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Four Winterhawks Alumni Named to Olympic Teams

January 26, 2022 - Western Hockey League (WHL) - Portland Winterhawks News Release

Portland, Ore. - The Portland Winterhawks, proud member club of the Western Hockey League, are pleased to recognize four alumni - defenseman Tyler Wotherspoon (Canada) and forwards Marcel Noebels (Germany), Rodrigo Abols (Latvia) and Rihards Bukarts (Latvia) - who have been announced as members of their respective national ice hockey teams ahead of the 2022 Winter Olympics in February.

This news comes within a year of Abols, Noebels and Bukarts suiting up for their national teams during the 2021 IIHF World Championships.

Wotherspoon, 28, debuted with the Winterhawks in the 2008-09 season and played in Portland through the 2012-13 season. A native of Surrey, B.C., Wotherspoon served as an alternate captain on the Winterhawks' WHL Championship-winning roster in 2013. Originally selected by Portland in the second round, #23 overall, in the 2008 WHL Bantam Draft, Wotherspoon played 239 games for the Winterhawks and amassed 17 goals and 65 assists. Since leaving Portland, Wotherspoon has played 491 professional games in the AHL and NHL, and currently plays for the Utica Comets, AHL affiliate of the NHL's New Jersey Devils.

Noebels, 29, skated in 31 games for the Winterhawks during the 2011-12 campaign. Noebels joined the team after playing the prior two seasons with the Seattle Thunderbirds, notching 10 goals and 24 assists during his tenure in the Rose City. The 6-foot-3, 205-pound playmaker from Tönisvorst, Germany was a playoff performer for the Winterhawks, securing 23 points in 22 games to help lead the Hawks to the WHL Championship series in 2012. Since graduating from the WHL, Noebels spent two seasons with the Adirondack Phantoms of the American Hockey League before returning to his home country to play for Eisbären Berlin. A veteran of over 400 professional games, Noebels has worn the "A" for Germany throughout his playing career and will compete in his first Olympic Games.

Abols, 26, spent parts of two seasons with the Winterhawks from 2015-17. After being drafted by Portland in the first round, #50 overall, in the 2015 CHL Import Draft, the Riga, Latvia native played 62 games for the Winterhawks as a rookie, totaling 20 goals and 29 assists for 49 points. He then recorded one assist in two games with Portland the following year before joining the Acadie-Bathurst Titan in the QMJHL during his 20-year-old season. Abols was selected in the seventh round, #184 overall, of the 2016 NHL Draft by the Vancouver Canucks, and currently serves as captain of Örebro HK in the SHL.

Bukarts, 26, was acquired from the Brandon Wheat Kings during the 2015-16 WHL season and played 55 games with the Winterhawks. A native of Jurmala, Latvia, Bukarts was a teammate of Abols during his time in Portland and has since gone on to play in over 150 professional games between the AHL, KHL and DEL.


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