Spokane Chiefs
CitySpokane, Washington
LeagueWestern Hockey League
ConferenceWestern
DivisionU.S.
Founded1982
Home arenaSpokane Veterans Memorial Arena
ColorsRed, white and blue
     
General managerScott Carter
Head coachAdam Maglio
ChampionshipsEd Chynoweth Cup
2 (1991, 2008)
Memorial Cup
2 (1991, 2008)
Websitewww.spokanechiefs.com
Franchise history
1982–1985Kelowna Wings
1985–presentSpokane Chiefs

The Spokane Chiefs are a major junior ice hockey team that plays in the Western Hockey League based out of Spokane, Washington. The team plays its home games at the Spokane Arena. Their uniforms are similar to those of the NHL's Montreal Canadiens. Spokane consistently ranks in the top 10 in the Canadian Hockey League in attendance.[1] The Chiefs won the Memorial Cup in 1991 and 2008. They also hosted the first outdoor hockey game in WHL history on January 15, 2011, at Avista Stadium versus the Kootenay Ice.

History

The Chiefs line up for a game with the Tri-City Americans.
The Chiefs line up for a game with the Tri-City Americans.

The Spokane Chiefs was the name of the hockey team that played in the Western International Hockey League (WIHL) from 1982 to 1985. In their final year, the Chiefs were the regular season champions of the WIHL.[2]

The current franchise was granted in 1982 to Kelowna, British Columbia, as the Kelowna Wings. In 1985, the team relocated to Spokane, Washington, and became the Chiefs. Before the Spokane Chiefs, there was another WHL franchise in Spokane, the Spokane Flyers, which played between 1980 and 1982.

The Chiefs won the WHL and CHL Memorial Cup championships in 1991 and 2008. In addition, they have won two division titles and four Western Conference championships. The Chiefs and Portland Winter Hawks are the only United States based teams to win the Memorial Cup. The Chiefs were also the first team in the Western Hockey League to come back from an 0–3 deficit to win a best-of-seven series, which they did against the Portland Winter Hawks in 1996.

The 1991 Memorial Cup team included future NHL players: Ray Whitney, Pat Falloon, Trevor Kidd, Jon Klemm, and Scott Bailey. This team of future NHLers blew through the Memorial Cup tournament, scoring a goal in the first couple of minutes of most games.

The Chiefs won the Western Conference Championship cup in 1991, 1996, 2000 and 2008.
The Chiefs won the Western Conference Championship cup in 1991, 1996, 2000 and 2008.

The Chiefs' moved to the new Spokane Arena in 1995 and has since hosted many memorable events. In the first year, the Chiefs won 50 games and advanced to the WHL finals, losing in five games to the Brandon Wheat Kings. Two years later, the Chiefs hosted the 1998 Memorial Cup, setting an attendance record at the time. In the 1999–00 season, head coach Mike Babcock led the team from a last place finish the previous year to a first place, 47-win season. The Chiefs advanced to play the Kootenay Ice in the WHL finals, but lost in six games.

Between 2001 and 2005, the Chiefs struggled, going through three head coaches in five years: Perry Ganchar (resigned), Al Conroy (fired) and Bill Peters. Spokane continued to support the team, consistently averaging 6,000–7,000 fans per game, one of the top figures in the Western and Canadian Hockey Leagues. The Chiefs are also known for a goal celebration often called the 'best in junior hockey.'[3] In 1999, the fans were named the best in the WHL. On Saturday nights, often referred to as 'Hockey Night in Spokane', the Spokane Arena is generally sold out, and sellouts are expected when the Tri-City Americans come to town.

The Chiefs lower the Memorial Cup via rope, from the roof of the Spokane Arena on Opening Night 2008. Four months earlier, the Cup broke in the Chiefs hands during the celebration in Kitchener, Ontario.
The Chiefs lower the Memorial Cup via rope, from the roof of the Spokane Arena on Opening Night 2008. Four months earlier, the Cup broke in the Chiefs hands during the celebration in Kitchener, Ontario.

