Josh Anderson is going to the Western Hockey League championship series.
The defenceman, who grew up in Lake Cowichan and Duncan, and played in the Cowichan Valley Minor Hockey Association, advanced to the WHL finals with the Swift Current Broncos, who eliminated the Lethbridge Hurricanes in six games with a 5-1 win in Lethbridge on Monday.
It was the quickest series so far for the Broncos, who went to seven games in their first two series against the Regina Pats and Moose Jaw Warriors. Anderson, who played with the Prince George Cougars from 2014-15 until he was sent to Swift Current at this year’s trade deadline, has two assists and 13 penalty minutes in 20 playoff games with the Broncos.
A 2016 draft pick of the Colorado Avalanche, Anderson signed his first NHL contract earlier this spring.
Among his teammates in Swift Current is Jackson Alexander, who played for Shawnigan Lake School and earned a scholarship to the University of Denver when he was just 15, but opted during the 2017-18 season to leave the B.C. Hockey League’s Victoria Grizzlies for the WHL. Also a defenceman, Alexander has one assist in 20 playoff games with the Broncos.
The best-of-seven WHL series starts on Friday in Swift Current.
Earlier in the playoffs, Anderson and the Broncos seemed to be on a collision course with Jordan Topping, Dylan Coghlan and the Tri-City Americans, who swept their first two series against the Kelowna Rockets and Victoria Royals. That matchup was ruled out when the Americans were eliminated by WHL MVP Carter Hart and the Everett Silvertips on Tuesday. Everett beat Tri-City in six games, wrapping the series up with a 6-5 overtime win on Monday.
Topping, who grew up on Saltspring Island and played minor hockey in the Cowichan Valley and spent a year with the junior A Capitals, had two goals and three assists in six games against Everett, while Coghlan, who was born in Duncan and raised in Nanaimo, had three helpers.
Topping finished the 2018 WHL playoffs with four goals and 10 assists in 14 games, while Coghlan, who is under contract to the Vegas Golden Knights, had three goals and 11 helpers in 14 games.