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HARTLEY’S HART ATTACK – (Cougars average age just over 18) Jan. 19, 2024 EDITION 976

Fans know that the (29-12-0-1) Prince George Cougars are enjoying a special season, one that could see them go wire-to-wire in first place in the B.C. Division.

They have also put themselves in an excellent position to finish first in the Western Conference.

The Cougars lead the Conference by two points over Everett and Portland as they gear up for a weekend home doubleheader against the Winterhawks.

With the January 10th WHL trade deadline gone, here is an update on how the team was built and where the 23-man roster sits in terms of age.

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15 of the Cougars were drafted by the team, or about two-thirds.

It breaks down like this:

Riley Heidt (2nd overall in 2020), Keaton Dowhaniuk (3rd overall in 2019), Koehn Ziemmer (4th overall in 2019), Ondrej Becher (16th overall (Import Draft) in 2022), Bauer Dumanski (26th overall in 2020), Jett Lajoie (28th overall in 2022), Hunter Laing (33rd overall in 2021), Hudson Thornton (33rd overall in 2018), Nicholas McLennan (41st overall (U.S. Draft) in 2021), Aiden Foster (61st overall in 2022), Terik Parascak (76th overall in 2021), Ephram McNutt (92nd overall in 2020), Viliam Kmec (104th overall (Import Draft) in 2021), Ty Young (144th overall in 2019) and Drew Peterson (164th overall in 2021).

Seven of the players on the team were acquired via trade:

Borya Valis (from Regina in 2023), Chase Pauls (from Lethbridge in 2023), Oren Shtrom (from Everett in 2023), Arjun Bawa (from Red Deer in 2023), Matteo Danis (from Calgary in 2023), Zac Funk (from Calgary in 2023) and Carlin Dezainde (from Medicine Hat in 2022).

That leaves goalie Josh Ravensbergen who was not drafted but signed in 2023.

The Cougars have an average age of 18.22 according to numbers kept by Alan Caldwell (@smallatlarge).

That ties them with Tri-City for the 4th oldest team in the league behind Saskatoon (18.50) Portland (18.42) and Swift Current (18.32).

This is a bit misleading since 10 other teams have an average age of over 18.

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Kelowna, for example, is 18.21, which is practically the same as Prince George.

Calgary has the youngest team (17.52), the Hitmen are one of just seven teams with an average age younger than 18.

The Cougars are carrying three 20-year-olds (born in 2003), eight 19-year-olds (2004), five 18-year-olds (2005), five 17-year-olds (2006) and two 16-year-olds (2007).

This means up to 15 players can return to the team for the 2024-25 season.

Considering that Prince George is a contender this year, a large number of players could potentially put on a Cougars jersey next year.

Portland has a whopping 12 players that are 19 and Saskatoon is sitting with 11.

Another bonus for P.G. is they are carrying two of the top 17-year-olds in the country in WHL rookie scoring leader Parascak and goalie Ravensbergen who is sitting with the 3rd best goals against average and save percentage in the WHL.

As mentioned in last week’s column, the Cougars upgraded their roster in 2023 without giving up a future first-round pick.

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What does this all mean?

That is for interpretation however, it is hard to argue that the Cougars are well-positioned to not only make a run this season but for the following season or two as well.

 

Cat Scan podcast:

This is season six of Hartley’s Cat Scan, a weekly podcast show that predominately features the PG Cougars.

This week my guest is Cougars Head Coach and General Manager Mark Lamb.

 

FROM THE QUOTE RACK:

Jerry Jones is a Donald Trump supporter. Has the Cowboys owner filed to overturn the score of the Dallas game against the Green Bay Packers yet?

*Comedy writer Janice Hough of Palo Alto, California www.leftcoastsportsbabe.com

The Houston Texans buried the Browns 45-14 in a playoff game in which Cleveland was favoured. Yes, and I hear that Custer was also a slight favourite at Little Big Horn.

*Contributor Bill Littlejohn of South Lake Tahoe, California

Kansas City leaned on four field goals to beat Miami 26-7. With it being the fourth-coldest game in NFL history, I’m guessing it never occurred to the Dolphins to ice the Chiefs’ kicker.

*Comedy writer RJ Currie of Winnipeg www.Sportsdeke.com

Hartley Miller is the news and sports director/supervisor plus morning news anchor for 94.3 the GOAT and Country 97fm. He is in his 10th season as the radio colour commentator for Prince George Cougars’ home games. Hartley has been on the airwaves in PG since 1979 and is the author of You Don’t Say (sports quotes).

 

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