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Blake Wheeler

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Wheeler attended [[Breck School]] his freshman year through his junior year. There, during his junior year, Wheeler had his breakout season, putting up a state-high 45 goals and 55 assists in 2003–04. He led his team to a Class A State Hockey Championship that season, and scored a [[hat-trick#Hockey|hat trick]] in the final game.
 
Wheeler attended [[Breck School]] his freshman year through his junior year. There, during his junior year, Wheeler had his breakout season, putting up a state-high 45 goals and 55 assists in 2003–04. He led his team to a Class A State Hockey Championship that season, and scored a [[hat-trick#Hockey|hat trick]] in the final game.
   
Wheeler opted to forego his senior year to play in the [[United States Hockey League]] (USHL) with the [[Green Bay Gamblers]]. After playing one season with the Gamblers, Wheeler attended the [[University of Minnesota]]. In 2005–06, his freshman year with the [[Minnesota Golden Gophers]], he recorded 23 points in 39 games, playing alongside future Boston Bruins teammate [[Phil Kessel]]. Wheeler is praised for his deceptive speed with his large body frame, and his ability to stick handle at such high speeds.
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Wheeler opted to forego his senior year to play in the [[United States Hockey League]] (USHL) with the [[Green Bay Gamblers]]. After playing one season with the Gamblers, Wheeler attended the [[University of Minnesota]]. In 2005–06, his freshman year with the [[Minnesota Golden Gophers]], he recorded 23 points in 39 games, playing alongside future Boston Bruins teammate [[Phil Kessel]]. Wheeler is praised for his deceptive speed with his large body frame, and his ability to stick handle at such high speeds.{{By whom|date=January 2009}}
   
In the 2007 [[Western Collegiate Hockey Association|WCHA]] Final Five tournament, Wheeler recorded a hat trick in a 4–2 win in the semifinal game against the [[University of Wisconsin–Madison]].<ref name="wcco1">{{cite web |url=http://wcco.com/sports/local_story_075230122.html |title=WCHA Final Five: Gophers Win, Wheeler Hat Trick |publisher=[[WCCO-TV]] |accessdate=2007-07-29 |archiveurl = http://web.archive.org/web/20070929090455/http://wcco.com/sports/local_story_075230122.html <!-- Bot retrieved archive --> |archivedate = 2007-09-29}}</ref> In the championship game, Wheeler scored the [[game winning goal]] in a 3–2 overtime win against the [[North Dakota Fighting Sioux]]. The play was featured on [[ESPN]]'s SportsCenter and quickly gained notoriety for its similarity to the game-winning goal in the 1979 [[NCAA]] Championship Game, scored by Minnesota's [[Neal Broten]], also against North Dakota.<ref name="gophersports1">{{cite web |url=http://www.gophersports.com/ViewArticle.dbml?SPSID=38855&SPID=3322&DB_OEM_ID=8400&ATCLID=829335 |title=Blake Wheeler Goal Makes ESPN's Top 10 Plays |publisher=GopherSports.com |accessdate=2007-07-29}}</ref> Wheeler was named the tournament [[MVP]].<ref name="wcco2">{{cite web |url=http://wcco.com/sports/local_story_077100640.html |title=Gophers Defeat N.D. In OT, 3-2 |publisher=WCCO-TV |accessdate=2007-07-29 |archiveurl = http://web.archive.org/web/20070321015216/http://wcco.com/sports/local_story_077100640.html <!-- Bot retrieved archive --> |archivedate = 2007-03-21}}</ref>
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In the 2007 [[Western Collegiate Hockey Association|WCHA]] Final Five tournament, Wheeler recorded a hat trick in a 4–2 win in the semifinal game against the [[University of Wisconsin–Madison]].<ref name="wcco1">{{cite web |url=http://wcco.com/sports/local_story_075230122.html |title=WCHA Final Five: Gophers Win, Wheeler Hat Trick |publisher=[[WCCO-TV]] |accessdate=2007-07-29 |archiveurl = http://web.archive.org/web/20070929090455/http://wcco.com/sports/local_story_075230122.html <!-- Bot retrieved archive --> |archivedate = 2007-09-29}}</ref> In the championship game, Wheeler scored the [[game winning goal]] in a 3–2 overtime win against the [[North Dakota Fighting Sioux]]. The play was featured on [[ESPN]]'s [[SportsCenter]] and quickly gained notoriety for its similarity to the game-winning goal in the 1979 [[NCAA]] Championship Game, scored by Minnesota's [[Neal Broten]], also against North Dakota.<ref name="gophersports1">{{cite web |url=http://www.gophersports.com/ViewArticle.dbml?SPSID=38855&SPID=3322&DB_OEM_ID=8400&ATCLID=829335 |title=Blake Wheeler Goal Makes ESPN's Top 10 Plays |publisher=GopherSports.com |accessdate=2007-07-29}}</ref> Wheeler was named the tournament [[MVP]].<ref name="wcco2">{{cite web |url=http://wcco.com/sports/local_story_077100640.html |title=Gophers Defeat N.D. In OT, 3-2 |publisher=WCCO-TV |accessdate=2007-07-29 |archiveurl = http://web.archive.org/web/20070321015216/http://wcco.com/sports/local_story_077100640.html <!-- Bot retrieved archive --> |archivedate = 2007-03-21}}</ref>
   
 
Early in the 2007–08 season, following injuries to [[Ryan Stoa]] and Mike Howe, Wheeler was named an [[Captain (ice hockey)#Alternate captains|alternate captain]] for the Golden Gophers and recorded 35 points in 44 games. At the end of the season, four years after he was drafted, Wheeler had yet to come to a contract agreement with the Coyotes. Given the option, Wheeler elected to become an unrestricted free agent despite a maximum entry-level contract offer from the club.<ref>{{cite web |url=http://coyotes.nhl.com/team/app/?service=page&page=NewsPage&articleid=364733 |title=Former Coyotes draft pick Blake Wheeler elects for free agency |publisher=NHL.com |accessdate=2008-05-29}}</ref>
 
Early in the 2007–08 season, following injuries to [[Ryan Stoa]] and Mike Howe, Wheeler was named an [[Captain (ice hockey)#Alternate captains|alternate captain]] for the Golden Gophers and recorded 35 points in 44 games. At the end of the season, four years after he was drafted, Wheeler had yet to come to a contract agreement with the Coyotes. Given the option, Wheeler elected to become an unrestricted free agent despite a maximum entry-level contract offer from the club.<ref>{{cite web |url=http://coyotes.nhl.com/team/app/?service=page&page=NewsPage&articleid=364733 |title=Former Coyotes draft pick Blake Wheeler elects for free agency |publisher=NHL.com |accessdate=2008-05-29}}</ref>
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