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McArdle Enjoying Experience of a Lifetime

by Staff Writer / Florida Panthers
by Dave Joseph for

Kenndal McArdle describes the last five months as a “rollercoaster ride.” But it’s a journey he wouldn’t trade for anything.

McArdle, the Panthers’ first pick (20th overall) in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft, finds himself this weekend playing in the Canadian Hockey League’s prestigious Memorial Cup after a sometimes tumultuous season in the Western Hockey League (WHL).

“It’s something special to play in the Memorial Cup,” said McArdle, a 6-0, 200-pounder left winger who will play for the host Vancouver Giants. “As a kid in Canada it’s something you watch on television and dream of playing in. It just marks another experience in a great season.”

McArdle’s season turned in December when, after 3 ½ seasons playing for the Moose Jaw Warriors, he was dealt to the Giants. For McArdle, there was a learning curve of not only playing a new system but doing it in a new WHL conference.

“I think anytime you’re traded it comes as a shock,” McArdle, 20, said. “There is an adjustment period. In Moose Jaw we were in more of a run-and-gun team. Myself and a few other guys were given the lead to create more offense. But that was the Eastern Conference. Coming to Vancouver in the Western Conference, it’s a little tighter checking. It’s a more defensive style of play.”

McArdle, called by Giants’ GM Scott Bonner one of the “premier forwards in the WHL,” adjusted well to his new surroundings. Along with scoring 19 goals in 63 games with Moose Jaw and Vancouver, McArdle was a member of Team Canada’s gold medal-winning team at the World Juniors.

And now he gets a chance to compete in the Memorial Cup.

“Getting traded turned out to be a great opportunity,” he said. “To be able to play in the Memorial Cup, and on top of that the World Juniors, has been an experience of a lifetime.”

The Memorial Cup, which kicks off Friday night in Vancouver at Pacific Coliseum, will feature McArdle’s Giants, the Plymouth Whalers, Lewiston MAINEiacs and Medicine Hat Tigers, who beat the Giants in seven games to win the Western Hockey League championship.

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