This article was added by the user . TheWorldNews is not responsible for the content of the platform.

Junior hockey: Seattle Thunderbirds claim WHL crown

© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

A round-up of results from the Okanagan and area.


The Seattle Thunderbirds punched their ticket to the Memorial Cup on Friday night.

At Kent, Wash., Thomas Milic stopped 30 of 31 shots for Seattle as the Thunderbirds downed the Ice in Game 5 of the Ed Chynoweth Cup to win the best-of-seven series 4-1.

As WHL champions, Seattle will now represent the league at the upcoming national championship tournament in Kamloops, May 26 to June 4.

Milic was named the WHL’s playoff MVP. In the playoffs, he had a 1.95 goals-against average and a save percentage of .933.

Story continues below advertisement

“It’s a team award,” Milic said of being named MVP. “I wouldn’t have gotten it without the incredible group in front of me. I’m so pumped to win it with this group and to do it at home. Super special.”

The T-Birds came close last year to playing in the four-team event, but lost in the league final to the Edmonton Oil Kings, bowing out in six games.

Sam Popowich, Nico Myatovic and Kyle Crnkovic, with an empty-net goal, scored for Seattle, which led 1-0 after the second period following a scoreless first.

Evan Friesen, who made it 2-1 at 5:02 of the third, replied for Winnipeg, the Eastern Conference champions who posted the most wins (57) and points (115) during the regular season.

The Ice also tallied the most goals during the regular season at 325 – two dozen more than Seattle (300), the top team in the Western Conference (54 wins, 111 points).

Story continues below advertisement

However, the Ice had trouble beating Milic, and mustered just 11 goals in five games (2.2 goals a game average). The T-Birds, meanwhile, scored 19 times (3.8 goals a game average).

Seattle dropped the first game of the league final, 3-2, but roared back to win the next four, with the last three taking place on home ice in Kent. Friday’s attendance at Accesso ShoWare Center was 6,202, just shy of its sellout capacity of 6,500.

That crowd witnessed Seattle win its second WHL title, but first on home ice. The T-Birds also won the league title in 2017, but claimed the Cup in Regina in Game 6.

In an interesting stat for the ages, during the regular season, Seattle was 40-0 when leading after two periods while Winnipeg was 45-0. In the playoffs, Seattle finished at 9-0 with Winnipeg at 10-0.

Trending Now

Story continues below advertisement

In the Ontario Hockey League, the London Knights staved off elimination in the league final against the Peterborough Petes by winning Game 5 on Friday night.

The Knights won 4-1, but the Petes lead the series 3-2. Game 6 is Sunday.

In the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, the Quebec Remparts lead the Halifax Mooseheads 3-2 in the league final. Halifax won Game 5 on Friday night, 3-2. Game 6 is also on Sunday.

The Kamloops Blazers, the tournament hosts, have been practicing for the tournament since being eliminated by Seattle in the Western Conference championship. The T-Birds won that series 4-2, clinching the series with a 4-2 win in Game 6 on May 8.

The tournament’s first game will feature Kamloops against the QMJHL champion on Friday, May 26. Seattle will open against the OHL champion on Saturday, May 27.

Story continues below advertisement

The last round-robin game will be between Seattle and Kamloops on May 31.

The final will take place on Sunday, June 4 at 4 p.m.