Vancouver Giants

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Vancouver Giants
Vancouver Giants Logo.svg
City Vancouver, British Columbia
League Western Hockey League
Conference Western
Division B.C.
Founded 2001
Home arena Pacific Coliseum
Colours Black, red and silver
General manager Canada Scott Bonner
Head coach Troy G. Ward
Championships 2007 Memorial Cup Champions
2006 WHL Champions


The Vancouver Giants are a major junior ice hockey team playing in the Western Hockey League (WHL). Inaugurated in 2001–02, the Giants have won one President's Cup (now known as the Ed Chynoweth Cup) in 2006 and one Memorial Cup in 2007 in their thirteen-season history. Their home rink is the Pacific Coliseum in Vancouver, British Columbia, which was previously used by the NHL's Vancouver Canucks.

In the 2010-2011 season, the Giants celebrated their 10th anniversary. It was known as the Giant Decade.

The ownership group consists of British Columbia-based businessmen Ron Toigo and Sultan Thiara, Hockey Hall of Fame member Gordie Howe, Pat Quinn, and Canadian big band singer and actor Michael Bublé.[1]


Led by majority owner and British Columbia-based businessman Ron Toigo, the city of Vancouver was granted a WHL franchise for the 2001–02 season. In their inaugural campaign, the Giants compiled 13 wins, 49 losses, and 6 ties. The first goal in franchise history was scored by Tyson Mulock in a loss to the Kamloops Blazers.

The following season, the Giants went 26-37-5-4 (fourth in the B.C. Division) and made their first playoff appearance, but lost in the first round to the eventual President's Cup champions, the Kelowna Rockets, in four games. Second-year forward Adam Courchaine led the team in scoring with 85 points. His 43 goals stood as a single-season franchise record for six years until second-year forward Evander Kane broke it in 2008–09.[2]

In the 2003–04 season, the Giants continued to improve, posting a 33-24-9-6, which marked their first winning season. After defeating the Kamloops Blazers in the first round, the Giants lost in the second round to the expansion team Everett Silvertips in six games. Adam Courchaine led the team again in scoring, finishing ninth overall in the league. Hometown rookie Gilbert Brule, the first overall pick in the 2002 WHL Bantam Draft, scored 60 points and earned the Jim Piggott Memorial Trophy as the league's best first-year player.

In the 2004–05 season, the Giants went 34-30-4-4 and Brulé emerged as a WHL star, finishing third in league scoring with 87 points, which remained a franchise record until overager Casey Pierro-Zabotel snapped it in 2008–09.[3] Courchaine tallied 78 points and finished seventh in league scoring, marking the first and only time thus far that the top ten league scorers would feature two Giants players. In the playoffs, the Giants lost in the first round to Kelowna. Despite the early exit, the Giants drew many fans to the Coliseum that year due to the NHL lockout; game six against the Rockets drew 16,183 fans.[citation needed]

The 2005–06 season featured the Giants' most significant improvement in the standings, becoming one of the WHL's top teams. They finished the season 47-19-0-6, first in the B.C. Division and third in the league overall. In the first round of the playoffs, the Giants beat the Prince George Cougars in five games, then the Portland Winterhawks in the second round, also in five games. In the third and final round, they won eight straight, sweeping both the Everett Silvertips and Moose Jaw Warriors en route to their first ever President's Cup. Gilbert Brulé had returned to the team midway through the season after starting 2005-06 with the NHL's Columbus Blue Jackets and earned the airBC Trophy as the playoff MVP after scoring 16 goals and 30 points in 18 post-season games, including 5 goals and 12 points in the finals.

By winning the WHL league title, the Giants earned their first Memorial Cup appearance in Moncton, New Brunswick. The Giants finished the round-robin tied for third, then defeated the Peterborough Petes in a tie-breaker in order to move on to the playoffs, but lost to the Moncton Wildcats in the semifinal. Brule scored 12 points in 5 games, earning the Ed Chynoweth Trophy, as tournament leading scorer. He was also named to the Memorial Cup All-Star team with Giants defenceman Paul Albers.

The Giants celebrating with the Memorial Cup, May 27, 2007.

The Giants were chosen by the CHL prior to the 2006 Memorial Cup, to host the 2007 Memorial Cup. They finished the season, once again, atop their division, fourth in the league. The season featured a goaltending controversy, in which starter Dustin Slade would begin the season splitting time with emerging goalie Tyson Sexsmith. Slade, frustrated with having to give up his starts, would leave the team in November to pursue a pro-hockey career.[4] With Sexsmith (who finished first in the league in GAA) as their starting goalie, and a balanced offence that included Milan Lucic, Michal Repik and mid-season acquisitions Wacey Rabbit and Kenndal McArdle, the Giants made their way once again to the WHL final. The series went the distance against the Medicine Hat Tigers, but the Giants lost the seventh game in double overtime, failing to win their second consecutive league title. However, because of their automatic bye into the Memorial Cup as hosts, the Giants avenged their seventh game loss against the Tigers, defeating Medicine Hat 3-1 in the final, capturing their first Memorial Cup title. Lucic earned the Stafford Smythe Memorial Trophy as tournament MVP, while linemate Michal Repik led the tournament in scoring (edging Lucic by one goal) to capture the Ed Chynoweth Trophy. Defenceman Cody Franson also joined Lucic and Repik on the tournament All-star team.

