Pro hockey: Federal Way's T.C. Cratsenberg traded to Chilliwack

T.C. Cratsenberg’s professional hockey career continues, just in a different place.

The 18-year-old Federal Way resident was traded last week by the Western Hockey League’s Spokane Chiefs to the Chilliwack (British Columbia) Bruins. Cratsenberg appeared in 68 games and had 84 penalty minutes during his career with the Chiefs. He was a sixth round pick in the 2007 draft and was in his third season in Spokane.

“Considering the dynamics of our current roster T.C. was going to have a tough time getting the ice time that he deserved,” said Chiefs General Manager Tim Speltz. “Hopefully he can take advantage of the opportunity in Chilliwack. We wish him the best of luck.”

The 6-foot-2, 185-pound center was traded for a conditional eighth-round pick in the 2012 WHL Bantam Draft. This season, Cratsenberg had appeared in just five of the Chiefs’ 10 games. In those games he had just one assist, but racked up 55 penalty minutes, mostly for fighting.

The WHL is one of the three Major Junior ice hockey leagues, which constitute the Canadian Hockey League. The other two are the Ontario Hockey League and the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. The three leagues are the major feeder programs into the National Hockey League. Last year alone, 43 WHL players were selected in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, including seven in the first round.

Signing a professional contract with the Spokane Chiefs was a huge decision for Cratsenberg, who had always dreamed of playing college hockey. But it was an opportunity he couldn't pass up. After being drafted by Spokane in 2007, Cratsenberg earned a coveted spot on one of the premier 16-and-under junior hockey teams in the nation — Detroit Compuware. The team played close to 80 games and has fed several players into professional hockey.

During his one season in Michigan, Cratsenberg, who attended a Detroit-area high school during his sophomore year, finished as the team's second-leading scorer with 19 goals in 30 league games. He signed with Spokane the next year.

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