EDINA, Minn. – Oct. 7, 2015 – As the puck drops tonight on the 2015-16 National Hockey League (NHL) season, 14 alumni from current Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) schools are on opening night rosters – including 2014-15 WCHA Defensive Player of the Year Colton Parayko from Alaska. These former student-athletes, representing nine WCHA institutions, will play for 10 different NHL clubs.
"Lining up on Opening Night is always a special occasion," said WCHA Commissioner Bill Robertson. "We are proud of all WCHA alumni, past and present, as well as those who skated for our current programs at any point and now have a chance to play at the highest level. We look forward to watching their careers develop in the NHL, while we are also excited for the top-notch talent on display in WCHA rinks every weekend this upcoming season."
Parayko, who earned Defensive Player of the Year honors in both of his WCHA seasons, is one of just 10 2014-15 collegians to make an NHL opening night roster. He will join former Minnesota State standout David Backes on the St. Louis blue line.
A full list of the 14 current WCHA member institution alumni on 2015-16 NHL opening night rosters:
|Name, Pos.||NHL Team||School (Years)|
|David Backes, C^||St. Louis Blues||Minnesota State (2003-06)|
|Jay Beagle, RW||Washington Capitals||Alaska Anchorage (2005-07)|
|Kevin Bieksa, D||Anaheim Ducks||Bowling Green (2000-04)|
|Ryan Carter, C||Minnesota Wild||Minnesota State (2004-06)|
|Andrew Hammond, G*||Ottawa Senators||Bowling Green (2009-13)|
|Tim Jackman, RW||Anaheim Ducks||Minnesota State (2000-02)|
|Chad Johnson, G||Buffalo Sabres||Alaska (2005-09)|
|Chris Kunitz, LW#||Pittsburgh Penguins||Ferris State (1999-2003)|
|Colton Parayko, D||St. Louis Blues||Alaska (2012-15)|
|Matt Read, RW||Philadelphia Flyers||Bemidji State (2007-11)|
|Buddy Robinson, RW*||Ottawa Senators||Lake Superior State (2011-13)|
|Mike Santorelli, C||Anaheim Ducks||Northern Michigan (2004-07)|
|Cam Talbot, G||Edmonton Oilers||Alabama Huntsville (2007-10)|
|Zach Trotman, D||Boston Bruins||Lake Superior State (2009-12)|
|^ - Captain; # - Alternate Captain; * - Injured Reserve|