As defending Memorial Cup champions the following season, the Giants won the B.C. Division for the third consecutive year and posted a franchise record 106 points (49-15-2-6), third in the league. Third-year forward Spencer Machacek, named team captain after expected captain Lucic would stick with the Boston Bruins of the NHL, led the team in scoring with 78 points, fourteenth in the league. On defence, Jonathon Blum, also a returnee from the Memorial Cup winning team, finished second among league defencemen in scoring, tallying 63 points, a single-season franchise-record among defenceman. In goal, Sexsmith once again led the league with a stellar 1.89 goals against average. The Giants' run for a third consecutive Memorial Cup appearance was cut short; after sweeping the Chilliwack Bruins in the first round, the Giants were stopped by the Spokane Chiefs in six games.

A dominant 2008–09 season has established several records for the Giants. The club set a WHL record by clinching a playoff berth just 46 games into the season. The mark was previously set by the Everett Silvertips, who clinched a berth after 48 games in 2006–07.[5] Individually, overager Casey Pierro-Zabotel broke the team marks for single-season assists and points, surpassing Darren Lynch and Gilbert Brule respectively,[3][6] while second-year forward Evander Kane bettered Adam Courchaine's single-season goals total.[2] Team captain Jonathon Blum also surpassed Courchaine to become the franchise's all-time assists leader.[7] Finishing the season with a franchise-high 57 wins and 119 points, the Giants came within 3 points of their first Scotty Munro Memorial Trophy as the top regular season team, behind the Calgary Hitmen.

Awards and trophies[edit]




Dunc McCallum Memorial Trophy

Coach of the Year



NHL alumni[edit]

NHL draftees[edit]

Note that these are the players who were drafted into the NHL while playing for the Vancouver Giants

Ring of Honour[edit]

Franchise scoring leaders[edit]

These are the top-ten point-scorers in franchise history as of 2011–12.[8]

Note: Pos = Position; GP = Games Played; G = Goals; A = Assists; Pts = Points; P/G = Points per game; * = current Giants player

Player Pos GP G A Pts P/G
Brendan Gallagher RW 244 136 144 280 1.15
Adam Courchaine C 241 126 147 273 1.13
Craig Cunningham LW 295 86 136 222 0.75
Mitch Bartley LW 280 107 107 214 0.76
Jonathon Blum D 248 49 155 204 0.82
Darren Lynch RW 213 81 121 202 0.95
Gilbert Brule C 165 87 98 185 1.12
James Henry LW 281 62 122 184 0.66
Neil Manning D 310 45 138 183 0.59
Spencer Machacek RW 203 77 91 168 0.83

Current roster[edit]

Updated September 16, 2012.[9]

# Player Catches Height Weight DOB Place of birth
1 British Columbia Payton Lee L 6'0 175 June 24, 1996 Cranbrook, British Columbia
31 Alberta Jared Rathjen L 6'2 180 May 13, 1994 Prince George, British Columbia
35 British Columbia Cody Porter L 6'1 181 September 23, 1997 North Vancouver, British Columbia
# Player Shoots Height Weight DOB Place of birth NHL Draft
2 Alberta Brett Kulak L 6'1 175 January 6, 1994 Stony Plain, Alberta CGY 2012
4 Alberta Blake Orban R 6'1 197 January 28, 1994 Calgary, Alberta
5 British Columbia Wes Vannieuwenhuizen L 6'3 208 April 20, 1992 Chilliwack, British Columbia
8 Alberta Tyler Morrison L 5'11 183 October 23, 1995 Sherwood Park, Alberta
21 British Columbia Stewart Coyle R 6'2 185 August 15, 1995 Sicamous, British Columbia
29 Manitoba Reid Zalitach R 6'0 175 May 1, 1996 Narol, Manitoba
44 Alberta Mason Geertsen L 6'4 203 April 19, 1995 Rocky Rapids, Alberta
# Player Shoots Height Weight DOB Place of birth NHL Draft
9 British Columbia Dalton Sward R 6'1 182 January 10, 1994 Abbotsford, British Columbia
10 British Columbia Scott Cooke R 6'2 175 March 15, 1994 Surrey, British Columbia
12 British Columbia Cain Franson L 6'1 167 March 25, 1993 Sicamous, British Columbia
14 Washington (state) Trevor Cheek L 6'2 198 December 29, 1992 Vancouver, Washington
15 Alberta Riley Kieser L 6'0 182 April 27, 1993 Sherwood Park, Alberta
16 British Columbia Carter Popoff R 5'9 180 May 9, 1995 Richmond, British Columbia
17 Slovakia Marek Tvrdon L 6'2 217 January 31, 1993 Nitra, Slovakia DET 2011
18 British Columbia Anthony Ast R 5'8 170 February 11, 1995 Richmond, British Columbia
20 Saskatchewan Tanner Moar R 6'3 180 July 12, 1994 Canwood, Saskatchewan
22 Saskatchewan Kale Kessy L 6'3 202 December 4, 1992 Shaunavon, Saskatchewan PHO 2011
24 Alberta Travis McEvoy R 6'0 211 April 16, 1994 Thorsby, Alberta
25 Alberta Tristan Sieben L 5'9 187 July 13, 1994 Edmonton, Alberta
26 Washington (state) Taylor Vickerman L 6'1 181 April 12, 1996 Kennewick, Washington
27 British Columbia Jackson Houck R 6'0 184 February 27, 1995 North Vancouver, British Columbia
39 Alberta Thomas Foster L 5'10 160 March 28, 1996 Slave Lake, Alberta

