In Canadian junior hockey, there's no bigger honor than playing for the Memorial Cup, and Columbus Blue Jackets prospect Keegan Kolesar will get that chance this season after his Seattle Thunderbirds won the WHL championship Sunday night.
And it's fair to say the Thunderbirds wouldn't have done it without Kolesar. The 20-year-old, a third-round pick of the Jackets in the 2015 draft, starred throughout Seattle's playoff run, scoring 12 goals and adding 19 assists for 31 points in 19 games. Kolesar was the leading scorer in the WHL's postseason.
In addition, Kolesar was at his best when he had to be. In the last three games of the title series against the Regina Pats, he had eight points with three goals and five assists, including the game-tying goal in the final minutes of Sunday night's win in Game 6. He later added the primary assist on the winning goal by Alexander True.
Afterward, Kolesar said he excited to help his team lift the Ed Chynoweth Cup for the first time.
Seattle will be joined in Windsor at the Memorial Cup by the host Spitfires, QMJHL champ Saint John and OHL victor Erie. Seattle and Kolesar will begin the tournament against Erie on May 20.