Wichita Thunder

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Wichita Thunder
2014–15 Wichita Thunder season
City Wichita, Kansas, U.S.
League ECHL
Conference Western
Division Central
Founded 1992
Home arena Intrust Bank Arena
Owner(s) Rodney Steven
Brandon Steven
Johnny Steven
General manager Joel Lomurno
Head coach Kevin McClelland
Captain Ian Lowe
Media The Wichita Eagle
Affiliates Unaffiliated
Franchise history
1992–present Wichita Thunder
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 2013, but will begin play in the ECHL in 2014. From 1992 until January 2010 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]

Early history (1992–95)[edit]

The Thunder were one of the first six original teams of the new 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 1993-1994 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 (1995–96)[edit]

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).

Bryan Wells Era (1996–01)[edit]

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)[edit]

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)[edit]

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.

Present History[edit]

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 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 the expansion membership application into the ECHL for the 2014-15 season.[1][2]


Current roster[edit]

Updated January 10, 2015[3]
# Nat Player Pos S/G Age Acquired Birthplace Contract
61 Canada Bartliff, KurtisKurtis Bartliff Injured Reserve LW L 25 2014 Clinton, Ontario Thunder
2 Canada Granbois, TravisTravis Granbois D R 29 2015 Campbell River, British Columbia Thunder
31 Canada Boron, TimTim Boron G L 32 2014 Winnipeg, Manitoba Thunder
23 Canada Duval, IanIan Duval C L 27 2014 Winnipeg, Manitoba Thunder
81 Canada Gauthier, DanickDanick Gauthier LW L 23 2014 Repentigny, Quebec Lightning
74 United States Caveney, JoeJoe Caveney Injured Reserve F R 27 2014 Fitchburg, Massachusetts Thunder
18 United States Flath, R.G.R.G. Flath (A) F R 30 2011 Park City, Utah Thunder
21 Canada Hosmer, ToddTodd Hosmer LW L 27 2014 Scarborough, Ontario Thunder
10 United States Meland, EricEric Meland D r 25 2014 Grand Forks, North Dakota Thunder
7 Russia Tulupov, KirillKirill Tulupov D R 27 2014 Moscow, Russia Thunder
5 Russia Kashirsky, NikitaNikita Kashirsky (A) F L 30 2014 Moscow, Russia Thunder
22 Canada Lizon, ErickErick Lizon RW R 29 2011 Kitchener, Ontario Thunder
13 Canada Lowe, IanIan Lowe (C) C R 28 2012 Bradwardine, Manitoba Thunder
6 United States Milan, DanDan Milan D L 23 2014 Detroit, Michigan Lightning
28 Canada Miller, KentonKenton Miller C L 24 2014 Redvers, Saskatchewan Thunder
8 Canada Reum, DaltonDalton Reum D R 23 2014 Camrose, Alberta Thunder
14 United States Gibbons, KyleKyle Gibbons F R 24 2014 Westlake, Ohio Thunder
41 Canada Trebish, MichaelMichael Trebish D L 26 2014 Yorkton, Saskatchewan Thunder
16 Canada Walker, JaredJared Walker LW L 29 2013 Winnipeg, Manitoba Thunder
4 Canada Wilson, MikeMike Wilson D L 28 2013 North Vancouver, British Columbia Thunder
40 Canada Bunz, TylerTyler Bunz G R 23 2014 St. Albert, Alberta Thunder

Retired numbers[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–Present 78 - 45 - 9

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:[4]


  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. ^ "Wichita Thunder Roster - Wichita Thunder Hockey". Wichita Thunder. Retrieved 2012-03-03. 
  4. ^ "Central Hockey League Historical Award Winners". Retrieved November 6, 2010. 

External links[edit]