The 2007–08 season produced the most wins by a Spokane Chiefs' team since the 1999–00 season, a season which saw the Chiefs go to the WHL Finals. The team, backed by a solid goaltending tandem and an offensive attack led by Carolina Hurricanes' draft pick Drayson Bowman, ranked in the top ten of the CHL for most of the season and reached the #1 spot in late February. In one of the greatest series in WHL history,[citation needed] the Chiefs beat their arch-rival, the Tri-City Americans, four games to three in the Western Conference finals to earn a spot in the 2008 WHL Finals. Five of the seven games went into overtime, including three games decided in double overtime.

In the Finals, the Chiefs outscored the Lethbridge Hurricanes 15–5 and swept the series 4–0, just as they did in the 1991 WHL playoffs, to earn a trip to the Memorial Cup in Kitchener, Ontario. The Chiefs skated to a perfect 3–0 round-robin record en route to their 2nd Memorial Cup, defeating the host Kitchener Rangers 4–1 in the championship game. The Chiefs remain the only U.S. team ever to win the Memorial Cup on Canadian soil.

The Chiefs and the Portland Winterhawks made history again in the playoffs in 2010, as Portland beat Spokane in the Western Conference quarterfinals, four games to three. It is the only series in Western Hockey League history in which the home team did not win a game.[citation needed]

On May 4, 2010, the Chiefs announced Hardy Sauter's contract was not extended, ending his two-year stint as the team's head coach.[4] Weeks later, former Tri-City coach Don Nachbaur unexpectedly resigned from a coaching position in the AHL and was named the new head coach of the Chiefs hours later.[5]

Nachbaur's first season as head coach was predicted to finish at or near the bottom of the Western Conference,[citation needed] but the Chiefs finished the season with 102 points, the third highest total in team history, and only one point away from the regular season Western Conference title. Led by Tampa Bay Lightning prospect Tyler Johnson, the Chiefs led the league in goals scored and power play goals. The Chiefs also allowed the second fewest goals in the league, led by Ottawa Senators prospect Jared Cowen. Spokane advanced to the Western Conference finals, only to lose to Portland four games to two. Nachbaur was named WHL Coach of the Year for 2011 becoming the only coach in WHL history to win the honor with three different teams: Spokane, Seattle and Tri-City.

Outdoor hockey game

During the 2010 offseason, the Chiefs and the Western Hockey League announced the WHL's first outdoor hockey game would be played in Spokane on January 15, 2011, between the Chiefs and the Kootenay Ice. While the game was welcomed with great excitement in Spokane, many fans questioned the location of the 7,000-seat Avista Stadium, the home of the Spokane Indians baseball club. Joe Albi Stadium, a 28,000-seat facility that usually hosts high school and college football, was thought to be a much-better choice. Chiefs' owner Bobby Brett, who also owns the Indians baseball team, said the Chiefs could not reach an agreement with the city on using Joe Albi.

The Chiefs hosted the Kootenay Ice in the WHL's first-ever outdoor hockey game at Avista Stadium in Spokane. The Chiefs won the game 11–2.
The Chiefs hosted the Kootenay Ice in the WHL's first-ever outdoor hockey game at Avista Stadium in Spokane. The Chiefs won the game 11–2.

Construction crews begin their work at Avista Stadium the week after New Year's. A platform was constructed between first and third base on the baseball field, and then the ice refrigeration unit was placed on top of the platform. It took crews about one week to have the ice rink ready to go.

