Heatley, Sakic, MacInnis and Yzerman - all National Hockey League stars who have another thing in common: they have all competed in Canada’s National Midget Hockey Championship. They are just a few of the former National Midget competitors to find their way to the top professional hockey league in the world.
Since 1977, Canada’s National Midget Championship can lay claim to the fact that at least 175 of its graduates have gone on to the NHL.
Each year, having showcased their talents in the National Midget competition, many players go on to become outstanding performers in either the Canadian Hockey League or the college ranks. The most successful of these subsequently made the jump to the pros.
Over the past 21 years, Canada’s National Midget Championship has annually provided fans with an outstanding display of Canada's top 16- and 17-year old talent. Proof of this can be made by examining the latest NHL scoring statistics.
Joe Sakic (Colorado), Dany Heatley (Florida), Al MacInnis (St. Louis), Steve Yzerman (Detroit), Ron Francis (Carolina), Simon Gagne (Philadelphia), Mike Peca (Islanders) and Rod Brind'amour (Carolina) are among these graduates at or near the top in scoring with their respective teams, and in some instances, in the league. Coaches of note have also used the National Midget Championship as a stepping stone to greater things, such as coach Ken Hitchcock of the Philadelphia Flyers.