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Details of Plymouth Whalers and the Ticket Luck value
The Plymouth Whalers originate from Plymouth, Michigan, USA and are active participants in the Ontario Hockey League. The team plays out of Compuware Arena in Plymouth.
Like many other junior playing teams, the Whalers had several changes to their name before settling with the name Plymouth Whalers. Though the Whalers became constituted during the 1990-91 timeframe, the team was initially known as the Detroit Compuware Ambassadors. Then the team was decided to be called the Detroit Junior Red Wings and later the Detroit Whalers. In 1998 they were officially called the Plymouth Whalers after the local municipality gave generous tax breaks to the team and venue. The franchise has been owned by Peter Karmanos since its inception. Peter has been with the team and has enjoyed tremendous support from the players and the fans.
It was in 1995 that the Whalers got inducted into the Compuware Hockey program. The program is an amalgamation of Compuware Ambassadors minor hockey league teams and the National Hockey League. The Carolina Hurricanes is the Detroit Whalers representation in the NHL. This conglomeration has assisted the Carolina Hurricanes immensely. The NHL selectors can choose from the long line of talented individuals who have gained the experience playing in minor leagues and orchestrate professional workmanship and outstanding talent. The coaches and executives are also promoted from within the Compuware Hockey affiliation. Chad LaRose is the only player to have played at every level of Compuware hockey; Compuware AAA Ambassadors, Plymouth Whalers, Florida Everblades, Lowell Lock Monsters, and the Carolina Hurricanes.
The Whalers are not the only team that was created from a nascent franchise. The Detroit Junior Red Wings and Detroit Whalers were both successful incarnations of the franchise. Yet, it was the Plymouth Whalers that succeeded in becoming the first choice for playoffs. The Plymouth Whalers have made a name for themselves as perennial winners, finishing first or second in their division for every season of their existence.
Not only has the team been successful in winning key championships, the team has been extremely successful in producing the highest ranked goaltenders on an annual basis, with multiple winners of the Dave Pinkney Trophy and the F. W. Dinty Moore Trophy. Whalers goalies had the lowest goals against average in the OHL throughout the five consecutive division titles. This achievement has ensured the teams presence in the finals of many of the trophy and championship finals.
An analysis of the wins indicate that Plymouth is one of only two teams to win 5 consecutive division titles (West division from 1999-2003, the other team being the Ottawa 67's (East division from 1996-2000). Plymouth has made the playoffs 16 consecutive seasons, since the 1991-92 season. The Whalers reached the OHL finals two consecutive seasons in 1999-2000, and 2000-2001, losing to the Barrie Colts and Ottawa 67's. These seasons included NHLers David Legwand, Justin Williams, Robert Esche, and Stephen Weiss.
The next win for the team occurred in 2003 when the Whalers were able to garner the best players in the market and create a 61 goal record. The team in 2003 had the following players playing together in a invincible team - Chad LaRose, Karl Stewart, David Liffiton, Ryan Ramsay, and acquired former North Bay Centennials captain Chris Thorburn.
Irrespective of a dream team composition, the Whalers failed to win the Memorial Cup finals and lost after a very competitive fight against Kitchener Rangers. And the very following season, the team captain James Wisniewski, won a gold medal playing for the USA World Junior team, and voted CHL & OHL defenseman of the year.
The Whalers celebrated their 10th anniversary in 2005 playing on their own turf at the Compuware Arena. It was indeed a spectacular event to see. All current Whalers players had been brought into the system by head coach and general manager Mike Vellucci. Headed by overage captain John Vigilante, the team saw the breakout of James Neal, Dan Collins, and Tommy Sestito. Vellucci acquired the Belleville Bulls' leading scorer Evan Brophey and the Toronto St. Michael's Majors goaltender Justin Peters, who had the previous year led his #8 seeded team over the #1 seeded Mississauga Ice Dogs in 5 games.
During the 2006 season games, the Whalers played against the Saginaw Spirit to win the championship in the finals. This game is still to date one of the fiercest and competitive professional games ever played. The Spirit team fought back ferociously but could not keep the advantage and succumbed to a better team.
Not only was the team winning some major championships, individual performances were creating outstanding records. During the 2006-07 season, rookie goaltenders Jeremy Smith and Michal Neuvirth, combined for the lowest goals against average in the OHL, with only 173 goals against in total.
Other great players moved on to improving the game of ice hockey. Sestito, one of the great players that played during the 2005-2006 seasons managed a contract with the Columbus Blue Jackets. Jared Boll was able to land a similar deal. Former Wayne Gretzky 99 Award winner Daniel Ryder was acquired, with him already having been signed with the Calgary Flames. After starting 8-9-0-0, the team turned it around and rallied to run to nearly the top of the league, falling short of the London Knights by one point for the Hamilton Spectator Trophy.
The Whalers were also very successful during the second half of the season all the way up to the playoffs in London. The whalers were able to adduce a 23 game winning streak but lost in the western conference finals. Surprisingly enough, the Whalers easily won the Wayne Gretzky Trophy as the western conference champions. In the final, the Whalers defeated the Sudbury Wolves in six games to win the J. Ross Robertson Cup, thus earning the right to represent the OHL in the 2007 Memorial Cup.
In the Memorial Cup, the team suffered a rough start, losing to the Vancouver Giants 4-3 in overtime on May 18, and again to the Medicine Hat Tigers 4-1 on May 21. Their fortunes would change, however, on May 22, when they would defeat the Lewiston MAINEiacs 2-1 in overtime, thus putting them in the tiebreaker game on May 24, in which they would defeat Lewiston again, 5-1, eliminating the MAINEiacs from the Memorial Cup and advancing to the semifinal. However, on May 25th, the Whalers would lose again to the Vancouver Giants in the semifinal round, this time in dramatic fashion by a score of 1-8. This way, the Whalers finished the 2007 Memorial Cup in third place.
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