Wichita Thunder

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Wichita Thunder
2017–18 ECHL season
WichitaThunder.PNG
City Wichita, Kansas
League ECHL
Conference Western
Division Mountain
Founded 1992 (In the CHL)
Home arena Intrust Bank Arena
Owner(s) Rodney Steven
Brandon Steven
Johnny Steven
General manager Joel Lomurno
Head coach Malcolm Cameron
Captain Ian Lowe
Media The Wichita Eagle
KAKE-TV
KWCH
Affiliates Edmonton Oilers (NHL)
Bakersfield Condors (AHL)
Franchise history
1992–present Wichita Thunder
Championships
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. 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.

Franchise history[edit]

Central Hockey League[edit]

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). Ron Handy was the Playoff Most Valuable Player for both seasons, he was 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.

On May 14, 1995, head coach Doug Shedden resigned to become coach of the Louisiana IceGators of the East Coast Hockey League (ECHL).

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.

On July 19, 1996, Don Jackson resigned to become head coach of the Kansas City Blades of the International Hockey League (IHL). Jackson would be replaced by Bryan Wells to become 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.

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.

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 seasons to an 87-58-8 record while clinching two separate playoff berths. On August 3, 2005, Laxdal announced his resignation to become the head coach of the ECHL’s Idaho Steelheads.

Mark French took over as head coach from 2005 to 2007. During his tenure, he compiled a record of 70-59-16. He was fired mid-season in December 2007 with a 4–13 record. He would go on to become the assistant coach of the AHL's Hershey Bears and then the following season take them to a championship as their head coach.

The Thunder then named former player Rob Weingartner to lead the team. Weingartner played for the Thunder from 1992 to 1996 where he was a member of two championship teams. Weingartner compiled a record of 16-29-2 during his tenure. He has since gone on to be the head coach of the Western States Hockey League's Wichita Jr. Thunder.

Brent Bilodeau was hired during the 2008 off-season and lead the team for two seasons and a record of 22-48-0. He was let go early in his second season but would go on to be the assistant coach of the Western Hockey League's Tri-City Americans for two seasons.

After the Thunder fired Brent Bilodeau nine games into the 2009–10 season, Jason Duda was given the job on an interim basis while on injured reserve. Duda owns several franchise records from his Thunder career, scoring 870 points in 14 seasons. He would finish the season with a 7-43-5 record and go on to be an assistant coach under the next head coach, Kevin McClelland.

ECHL[edit]

On October 7, 2014, soon before the 2014–15 CHL season was set to begin, it was announced that the Central Hockey League 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.[1][2] The team finished 5th out of 7 teams in the Central Division, scoring 73 points out of 144.

On April 16, 2016, the Thunder announced that the team would not renew head coach Kevin McClelland's contract for the 2016–17 season. He had been with the Thunder since 2010 and guided the team for six seasons becoming the longest tenured coach in Thunder history, leading the team for 408 games. During his time in Wichita, McClelland compiled a record of 194-166-48, clinching a playoff spot in his first season and taking the team to the playoff finals the following two seasons while still in the CHL. However, he failed to lead the team into the ECHL playoffs in his two seasons leading the team in the ECHL and the finished last in the overall standings in the 2015–16 season.

Malcolm Cameron was announced as the new head coach on May 20, 2016.[3] One of his stated intentions in his opening press conference was to establish the Thunder's first NHL affiliation for the upcoming season. On July 4, 2016, the Ottawa Senators assistant general manager, Randy Lee, stated that his team was in negotiations for an affiliation with the Thunder for the 2016–17 season.[4] The affiliation with the Senators and their American Hockey League affiliate, the Binghamton Senators, was finally confirmed on July 14.[5] After one season, the Thunder changed affiliations to the Edmonton Oilers (NHL) and Bakersfield Condors (AHL).

Season-by-season records[edit]

Regular Season Playoffs
Season GP W L T OTL SOL Pts GF GA PIM Standing Year 1st round 2nd round 3rd round Finals
1992–93 60 25 33 0 2 52 242 320 1876 6th of 6, CHL 1993 Did not qualify
1993–94 64 40 18 6 86 309 275 2522 1st of 6, CHL 1994 W, 4–3, DAL W, 4–0, TUL
1994–95 66 44 18 4 92 320 268 2513 1st of 7, CHL 1995 W, 4–1, OKC W, 4–2, SA
1995–96 64 22 39 3 47 270 380 2304 6th of 6, CHL 1996 Did not qualify
1996–97 66 25 31 10 60 279 324 2660 4th of 5, Western Div. 1997 OKC L, 1–4, FTW
1997–98 70 35 31 4 74 302 303 2321 2nd of 5, Western Div. 1998 W, 3–2, TUL W, 4–3, OKC L, 0–4, COL
1998–99 70 34 26 10 78 257 262 2158 3rd of 6, Western Div. 1999 L, 1–3, SA
1999–00 70 37 26 7 81 245 231 2049 2nd of 6, Western Div. 2000 L, 2–3, OKC
2000–01 70 30 32 8 68 251 251 2418 5th of 6, Western Div. 2001 Did not qualify
2001–02 64 24 34 6 54 203 262 1913 3rd of 4, Northwest Div. 2002 Did not qualify
2002–03 64 21 36 5 2 49 216 261 1837 4th of 4, Northwest Div. 2003 Did not qualify
2003–04 64 35 24 1 4 75 194 197 1558 2nd of 5, Northwest Div. 2004 W, 3–1, COL L, 1–4, BS
2004–05 60 40 17 2 1 83 210 158 1784 2nd of 4, Northwest Div. 2005 W, 4–3, BS L, 2–4, COL
2005–06 64 38 18 4 4 84 233 200 1841 2nd of 4, Northwest Div. 2006 L, 1–4, BS
2006–07 64 28 28 0 8 64 191 213 1841 3rd of 4, Northwest Div. 2007 L, 2–4, BS
2007–08 64 20 42 1 1 42 156 247 1905 5th of 5, Northwest Div. 2008 Did not qualify
2008–09 64 20 41 2 1 43 168 230 1419 4th of 4, Northwest Div. 2009 Did not qualify
2009–10 64 9 50 1 4 23 128 257 1354 7th of 7, Northern Conf. 2010 Did not qualify
2010–11 66 34 26 2 4 74 249 231 1189 5th of 9, Turner Conf. 2011 L, 2–3, MO
2011–12 66 44 19 1 2 91 231 181 1077 1st of 7, Berry Conf. 2012 W, 4–1, RGV W, 4–2, TEX L, 1–4, FW
2012–13 66 39 19 2 6 86 240 182 1106 2nd of 10, CHL 2013 W, 4–0, ARZ W, 4–0, FTW L, 3–4, ALN
2013–14 66 27 30 4 5 63 201 223 973 9th of 10, CHL 2014 Did not qualify
2014–15 72 32 31 2 7 73 213 240 1508 5th of 6, Central Div. 2015 Did not qualify
2015–16 72 18 41 7 6 49 150 240 1152 4th of 4, Central Div. 2016 Did not qualify
2016–17 72 21 44 6 1 49 189 278 1291 7th of 7, Central Div. 2017 Did not qualify

