In 1966, with seven teams based in Alberta and Saskatchewan, the Western Hockey League was born. Originally known as the Canadian Major Junior Hockey League, it was renamed the Western Canada Hockey League in 1967. With a franchise transfer into Portland, Oregon in 1976 and the league expanding into Seattle the next year, the league officially dropped the "Canadian" from its name, becoming the WHL. Currently the league has eighteen franchises in four provinces and two states. Like the Ontario League, the WHL is the premier league for developing young hockey players in Western Canada and has produced many top NHLers, like Joe Sakic, Theo Fleury and Brad Stuart.
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