Early last week, the Penticton Vees Hockey Club announced the signing of a very familiar name to fans of the Wenatchee Wild’s BCHL era.

Former Wenatchee Wild forward Cade Littler signed on and joined the Vees immediately. LIttler now wears #10 for Penticton. In his first two games with the Vees, Cade had one assist.

Cade Littler is playing in the first line!

Plus former Wild player Parker Murray is playing in Penticton as well in the 3rd line. Parker! Thanks for playing Junior Hockey in Wenatchee - Once a Wild player, always a Wild player!

Wenatchee Wild
Wenatchee Wild


CREDIT: Penticton Vees (via Facebook)
CREDIT: Penticton Vees (via Facebook)


Cade Littler’s productivity caught the eye of the Calgary Flames, who drafted Cade in the 7th round of the 2022 NHL draft. Cade also committed to play college hockey at Minnesota State University, Mankato. Due to a recent head coaching change at Mankato - Cade withdrew his intent to play there. He is on track to eventually play at the iconic University of North Dakota hockey program.

When the Wenatchee Wild left the BCHL for the Western Hockey League - Cade signed with the Cedar Rapids Roughriders in the USHL - the top Tier of US Junior Hockey.

Why doesn’t Cade Littler play for the Wenatchee Wild in the Western Hockey League? 

The short answer is:  If Cade played in the WHL with this year’s Wenatchee Wild team - he would no longer be eligible to play NCAA college hockey here in America. 


The NCAA views the WHL as a non-amateur league. Players in the Western Hockey League all get paid a stipend to play hockey. Cade’s career goals are to get an NCAA hockey scholarship - with a college degree and eventually see if he can play professionally in the NHL.

Cade Litter playing against Penticton CREDIT: Wenatchee Wild
Cade Litter playing against Penticton CREDIT: Wenatchee Wild

What are the Two Major Pipelines into the NHL Pro Hockey?

There are two main routes to pro hockey in the US and Canada. The first is through Major Junior (the Western Hockey League as an example) the other path is through NCAA college hockey.

The NCAA will allow players who have played in any Junior League with the exception of the CHL (made up of the WHL, The Ontario Hockey League, and the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.)

In Canada, players who have played in the CHL are still eligible to play Canadian University hockey (known north of the border as “U Sports”.) 

So what are the tiers of Junior Hockey in North America?

The top of all North American Junior Hockey is the CHL (Canadian Junior Major Hockey.)

Canadien Junior A hockey (10 leagues) is comparable to the USHL and NAHL. A recent NCAA stat showed that the USHL has produced more NCAA Division 1 recruits than any CJHL team (like the BCHL.) 

The Canadien Junior A (BCHL) is comparable to the USHL and the NAHL.

Goalie Coaches did a great job breaking down 9 tiers of junior hockey in Canada & the US

TIER 1: CHL – Canadien Hockey League

  1. WHL – Western Hockey League
  2. OHL – Ontario Hockey League
  3. QMJHL – Quebec Major Junior Hockey League

TIER 2: CJHL – Canadien Junior Hockey League (Junior “A”)

  1. BCHL – British Columbia Hockey League
  2. AJHL – Alberta Junior Hockey League
  3. SJHL – Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League
  4. MJHL – Manitoba Junior Hockey League
  5. SIJHL – Superior International Junior Hockey League
  6. NOJHL – Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League
  7. OJHL – Ontario Junior Hockey League
  8. CCHL – Central Canada Hockey League
  9. QJAAAHL – Quebec Junior AAA Hockey League
  10. MHL – Maritime Hockey League

TIER 3: USHL – United States Hockey League (Tier 1 in the US)

TIER 4: NAHL – North American Hockey League (Tier 2 in the US)

TIER 5: NA3HL – North American “Tier 3” Hockey League (Tier 3 in the US)

TIER 6: EHL – Eastern Hockey League (Tier 3 in the US)

TIER 7: USPHL NCDC – United States Premier Hockey League “National Collegiate Development Conference” (Not Sanctioned…The Seattle Totems are an example of this level of hockey)

TIER 8: Other Junior Hockey Leagues – Canada Junior B / C, WSHL, and Others

TIER 9: Canada Junior B, C, D

INFO: Penticton Vees, Goalie Coaches

Best Things About University of North Dakota Hockey

If there is one thing you should experience in North Dakota, it would be a UND Hockey game. Whether you are a fanatic or just want to see "what it is all about," you will never forget the experience of watching hockey at the Ralph Engelstad Arena in Grand Forks.

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