Weather played a critical role in the lead up to the game and on game day itself. Initial forecasts called for arctic temperatures and more than a foot of snow falling on January 15. That changed the week of the game, when a warm Pacific storm went through the northwest and melted nearly a foot of snow already on the ground in Spokane. The temperatures on game day reached 50-degrees and there was no snow. Moments before the puck dropped, the sky turned cloudy and hid the sun allowing for optimal conditions. In the end, the game was played at Avista Stadium in front of a sell-out crowd of 7,075. While they enjoyed the experience, many fans complained about the view from their seats at Avista Stadium. Fans who bought front-row tickets discovered they were eye-level with the side boards, making only the upper-part of the players' bodies visible and making it impossible to see the puck.[6]

The Chiefs won the game 11–2 over Kootenay, as nine different players scored for Spokane. Brett and the Chiefs organization have said it is very unlikely an outdoor game would ever be played in Spokane again, although the following day general manager Tim Speltz did leave open the possibility of hosting a game at Joe Albi Stadium.

Players

Current roster

Updated October 22, 2021.[7]

# Nat Player Pos S/G Age Acquired Birthplace Drafted
12 United States Erik Atchison C R 19 2017 Las Vegas, Nevada Undrafted
30 Canada Mason Beaupit G L 18 2018 Surrey, British Columbia Eligible 2022
18 Canada Ben Bonni D L 17 2021 Winnipeg, Manitoba Eligible 2022
11 Canada Ty Cheveldayoff LW L 18 2020 Edmonton, Alberta Undrafted
23 Canada Michael Cicek C R 17 2019 Winnipeg, Manitoba Eligible 2022
3 Canada Brayden Crampton D R 17 2021 Chilliwack, British Columbia Eligible 2022
2 Canada Logan Cunningham D L 17 2019 Yellowknife, Northwest Territories Eligible 2022
26 Canada Jack Finley C R 19 2017 Kelowna, British Columbia 2020, 57th Overall, TBL
8 United States Copeland Fricker RW R 18 2018 Midland, Texas Undrafted
4 Canada Chase Friedt-Mohr D R 18 2018 Prince Albert, Saskatchewan Undrafted
15 Canada Kooper Gizowski RW L 16 2020 Edmonton, Alberta Eligible 2023
6 Canada Mac Gross D L 19 2017 Swift Current, Saskatchewan Undrafted
19 Canada Jake Gudelj C L 15 2020 North Vancouver, British Columbia Eligible 2024
9 United States Bear Hughes C R 20 2018 Post Falls, Idaho 2020, 148th Overall, WSH
20 Canada Reed Jacobson C L 19 2017 Swift Current, Saskatchewan Undrafted
21 Belarus Timafey Kovgoreniya D R 18 2021 Minsk, Belarus Undrafted
13 Canada Grady Lane LW R 18 2018 Virden, Manitoba Undrafted
16 Canada Cordel Larson RW R 20 2016 Weyburn, Saskatchewan Undrafted
31 Canada Manny Panghli G L 17 2021 Kamloops, British Columbia Eligible 2022
27 Germany Yannick Proske RW R 18 2021 Weißwasser, Germany Undrafted
17 United States Brandon Reller LW L 18 2019 Hanover, Minnesota Undrafted
7 Canada Graham Sward D L 18 2018 Abbotsford, British Columbia Undrafted
10 Canada Blake Swetlikoff C R 18 2018 Regina, Saskatchewan Undrafted
22 United States Luke Toporowski LW L 20 2016 Bettendorf, Iowa Undrafted
24 Canada Sage Weinstein D L 16 2020 Edmonton, Alberta Eligible 2023
25 Canada Raegan Wiles D R 19 2019 Calgary, Alberta Undrafted

NHL alumni

Club records

On Sept. 27, 2008, the Chiefs unveiled their WHL and Memorial Cup Championship banners. The Chiefs have won two Western Hockey League titles and two Memorial Cup titles. Banners for the championships hang in the Spokane Arena rafters. Division and conference championship banners are hung throughout the Arena concourse.
On Sept. 27, 2008, the Chiefs unveiled their WHL and Memorial Cup Championship banners. The Chiefs have won two Western Hockey League titles and two Memorial Cup titles. Banners for the championships hang in the Spokane Arena rafters. Division and conference championship banners are hung throughout the Arena concourse.

