Seattle Thunderbirds

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Seattle Thunderbirds
Seattle Thunderbirds logo.svg
City Kent, Washington
League Western Hockey League
Conference Western
Division U.S.
Founded 1971
Home arena ShoWare Center
Colors Navy Blue, Green, Grey, White
                   
General manager Canada Russ Farwell
Head coach United States Steve Konowalchuk

Website
www.SeattleThunderbirds.com
Franchise history
1971–73 Vancouver Nats
1973–77 Kamloops Chiefs
1977–85 Seattle Breakers
1985–present Seattle Thunderbirds

The Seattle Thunderbirds are a junior ice hockey team based in the city of Kent, a city south of Seattle, Washington. They are part of the U.S. Division of the Western Hockey League, and play in the ShoWare Center. The team is coached by Steve Konowalchuk and the general manager is Russ Farwell.

History[edit]

Canadian founding[edit]

The team was founded in 1971 as the Vancouver Nats of the Western Canada Hockey League (WCHL) but moved to Kamloops, British Columbia, to become the Kamloops Chiefs in 1973.

Seattle Breakers[edit]

In 1977 the team moved to Seattle and was renamed the Seattle Breakers. The Breakers played in the Seattle Center Ice Arena, known to most local fans as the Mercer Arena, which had a seating capacity of 4,139. Through eight seasons, the Breakers finished with a record of 225-319-32 and playoff record of 11-21, although they twice played in the West Division Finals. [1]

The Modern Era[edit]

In 1982 the Breakers acquired future NHL great Ken Daneyko from Spokane. They made the playoffs and lost in the Divisional final.

After the 1984-1985 season, the Breakers were sold to new owners and renamed the Seattle Thunderbirds.

The 1986-1987 season saw the addition of Glen Goodall, who would remain with the team through 1990. Goodall would go on to set the Western Hockey League career records for most games played (399), goals scored (262), assists (311) and points (573).[2] He is still the Thunderbirds leader in goals, assists and points.[3] His jersey, number 10, is the only one to be retired by the Thunderbirds.

The 1989-1990 season was the best regular season in Thunderbird history, and arguably the greatest team the franchise has ever iced. Seattle finished the season at 52-17-3, which included a 44-8-3 record in their final 55 and the #1 ranking in the final Canadian Hockey League Regular Season Top Ten poll. The team finished 33-2-1 at home tying a WHL record for most home wins. Goodall won the Most Valuable Player award finishing with 76 goals and 87 assists for 163 points, and Petr Nedved won Rookie of the Year. Seattle placed 3 scorers in the top 6 in the league Glen Goodall 2nd with 163 points, Victor Gervais 3rd with 160 points and Petr Nedved 6th with 145 points. Peter Kasowski came over in a trade from Swift Current and finished 13th with 129 points. Goaltender Danny Lorenz finished his career with a WHL record most career saves and minutes played. The team was so popular that they began to play home games in the Seattle Center Coliseum, which could seat over 12,000 for hockey and was frequently sold out. The Thunderbirds defeated the Tri-City Americans 5 games to 2 in the division semifinals, before losing to the eventual Western Hockey League Champion Kamloops Blazers 5 games to 1 in the division finals.

In 1992 the Thunderbirds hosted the Canadian Hockey League championship, the Memorial Cup, but lost in the semi-finals.

The 1996-1997 team, led by Patrick Marleau, finished the season with a record of 41-27-4. They won the Western Conference by beating the Prince George Cougars 4 games to 2. Seattle was beaten by Lethbridge 4 games to 0 in the WHL championship series.

The 2002-2003 season saw the team advance to the conference finals on the back of Brooks Laich, who was named the Western Conference MVP with 41 goals and 94 points. After convincing wins in the early rounds of the playoffs, the Thunderbirds lost to the Kelowna Rockets four games to one. [4]

Stadiums[edit]

The Thunderbirds originally played in the Mercer Arena before moving to the Seattle Center Coliseum (later renamed the KeyArena). Unfortunately, the KeyArena was ill-suited for hockey, as the sight lines were designed for basketball and the ice surface was so far off center that the scoreboard hung over the Thunderbirds' offensive zone instead of center ice. In 2009, the team moved from the KeyArena in Seattle to the newly built ShoWare Center, 20 miles south in Kent, Washington, where they became the anchor tenant. [5]

[edit]

The team's logo depicts a Native American carving of a thunderbird with the word "Seattle" etched into it, framed by two hockey sticks. It is similar to the logo of the Seattle Seahawks of the National Football League. [6]

Season-by-season record[edit]

