Before the 2013 National Hockey League season took place, there was a shake-up in how the league was organized. Conference alignment was refined, and teams were slotted into divisions that made the most geographical sense. In the Western Conference, there are two divisions – Pacific and Central. We’ll take a closer look at the seven teams that comprise the Pacific Division and where its players hail from.
In alphabetical order, the Pacific Division consists of the Anaheim Ducks, Arizona Coyotes, Calgary Flames, Edmonton Oilers, Los Angeles Kings, San Jose Sharks, and Vancouver Canucks. There are 173 players on their rosters. Where do they come from? Let’s find out.
The United Nations of NHL
Out of the 173 NHL players spread across the Pacific Division, a whopping 55 percent hail from Canada. The next most represented country is the U.S., which claims 21 percent of players in the Pacific Division. This is followed by Sweden (9.8 percent), the Czech Republic (3 percent), and Finland (3 percent). Denmark, Germany, and Slovakia each claim almost 2 percent of players.
Notable players from Canada are Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry who take to the ice for the Anaheim Ducks, a team that last won the Stanley Cup in the 2006-07 season and has reached the playoffs seven out of the last nine years. Coyotes captain Shane Doan hails from Alberta, Canada, but his team has been in a bit of a slump over the last few years – they haven’t made the playoffs since the 2011-12 season. The Edmonton Oilers have a couple of notable Canadians on their team as well, one of which is Cam Talbot. The Oilers are also in the middle of a decade-long playoff drought but are looking for a renewed franchise under the leadership of last year’s first overall pick, Connor McDavid.
When we break down the stats a little further, it’s obvious that some Canadian provinces are a good source for Pacific Division players – 47 hail from Ontario alone, which is Canada’s most populated province. The next greatest number of players hail from Alberta (15 players) followed by Quebec (10 players). Saskatchewan, British Columbia, and Manitoba claim nine, eight, and five players respectively, while Newfoundland and Labrador is home to one player.
There are fewer players from the U.S., but some states boast more Pacific Division players than others. Notably, two Northern states account for 14 players – eight from Minnesota and six from Michigan. This is followed by Illinois with three players as well as Wisconsin, New York, and California, which claim two players each.
Johnny Gaudreau laces up his skates in Calgary but hails from New Jersey. Calgary hasn’t done much since making it to the second round of the playoffs in the 2014-2015 season, but the team has a lot of promise with new young players, such as Gaudreau. Wisconsin’s Joe Pavelski probably enjoys playing for the perennial contenders, the San Jose Sharks. They’ve made the playoffs 11 out of the last 12 seasons and made it to the Stanley Cup Finals last season before falling to the Penguins.
The NHL Goes International
The Calgary Flames have the most Canadian players, while the Los Angeles Kings have the most Americans. The Kings, incidentally, have won the Stanley Cup twice in the last five seasons. In the 2013-14 season, the team needed to win three game sevens to reach the finals against the Rangers – which they eventually did; they won the series 4-1.
Edmonton and Vancouver both have five Swedish players. Vancouver also has the most players from outside Canada, the U.S., and Sweden. Daniel and Henrik Sedin were drafted by Vancouver in the first round of the 1999 NHL Entry Draft second and third overall, respectively. The Canucks are a very competitive team, having made the playoffs seven out of the last 10 seasons. They once advanced to the Stanley Cup Final but ultimately lost to the Boston Bruins.
For the Love of the Ice
No matter where the players hail from, you probably love your NHL team – and live and die with every regular season game. And those playoffs, as far away as they may be, are the stuff dreams are made of. If you’re looking for the best NHL gear, whether it’s a San Jose Sharks jersey or an Edmonton Oilers hoodie, Fanatics.com has you covered.