Most goals: 68 - Valeri Bure (1992–93)

Most career goals: 147 - Mitch Holmberg (2009-10, 2010-11, 2011-12, 2012-13, 2013-14)

Most assists: 118 - Ray Whitney (1990–91)

Most points: 185 - Ray Whitney (1990–91)

Most points, rookie: 78 - Pat Falloon (1988–89)

Most points, defenceman: 85 - Brenden Kichton (2012–13)

Most penalty minutes: 505 - Kerry Toporowski (1990–91)

Best goals against average, goaltender: 1.97 - Dustin Tokarski (2008–09)

Most shutouts, goaltender: 15 - Dustin Tokarski (2006–07, 2007–08, 2008–09)

Most saves, goaltender: 2,007 - Troy Gamble (1987–88)

Most regular season wins, goaltender: 85 - James Reid (2008–09, 2009–10, 2010–11)

Most single-season games played, goaltender: 67 - Troy Gamble (1987–88)

Most points in standings, team: 107 (2007–08)

Most wins, team: 50 (1995–96), (2007–08)

Longest game: 2:26:05 - 4 OT's (vs. Vancouver - April 10, 2009) (2nd longest game in WHL history)

Season-by-season record

Regular season

Note: GP = Games played, W = Wins, L = Losses, T = Ties OTL = Overtime losses Pts = Points, GF = Goals for, GA = Goals against

Season GP W L T OTL GF GA Points Finish Playoffs
1985–86 72 30 41 1 - 373 413 61 3rd West Lost West Division semi-final
1986–87 72 37 33 2 - 374 350 76 3rd West Lost West Division semi-final
1987–88 72 37 32 3 - 330 296 77 2nd West Lost West Division final
1988–89 72 25 45 2 - 326 419 56 6th West Out of playoffs
1989–90 72 30 37 5 - 334 344 65 4th West Lost West Division semi-final
1990–91 72 48 23 1 - 435 275 97 2nd West Won WHL championship and Memorial Cup
1991–92 72 37 29 6 - 267 270 80 2nd West Lost West Division semi-final
1992–93 72 28 40 4 - 311 319 60 5th West Lost West Division semi-final
1993–94 72 31 37 4 - 324 320 66 5th West Lost West Division quarter-final
1994–95 72 32 36 4 - 244 261 68 5th West Lost West Division semi-final
1995–96 72 50 18 4 - 322 221 104 1st West Lost WHL finals
1996–97 72 35 33 4 - 260 235 74 3rd West Lost West Division semi-final
1997–98 72 45 23 4 - 288 235 94 2nd West Lost West Division final & Lost Memorial Cup
1998–99 72 19 44 9 - 193 268 47 7th West Out of playoffs
1999–00 72 47 19 4 2 272 191 100 1st West Lost WHL finals
2000–01 72 35 28 7 2 242 219 79 4th West Lost West Division final
2001–02 72 33 25 11 3 223 206 80 2nd U.S. Lost Western Conference semi-final
2002–03 72 26 36 6 4 216 261 62 2nd U.S. Lost Western Conference semi-final
2003–04 72 32 29 4 7 200 215 75 4th U.S. Lost Western Conference quarter-final
2004–05 72 24 38 8 2 192 230 58 5th U.S. Out of playoffs
Season GP W L OTL SOL GF GA Points Finish Playoffs
2005–06 72 25 39 5 3 193 254 58 5th U.S. Out of playoffs
2006–07 72 36 28 4 4 232 217 80 4th U.S. Lost Western Conference quarter-final
2007–08 72 50 15 1 6 251 160 107 2nd U.S. Won WHL championship and Memorial Cup
2008–09 72 46 23 0 3 246 145 95 2nd U.S. Lost Western Conference semi-final
2009–10 72 45 22 3 2 240 179 95 3rd U.S. Lost Western Conference quarter-final
2010–11 72 48 18 4 2 310 193 102 2nd U.S. Lost Western Conference final
2011–12 72 38 25 5 4 257 225 85 3rd U.S. Lost Western Conference semi-final
2012–13 72 44 26 2 0 269 230 90 2nd U.S. Lost Western Conference semi-final
2013–14 72 40 26 3 3 244 213 86 4th U.S. Lost Western Conference quarter-final
2014–15 72 34 34 3 1 219 229 72 4th U.S. Lost Western Conference quarter-final
2015–16 72 33 30 5 4 223 245 75 4th U.S. Lost Western Conference quarter-final
2016–17 72 27 33 8 4 235 272 66 5th U.S. Out of playoffs
2017–18 72 41 25 3 3 282 240 88 3rd U.S. Lost Western Conference quarter-final
2018–19 68 40 21 2 5 267 222 87 2nd U.S. Lost Western Conference final
2019–20 64 41 18 4 1 258 179 87 3rd U.S. Cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic
2020–21 21 6 10 4 1 55 79 17 4th U.S. No playoffs were held

