|2015–16 ECHL season|
|City||Wichita, Kansas, U.S.|
|Founded||1992 (In the CHL)|
|Home arena||Intrust Bank Arena|
|General manager||Joel Lomurno|
|Head coach||Kevin McClelland|
|Media||The Wichita Eagle
|Regular season titles||3 (1993–94, 1994–95, 2011–12)|
|Conference Championships||1 (1997–98, 2011–12)|
|Ray Miron President's Cup||2 (1993–94, 1994–95)|
The Wichita Thunder are a minor league hockey team based in Wichita, Kansas, United States. The team played in the Central Hockey League from 1992 until 2014, and then in the ECHL since the 2014–15 season. From 1992 until December 2009 the Thunder played in the Britt Brown Arena located in the northern Wichita suburb of Park City. In January 2010 (the second half of the 2009–10 season), the team began playing its home games at the newly built Intrust Bank Arena.
- 1 Franchise history
- 2 Players
- 3 Leaders
- 4 CHL awards and trophies
- 5 References
- 6 External links
|This section requires expansion. (August 2010)|
Early history (1992–95)
The Thunder were one of the first six original teams of the second iteration of the Central Hockey League, along with the Oklahoma City Blazers, Tulsa Oilers, Memphis RiverKings, Dallas Freeze and the Fort Worth Fire.
Wichita played their first home game at Britt Brown Arena on November 4, 1992 in front of a crowd of 5,486. In the same season the Thunder had their first sellout in team history, the crowd of 9,686 fans watched the Thunder defeat Oklahoma City 4-3.
The Thunder were originally coached by Gary Fay, but after a 6-20 start he was replaced by Doug Shedden. Although they started out with a 6-20 record the season was quickly turned around by Shedden and they finished their first season with a 25-32-2 record. On April 5, 1993, Thunder goaltender Robert Desjardins was named the first CHL Rookie of the Year.
In the following two seasons the Thunder were the Regular Season Champions (Adams Cup) and Playoff Champions (William Levins Memorial Cup) for both seasons. Ron Handy was the Playoff Most Valuable Player for both seasons, he is the only player in Central Hockey League history to win the award on multiple occasions. In the 1993–94 season Doug Shedden won the Coach of the Year award, Robert Desjardins won the Regular Season Most Valuable Player award and Paul Jackson won the Scoring Champion award.
Don Jackson (1995–96)
Don Jackson was hired as the new head coach on July 21, 1995. He led the Thunder to a 22-39-3 record and missed the playoffs for the second time in franchise history.
Bryan Wells Era (1996–01)
In July 1996, Bryan Wells was named the Thunder's fourth head coach in franchise history. Wells would go on to coach the Thunder for five seasons, they made the playoffs four out of the five seasons he coached. On May 2, 2001, Wells was dismissed as head coach.
James Latos (2001–03)
After the dismissal of Coach Wells the Thunder announced that James Latos would be the new head coach. In Lato's first season coaching the team went 24-34-6 and were out of the playoffs. Latos was fired the following season after a disappointing start of just 8-19-7.
Derek Laxdal (2003–05)
Just five days after coach Lato's dismissal, the Thunder announced that Derek Laxdal would become the team's new head coach. Laxdal went on to coach the Thunder for two more seasons comprising an 87-58-8 record while clinching two separate playoff berths. On August 3, 2005, Laxdal announced his resignation in order to become head coach of the ECHL’s Idaho Steelheads.
On October 7, 2014, soon before the 2014–15 Central Hockey League season was set to begin, it was announced that the Central Hockey League would ceased operations and the Thunder, along with the Allen Americans, Brampton Beast, Quad City Mallards, Missouri Mavericks, Rapid City Rush and Tulsa Oilers, were all approved for membership into the ECHL for the 2014–15 season.
|Gary Fay||1992||6 - 20|
|Doug Shedden||1992–1995||103 - 49 - 12|
|Don Jackson||1995–1996||22 - 50 - 29|
|Bryan Wells||1996–2001||161 - 146 - 39|
|James Latos||2001–2003||32 - 53 - 13|
|Sean O'Reilly||Interim Coach||1 - 0 - 0|
|Derek Laxdal||2003–2005||87 - 58 - 8|
|Mark French||2005–2007||70 - 56 - 16|
|Rob Weingartner||2007–2008||16 - 29 - 2|
|Brent Bilodeau||2008–2009||22 - 52|
|Jason Duda||Interim Coach||7 - 40 - 4|
|Kevin McClelland||2010–Present||78 - 45 - 9|
CHL awards and trophies
The following lists the league awards which have been won by the Thunder team and its players:
Coach of the Year
Playoff Most Valuable Player
Most Outstanding Defenseman
Rick Kozuback Award
Rookie of the Year
All-Star Game Most Valuable Player (North)
- "CHL Clubs Join ECHL for 2014-15 Season". Central Hockey League. October 7, 2014. Retrieved October 7, 2014.
- "ECHL Accepts Seven Members". ECHL. October 7, 2014. Retrieved October 7, 2014.
- "Wichita Thunder Roster - Wichita Thunder Hockey". Wichita Thunder. Retrieved 2012-03-03.
- "Central Hockey League Historical Award Winners". Retrieved November 6, 2010.
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