The Hampton Roads Whalers are proud to announce that former Whaler Junior player Radoslav Illo has been selected by the Anaheim Ducks in the 5th round of this year's NHL entry draft. Radoslav was a key player for the Whalers Junior "A" team during the 2007-2008 season and led the team in scoring with 48 goals, 38 assists for 86 points. The team played a tough schedule against some of North America's top teams from leagues including the NAHL, EJHL, AJHL, OPJHL and CSHL as well as several top ACHA Division 1 teams. Radoslav was the MVP of the 2007 Gardner Cup U20 AAA Tournament in Toronto in which the Whalers were tournament champions. The Whalers were also finalist in the prestigious Northwood School Invitational Tournament in Lake Placid, New York which also showcased other current NHL draft picks. The 2007-2008 team finished with a record of 41-19-4. Current Whaler Junior "C" Head Coach Walt Hudson was then assistant coach of the Whaler Independent "A" team and had this to say about Radoslav:
"Rado was a great young raw talent that took advantage of the Whaler training program and molded himself into an elite player. He is a great example of what a player from our program can achieve with hard work and dedication".
Radoslav tops a growing list of players that have moved on from the Whaler Junior program to play in several NCAA programs and top junior leagues including the USHL, NAHL, AJHL, EJHL, CSHL and Canadian Junior "A". Hampton Roads Whalers General Manager and Junior B Head Coach Tom Winkler had this to say about Radoslav:
"We are excited for Rado and his family. We wish him the best of luck in pursuit of his dream of playing in the National Hockey League. We were excited to have Rado begin his career in North America with us".
In the past three years the Hampton Roads Whalers have had quite an impressive run and a great history of developing players. During the Whalers inaugural season in 2006-2007 the Whalers were 35-0-5 and were the Continental Hockey Association's Junior B regular season and playoff champions and finished the season as the only undefeated junior team in the nation. During the 2007-2008 season the Whalers expanded to three teams with the addition of the Independent A team and Junior C team. That year the Junior B team once again repeated as CHA league champions with a record of 43-16-5 and made the clubs first appearance at the USA Hockey Junior National Championships. The 2008-2009 season saw continued growth and success and the Junior B team being promoted to the Metropolitan Junior Hockey League (MET League). The Whalers recorded its third consecutive league championship taking the MET South title with a 53-12 record and then finishing as playoff runner-up. The Junior C Whaler "Green" team finished the season 28-15-2 as the SEJHL's runner up and participant in the USA Hockey Junior National Championship where they finished with a record of 1-1-1.
"The development of Chilled Ponds Ice Sports Complex and unprecedented success of the Hampton Roads Whalers Hockey Club has placed our teams, players, coaches and community in the national hockey spotlight. Our vision to develop Whaler hockey players though an intensive and progressive format has created tremendous opportunities for our athletes. The recent success of Radoslav Illo's selection to the NHL's Anaheim Ducks is yet another great accomplishment which demonstrates the high quality of our programming. We are proud of Radoslav and look forward to watching him competing in the National Hockey League in future years." -Patrick Cavanagh, Owner Chilled Ponds Ice Sports Complex/Hampton Roads Whalers Junior Hockey Club