If one simply makes the comparison to the on-ice product, the speed and skill of the professional game is superior. Many players in the ECHL are working at getting to the AHL. The WHL, one of three major junior leagues, will produce its share of top-flight NHL prospects and each year WHLers comprise a third or a quarter of that year’s Canadian world junior team. Coupled with the overage limit at three, each WHL team is basically a 17- to 19-year-old operation.
The WHL, with its coverage via WHL On Shaw, the Internet, is a familiar product, although an entire generation in Victoria has not seen a live WHL game.
Personally, I have come to appreciate the ECHL product, and with all the apparent distractions about next year’s Save-On-Foods tenant, one has to admire the professionalism of the current Salmon Kings playoff roster as they continue to advance in the playoffs.
No matter who is the anchor tenant next year, they have set an example for all future Victoria hockey teams, be they junior or professional.
Keith W. McDonough