Seasoned WHL vet Chorney beginning to realize his potential at the U SPORTS level

Carter Chorney scored the game-winner for the Griffins last Saturday against Manitoba (Derek Harback photo).
Carter Chorney scored the game-winner for the Griffins last Saturday against Manitoba (Derek Harback photo).

Jefferson Hagen
MacEwan Athletics

EDMONTON – As his 200-foot game developed over a five-year Western Hockey League career, Carter Chorney became the kind of complete player that a coach can put into any situation.

But hidden in there is still the high-end offensive skill that saw him put up 66 points in 36 games in his WHL draft year, playing U15AAA for the Sherwood Park Flyers.

When Chorney finds the space, he can deliver big time – exactly what MacEwan Griffins men's hockey fans were treated to last Saturday. 

With just 2:06 remaining and the game deadlocked 2-2 with the Manitoba Bisons, he snapped a shot from the left circle that made the water bottle dance before he had his own dance up the ice in a wild celebration with teammates that he made sure the visitors had full view of. 

The Bisons were the team that knocked him out with a shoulder injury just 14 games into his rookie season last November, so to score the game-winner against them was personal.

"That was definitely big for me, confidence-wise, and especially for our team," he said. "It was the first time in two years sweeping a weekend, so it was pretty big for us. 

"For me personally, being out all of last year and (scoring) against the team that put me out, it was pretty big."

Chorney hopes to keep his offensive production rolling when the UBC Thunderbirds pay a visit to the Downtown Community Arena this weekend (Friday, 7 p.m. and Saturday, 3 p.m., both Canada West TV). 

Fans at Saturday's game who are in a Halloween costume have a chance to win a prize for the best dressed.


"That was a big goal for us, obviously, as the game winner," said Dailey of Chorney's first of the season. "No surprise to us, we see him in practice every week. His shot release is one of his biggest strengths. We talk as a team about getting pucks off quickly. 

"If you rewatch the goal, he doesn't stickhandle. It's on and off his stick right away. Goalies don't have time to set up. It's a big-time shot, but it's something we see a lot in practice."

Chorney was one of the top players in the province in his younger days, and was rewarded by being selected 39th overall in the 2016 WHL draft by the Spokane Chiefs. That next season as he played U18AAA for Sherwood Park, putting up an impressive 31 points in 30 games as a first-year in the age group, he got the call to play for Team Alberta at the Western Canada Cup.

"We had a pretty good team," he said of a group that included NHLers Peyton Krebs, Dylan Holloway, Bowen Byram, Kirby Dach and others. "We ended up winning gold. It was a pretty special team we had there."

Also on that squad is former Griffins and Medicine Hat Tigers teammate Daniel Baker and several of his current Canada West opponents, including one he'll see this weekend – UBC's Jake Lee, who was also his teammate in the Sherwood Park elite hockey system.

Chorney went on to produce 64 points over 219 WHL games for Spokane, Swift Current, Regina and Medicine Hat, also playing part of the 2021-22 season for the Sherwood Park Crusaders of the AJHL.

When it came time to pick a university destination, he and good friend Baker finished their overage season with Medicine Hat and yearned for home cooking again.

"We just found being away from home is obviously tough for that long," said Chorney. "I left when I was 16, so it was time to come home and spend some time with my family, and live at home, too. I haven't done that since midget, so it was definitely a treat to come back and be with my family."

Carter Chorney hasn't played centre since he was 18 in junior, but he's embracing a position switch for the Griffins (Derek Harback photo).

Getting comfortable again at home, Chorney is also finding his stride with the Griffins. Dailey recently moved him to centre, a position he hasn't played for a few years, but he's settling in.

"I think the biggest thing for him is just finding time to shoot the puck and get into spaces where he can use his good shot," said Dailey. "That's definitely a challenge and not everyone has that, but if he can figure out ways to get himself into shooting positions, he's got the linemates who will find him."

Meanwhile, Chorney remains a team player and is leaning on all aspects of his game that he honed over years of experience playing Major Junior. It's not necessarily going to be offence that determines whether he has a successful U SPORTS career, but it's certainly an aspect of his game he has.

"I feel like I've always valued my shot as a player and I feel like I should use it more than I do, but I feel going through the Western League it taught me to learn both sides of my game," he said. 

"Whatever I can do to help the team and better them every weekend is my end goal. But helping the team offensively and being a 200-foot guy is kind of my style and how I like to represent myself. Just being able to play in any situation – powerplay, penalty kill, 6-on-5 – anything. I like to be able to be around and be an option for the coaches if they need me."