The Western Hockey League’s Portland Winterhawks may not boast big-name talent, but make no mistake — the National Hockey League starts here. Literally. Since the team relocated to Portland in 1976, the major-junior-league Winterhawks have sent more than 100 players to the NHL, including hall-of-famers like Mark Messier and Cam Neeley. So keep your eyes glued to the ice at Memorial Coliseum, because hockey’s next all-star might just be a slap shot away from becoming a household name.
The Winterhawks’ season runs September-March, though they’re no strangers to post-season play; the team thrilled its avid fans by winning the 2013 WHL Championship.