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
1977–78 72 32 28 12 359 316 76 4th West Out of playoffs - Out of Playoffs
1978–79 72 21 40 11 299 334 53 4th West Out of playoffs - Out of Playoffs
1979–80 72 29 41 2 297 364 60 3rd West Lost West Division final - Defeated by Victoria 4-0
1980–81 72 26 46 0 318 393 52 3rd West Lost West Division semi-final - Defeated by Portland 4-0
1981–82 72 36 34 2 339 310 74 3rd West Lost West Division final - Defeated by Portland 4-2
1982–83 72 24 47 1 319 418 49 4th West Lost West Division semi-final - Defeated by Portland 4-0
1983–84 72 32 39 1 350 379 65 4th West Lost West Division semi-final - Defeated by Kamloops 5-0
1984–85 72 25 44 3 320 416 53 5th West Out of playoffs - Out of Playoffs
1985–86 72 27 43 2 373 413 56 4th West Lost West Division semi-final - Defeated by Kamloops 5-0
1986–87 72 21 47 4 328 430 46 5th West Out of playoffs - Out of Playoffs 1987–88 72 25 46 2 313 436 52 5th West Out of playoffs - Out of Playoffs
1988–89 72 33 35 4 315 276 70 5th West Out of playoffs - Out of Playoffs
1989–90 72 52 17 3 444 295 107 2nd West Lost West Division final - Defeated by Kamloops 5-1
1990–91 72 42 26 4 319 317 88 3rd West Lost West Division semi-final - Defeated by Spokane 5-1
1991–92 72 33 34 5 292 285 71 4th West Lost West Division final - Defeated by Kamloops 4-2
1992–93 72 31 38 3 234 292 65 4th West Lost West Division quarter-final - Defeated by Kamloops 4-1
1993–94 72 32 37 3 283 312 67 4th West Lost West Division semi-final - Defeated by Kamloops 4-2
1994–95 72 42 28 2 319 282 86 3rd West Eliminated in round-robin - Eliminated in round-robin 0-4
1995–96 72 29 36 7 255 281 65 5th West Lost West Division quarter-final - Defeated by Kamloops 4-1
1996–97 72 41 27 4 311 249 86 2nd West Lost final - Defeated by Lethbridge 4-1
1997–98 72 31 35 6 286 278 68 6th West Lost West Division quarter-final - Defeated by Portland 4-1
1998–99 72 37 24 11 279 236 85 3rd West Lost West Division semi-final - Defeated by Tri-City 3-1
1999–00 72 34 27 8 3 250 221 79 3rd West Lost West Division semi-final - Defeated by Prince George 3-0
2000–01 72 30 33 8 1 262 299 69 6th West Lost West Division semi-final - Defeated by Spokane 3-0
2001–02 72 21 40 6 5 235 313 53 4th U.S. Lost Western Conference semi-final - Defeated by Kootenay 4-0
2002–03 72 44 22 3 3 280 224 94 1st U.S. Lost Western Conference final - Defeated by Kelowna 4-1
2003–04 72 24 31 8 9 192 198 65 5th U.S. Out of playoffs - Out of Playoffs
2004–05 72 43 24 2 3 204 144 91 1st U.S. Lost Western Conference semi-final - Defeated by Kelowna 4-3
2005–06 72 35 31 1 5 186 211 76 2nd U.S. Lost Western Conference quarter-final - Defeated by Portland 4-3
2006–07 72 37 21 3 11 209 186 88 3rd U.S. Lost Western Conference semi-final - Defeated by Vancouver 4-1
2007–08 72 42 23 5 2 241 179 91 3rd U.S. Lost Western Conference semi-final - Defeated by Tri-City 4-1
2008–09 72 35 32 1 4 222 234 75 3rd U.S. Lost Western Conference quarter-final - Defeated by Spokane 4-1
2009–10 72 19 41 7 5 172 255 50 5th U.S. Out of playoffs - Out of Playoffs
2010–11 72 29 37 3 3 219 285 64 5th U.S. Out of playoffs - Out of Playoffs
2011–12 72 25 45 1 1 173 292 52 5th U.S. Out of playoffs - Out of Playoffs
2012–13 72 24 38 7 3 210 286 58 4th U.S. Lost Western Conference quarter-final - Defeated by Kelowna 4-3
2013–14 72 41 25 2 4 238 249 88 3rd U.S. Lost Western Conference semi-final - Defeated by Kelowna 4-0

WHL Championship history[edit]

Team records[edit]

Team records for a single season
Statistic Total Season
Most points 107 1989–90
Most wins 52 1989–90
Most goals for 444 1989–90
Least goals for 172 2009–10
Least goals against 144 2004–05
Most goals against 436 1987–88
Individual player records for a single season
Statistic Player Total Season
Most goals Glen Goodall 76 1989–90
Most assists Victor Gervais 96 1989–90
Most points Glen Goodall 163 1989–90
Most points (rookie) Petr Nedved 145 1989–90
Most points (defenseman) Craig Channell 88 1981–82
Most penalty minutes Mitch Wilson 436 1981–82
Most shutouts (goalie) Bryan Bridges 13 2004–05
Best GAA (goalie) Bryan Bridges 1.79 2004–05
Goalies = minimum 1500 minutes played

Career records[edit]

  • Most goals, individual: 262 – Glen Goodall, 1984–90
  • Most assists, individual: 311 – Glen Goodall, 1984–90
  • Most points, individual: 573 – Glen Goodall, 1984–90
  • Most penalty minutes, individual: 929 – Phil Stanger, 1980–83
  • Best goals against average, goaltender: 2.28 – Bryan Bridges, 2003–06
  • Most shutouts, goaltender: 20 – Bryan Bridges, 2003–06
  • Most saves, goaltender: 7727 – Calvin Pickard, 2008–12
  • Most games played, Goaltender: 241 – Calvin Pickard, 2008–12

NHL alumni[edit]

Several National Hockey League players started with the Thunderbirds:

Totals include both the Seattle Thunderbirds and Seattle Breakers.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]