Players[edit]

Current roster[edit]

Updated September 22, 2017.[6]
# Nat Player Pos S/G Age Acquired Birthplace Contract
Canada Asselin, GuillaumeGuillaume Asselin RW R 25 2017 Quebec, Quebec Thunder
United States Barron, AlexAlex Barron D R 26 2017 Glendora, California Thunder
24 Canada Beaudry, JeremyJeremy Beaudry D R 23 2017 Montmagny, Quebec Thunder
Canada Boutet, EtienneEtienne Boutet D L 25 2017 Saint-Rédempteur, Quebec Thunder
Canada Crevier-Morin, Marc-OlivierMarc-Olivier Crevier-Morin D L 21 2017 Chateauguay, Quebec Thunder
21 United States DeBlouw, MatthewMatthew DeBlouw C L 24 2016 Chesterfield Township, Michigan Thunder
6 Canada Doornbosch, JamieJamie Doornbosch D L 27 2016 Scarborough, Ontario Thunder
Canada Ewanyk, TravisTravis Ewanyk C L 24 2017 St. Albert, Alberta Thunder
22 Canada Grant, GerradGerrad Grant LW L 27 2016 Halifax, Nova Scotia Thunder
Canada Hamonic, JustinJustin Hamonic D R 23 2017 Winnipeg, Manitoba Thunder
Canada Iacobellis, StevenSteven Iacobellis F R 24 2017 Port Coquitlam, British Columbia Thunder
Canada Labrecque, SamuelSamuel Labrecque D L 25 2017 Granby, Quebec Thunder
Canada Lepine, GuillaumeGuillaume Lepine D L 30 2017 Montreal, Quebec Thunder
Canada MacMillan, MarkMark MacMillan RW L 25 2017 Penticton, British Columbia Thunder
Canada Makin, TaylorTaylor Makin LW L 25 2017 Blairmore, Alberta Thunder
8 Canada Marcotte, LouickLouick Marcotte RW R 23 2016 Longueuil, Quebec Thunder
Canada Merasty, ShaquilleShaquille Merasty F L 26 2017 Thompson, Manitoba Thunder
Canada Rumpel, JoelJoel Rumpel G R 26 2017 Swift Current, Saskatchewan Thunder
Hungary Sofron, IstvanIstvan Sofron RW L 29 2017 Miercurea Ciuc, Romania Thunder
Canada Stevenson, DysonDyson Stevenson RW R 24 2017 Shaunavon, Saskatchewan Thunder
Canada Thibault, SamuelSamuel Thibault D L 21 2017 Sainte-Martine, Quebec Thunder
Canada Tipoff, MattMatt Tipoff C L 26 2017 Toronto, Ontario Thunder

Retired numbers[edit]

Notable NHL alumni[edit]

List of Wichita Thunder alumni who played more than 25 games in Wichita and 25 or more games in the National Hockey League.

Leaders[edit]

Head coaches[edit]

Name Year(s) Coached Record
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 2010–2016 194 - 166 - 48
Malcolm Cameron 2016–present 21 - 44 - 7

General managers[edit]

Name Appointment Departure
Bill Shuck 1992 2002
David Holt 2003 2005
Chris Presson 2005 2008
Joel Lomurno 2008 Present

CHL awards and trophies[edit]

The following lists the league awards which have been won by the Thunder team and its players:[7]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "CHL Clubs Join ECHL for 2014-15 Season". Central Hockey League. October 7, 2014. Retrieved October 7, 2014. 
  2. ^ "ECHL Accepts Seven Members". ECHL. October 7, 2014. Retrieved October 7, 2014. 
  3. ^ "Malcolm Cameron will be Wichita Thunder’s next coach". The Wichita Eagle. May 19, 2016. 
  4. ^ "Ottawa Senators name Wichita Thunder new ECHL affiliate". silversevensens.com. 2016-07-04. Retrieved 2016-07-04. 
  5. ^ "Thunder Lands Affiliation Agreement with Ottawa Senators". OurSports Central. July 14, 2016. 
  6. ^ "Wichita Thunder Roster - Wichita Thunder Hockey". Wichita Thunder. Retrieved 2016-07-19. 
  7. ^ "Central Hockey League Historical Award Winners". Retrieved November 6, 2010. 

External links[edit]