Thirteen OHL graduates are battling for the Calder Cup as the Charlotte Checkers and Chicago Wolves hit the ice in Game 1 of the AHL Championship Series on Saturday in Charlotte.
Coached by two-time OHL Coach of the Year recipient and 2019 AHL winner Mike Vellucci, the Checkers were the AHL’s top club during the regular season playing to a 51-17-7-1 record. Charlotte was backed by the goaltending of AHL Goaltender of the Year Alex Nedeljkovic (Niagara IceDogs) who led the league in victories (34), goals-against average (2.26) and minutes played (2,917).
The top affiliate of the Carolina Hurricanes, the Checkers have overcome the Providence Bruins, Hershey Bears and defending AHL champion Toronto Marlies enroute to their first championship berth in the franchise’s nine-year existence.
Across the ice the Chicago Wolves, the top affiliate of the Vegas Golden Knights, are back in the Calder Cup Final for the first time since last winning in 2008.
Featuring the presence of big 6-foot-6 recent OHL Defenceman of the Year Nic Hague, the Wolves are coached by former Windsor Spitfires bench boss and 2017 Memorial Cup champion Rocky Thompson.
Chicago played to a 44-22-6-4 record during the regular season, winning a Central Division title while led by AHL regular season MVP Daniel Carr. The Wolves lineup features a pair of past OHL champions in Tobias Lindberg (Oshawa Generals) and Zac Leslie (Guelph Storm) while another league grad in Oscar Dansk (Erie Otters) has carried the load in goal.
The Wolves have eliminated the Grand Rapids Griffins, Iowa Wild and San Diego Gulls to reach the 2019 Calder Cup Final.
OHL GRADUATES IN 2019 CALDER CUP FINAL:
Charlotte Checkers (9):
Trevor Carrick (Sudbury Wolves 2014)
Jeremy Helvig (Kingston Frontenacs 2018)
Janne Kuokkanen (London Knights 2017)
Steven Lorentz (Peterborough Petes 2017)
Roland McKeown (Kingston Frontenacs 2016)
Zach Nastasiuk (Owen Sound Attack 2015)
Alex Nedeljkovic (Niagara IceDogs 2016)
Bobby Sanguinetti (Brampton Battalion 2008)
Zack Stortini (Sudbury Wolves 2005)
Chicago Wolves (4):
Oscar Dansk (Erie Otters 2014)
Nic Hague (Mississauga Steelheads 2018)
Zac Leslie (Guelph Storm 2015)
Tobias Lindberg (Oshawa Generals 2015)
For full coverage of the 2019 Calder Cup Final visit theahl.com.