WHL Championship history

Memorial Cup finals history

Playoff history

Executives

Head coaches and all-time regular season records

General managers

Radio and television coverage

Spokane Chiefs games are broadcast on AM 1510 KGA throughout Eastern Washington, Northern Idaho and parts of British Columbia. The current play-by-play broadcaster of the Chiefs is Mike Boyle, a fill-in sports anchor/reporter for KREM 2.[9] Jay Stewart was the radio voice for Spokane through the 2001 season, taking over for longtime broadcaster Craig West who left the organization to join the Tri-City Americans. Jay Stewart is now the Director of Public Relations for the Spokane Chiefs and is the television announcer during live games.

A half-dozen games are televised in the Spokane market on SWX Right Now, a sports and weather subchannel of KHQ-TV.

Arenas

Spokane Arena hockey attendance records

The Spokane Arena is the home of the Spokane Chiefs.
The Spokane Arena is the home of the Spokane Chiefs.

Chiefs attendance averages and WHL attendance rank

Season Total attendance Average Games WHL rank
1996–97 281,743 7,826 36 2nd
1997–98 289,735 8,048 36 2nd
1998–99 259,150 7,404 36 2nd
1999–00 255,974 7,110 36 1st
2000–01 231,960 6,443 36 2nd
2001–02 229,308 6,369 36 3rd
2002–03 219,586 6,099 36 3rd
2003–04 226,550 6,293 36 3rd
2004–05 225,002 6,250 36 4th
2005–06 219,802 6,105 36 5th
2006–07 220,019 6,112 36 4th
2007–08 236,056 6,557 36 3rd
2008–09 239,620 6,656 36 3rd
2009–10 243,370 6,760 36 3rd
2010–11 231,811 6,439 36 3rd
2011–12 231,946 6,442 36 2nd
2012–13 229,232 6,368 36 3rd
2013–14 219,662 6,101 36 4th
2014–15 209, 836 5,829 36 5th

References

  1. ^ "League Attendance Report". Mib.org. Retrieved 2010-07-03.
  2. ^ "The Spokesman-Review - Google News Archive Search". news.google.com.
  3. ^ The StarPhoenix October 28, 2007 (2007-10-28). "On the road again". Canada.com. Retrieved 2010-07-03.
  4. ^ "Spokane Chiefs decline to pick up option on head coach Hardy Sauter's contract - NHL.com - News". NHL.com. Retrieved 2010-07-03.
  5. ^ "Don Nachbaur will coach Chiefs: Official announcement will be made at press conference Wednesday". American Chronicle. 2007-05-14. Retrieved 2010-07-03.
  6. ^ "Blanchette: Chiefs lit the fuse on perfect outdoor outcome". spokesman.com.
  7. ^ WHL Network, Western Hockey League, retrieved 2021-10-22
  8. ^ "Manny Viveiros Hired as Chiefs' Head Coach". OurSports Central. July 9, 2019.
  9. ^ http://www.krem.com/on-tv/bios/65012857.html