Bettendorf native Jake Toporowski followed in his father's famous footsteps Thursday.|
The son of Quad City Mallards great Kerry Toporowski was selected in the third round, with the 60th pick overall, in the Western Hockey League's Bantam Draft. The 6-foot defenseman was chosen by the Spokane Chiefs, the same Washington state squad his father played for in the major junior circuit from 1989-91, winning a title his final season.
Despite only being 15, Toporowski petitioned the WHL earlier in the spring and received approval to be eligible for the bantam draft based on family history and current relationships within the league. The WHL features college-age players, with Toporowski receiving a year of paid college for every year he plays in the league, though the scholarship package is void if a pro contract is signed, Toporowski's father said.
Toporowski registered two goals and 13 points in 23 games this recently-completed season to help the Chicago Mission to the Illinois bantam major state title. Toporowski's younger brother Luke (pee wee minor) and Gavin Gulash (bantam minor), the son of another former Mallard, Gary Gulash, also won state titles this season with the Mission.
Both Kerry Toporowski, one of four Mallards to have their jersey number retired, and Gary Gulash settled locally after each won a pair of titles with the Mallards. Kerry's brother Shayne, an 18-year minor league veteran, also played for QC's minor league squad last season.
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