars, his rights were traded to the Blades along with a 2008 1st round pick for forward Devin Setoguchi on October 4th, 2006.
Across his five seasons in the WHL, Elliott played 282 games, scoring 82 goals and adding 159 assists for a grand total of 241 points. He holds the Saskatoon Blades’ all-time franchise record for points by a defenseman.
Furthermore, Elliott played in the 2008/09 season’s CHL Top Prospect Game and was also honoured by winning the WHL’s Daryl K. (Doc) Seaman Trophy and the CHL’s Scholastic Player of the Year Award in that same season. He finished the 2010/11 season leading the WHL in plus/minus (+61) and recorded the most goals (31) and points (81) by a defenseman, earning himself a spot on the WHL’s East All-Star Team and was awarded the Bill Hunter Trophy as the league’s best defender. Elliott also finished the 2009/10 season as the league’s top goal-scoring defenseman.
Elliott has previously represented his nation, playing for ‘Canada Pacific’ at the 2008 World U17 Hockey Challenge and for Canada at the 2009 U18 WJC. He has also been playing for Canada in the pre-Olympic Tournament fixtures.
Both Erat’s and Elliott’s first games of the 2018 Olympic Tournament will take place at 6:10am CST on February 15th as Czech Republic take on the host, Korea, while Canada will face-off against Switzerland.
As their sides are members of the same Preliminary Round Group, Erat and Elliott will meet on February 16th at 9:10pm CST when Canada do battle with Czech Republic.
To both Blades’ Alumni: congratulations on making your nation’s Olympic Team, we wish you the very best at the 2018 Olympics in Pyeongchang!