Season-by-season record[edit]

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

Season GP W L T OTL GF GA Points Finish Playoffs
2001–02 72 13 49 6 4 198 365 36 5th B.C. Out of playoffs
2002–03 72 26 37 5 4 217 292 61 4th B.C. Lost Western Conference quarter-final
2003–04 72 33 24 9 6 215 196 81 2nd B.C. Lost Western Conference semi-final
2004–05 72 34 30 4 4 212 205 76 3rd B.C. Lost Western Conference quarter-final
Season GP W L OTL SOL GF GA Points Finish Playoffs
2005–06 72 47 19 0 6 252 156 100 1st B.C. Won WHL Championship; Lost Memorial Cup
2006–07 72 45 17 3 7 245 143 100 1st B.C. Lost final; Won Memorial Cup
2007–08 72 49 15 2 6 250 155 106 1st B.C. Lost Western Conference semi-final
2008–09 72 57 10 2 3 319 151 119 1st B.C. Lost Western Conference final
2009–10 72 41 25 3 3 267 211 88 1st B.C. Lost Western Conference final
2010–11 72 35 32 1 4 236 251 75 2nd B.C. Lost Western Conference quarter-final
2011–12 72 40 26 2 4 255 234 86 2nd B.C. Lost Western Conference quarter-final
2012–13 72 21 49 2 0 197 299 44 5th B.C. Out of playoffs
2013–14 72 32 29 7 4 234 248 75 3rd B.C. Lost Western Conference quarter-final

WHL Championship history[edit]

Memorial cup finals history[edit]

  • 2007: Win, 3-1 vs Medicine Hat

Team records[edit]

Team Records for a single season
Statistic Total Season
Most points 119 2008–09
Least points 36 2001–02
Most wins 57 2008–09
Least wins 13 2001–02
Most goals for 319 2008–09
Least goals for 198 2001–02
Least goals against 143 2006–07
Most goals against 365 2001–02
Individual player records for a single season
Statistic Player Total Season
Most goals Evander Kane 48 2008–09
Most assists Casey Pierro-Zabotel 79 2008–09
Most points Casey Pierro-Zabotel 115 2008–09
Most points, rookie Kevin Connauton 72 2009–10
Most points, defenceman Kevin Connauton 72 2009–10
Best GAA, goalie Tyson Sexsmith 1.79 2006–07
Goalies = minimum 1500 minutes played

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Michael Bublé Joins Vancouver Giants Ownership Grou". Vancouver Giants. 
  2. ^ a b Walker, Ian (2009-03-05). "WHL: Kane shines in Giants' 6-2 win over Americans". Vancouver Sun. Retrieved 2009-03-05. [dead link]
  3. ^ a b "WHL:Vancouver Giants defeat Medicine Hat in come-from-behind win". Vancouver Sun. 2009-01-28. Retrieved 2009-01-29. 
  4. ^ Mackin, Bob (2006). "Four Giants face off against Russia's best". CANOE Inc. Retrieved 2008-03-28. 
  5. ^ "Giants Clinch Playoff Spot After Just 46 Games". OurSports Central. 2009-01-24. Retrieved 2009-02-07. 
  6. ^ "Mighty Casey smashes record". Vancouver Sun. 2009-01-18. Retrieved 2009-01-18. [dead link]
  7. ^ "Blum adds to glowing resumé". The Province. 2009-02-10. Retrieved 2009-02-10. 
  8. ^ "Giants Alumni". Vancouver Giants. Retrieved 2011-03-30. 
  9. ^ "Team Roster". Vancouver Giants. [dead link]

External links[edit]