Seattle Thunderbirds

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Seattle Thunderbirds
Seattle Thunderbirds logo.svg
City Kent, Washington
League Western Hockey League
Conference Western
Division U.S.
Founded 1985
Home arena ShoWare Center
Colors Navy Blue, Green, White
              
General manager Russ Farwell
Head coach Steve Konowalchuk

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

The Seattle Thunderbirds are a major 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 Conference in the Western Hockey League. They play their games at home in 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, which had a seating capacity of 4,141 for ice hockey. 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 1984–85 season, the Breakers were sold to new owners and renamed the Seattle Thunderbirds.

The 1986–87 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 198–90 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 1996–97 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.

The 2015–16 season was a breakout season for the Thunderbirds, and was one of the most successful seasons in franchise history. During the season, the Thunderbirds clinched the US Division after a 4–1 win over the Spokane Chiefs on March 15, 2016. This was Seattle's third division championship in team history and first since the 2004–05 season. Seattle also finished the regular season with the second most wins in team history (45).[4] In the quarterfinal round of the 2015-2016 WHL Playoffs, the Thunderbirds swept the Prince George Cougars, 4 games to 0, and advanced to the semifinal round against the Everett Silvertips, where the Thunderbirds dominated the Silvertips, winning the series 4 games to 1. With the win, they advanced to the Western Conference Finals against the Kelowna Rockets, the defending WHL Champions. Once again, the Thunderbirds continued their dominate playoff run, as they swept the series against the Rockets, 4 games to 0. The series clinching win came in a double overtime thriller as rookie Matt Wedman scored the game-winning goal halfway through the second overtime to give the Thunderbirds the 5–4 overtime victory, clinching the Western Conference Championship. With the win, the Thunderbirds advanced to the WHL Championship for the first time since 1996-97. The Thunderbirds faced the Brandon Wheat Kings in the Championship final and lost the series 4–1.[1][2]

Arenas[edit]

The Thunderbirds originally played at Mercer Arena, then split time between Mercer Arena and the Seattle Center Coliseum beginning during the 1989–90 season before moving to KeyArena upon its completion. Unfortunately for the Thunderbirds, KeyArena's post-renovation sight lines were better suited for basketball. The arena floor was just barely large enough to fit the rink. It was so far off-center that the scoreboard hung over a blue line instead of center ice. Additionally, so many seats in the lower level were obstructed that half the lower level was curtained off.

Due to growing fan and team dissatisfaction with KeyArena, in 2009, the Thunderbirds moved to ShoWare Center, 20 miles south in Kent, where they became the anchor tenant. [5]. The Thunderbirds have a large fan base, and continually draw some of the highest attendance numbers in the WHL on a yearly basis at the ShoWare Center.

[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 and colors 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 4-0
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 2nd U.S. Lost Western Conference semi-final - Defeated by Kelowna 4-0
2014–15 72 38 25 4 5 218 201 85 3rd U.S. Lost Western Conference quarter-final - Defeated by Portland 4-2
2015–16 72 45 23 4 0 228 186 94 1st U.S. Lost final - Defeated by Brandon 4-1

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]

References[edit]

External links[edit]