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Mike Babcock returns to Spokane, and some other Chiefs notes

Former Spokane Chiefs coach Mike Babcock signed a four-year extension with the Red Wings on Monday. (Carlos Osorio / Associated Press)
Former Spokane Chiefs coach Mike Babcock signed a four-year extension with the Red Wings on Monday. (Carlos Osorio / Associated Press)

Lots happening at the Arena these days. First of all, the Spokane Chiefs are looking like a team that could do some damage in the Western Conference this season. They're 2-1, with two wins over Tri-City and a one-goal loss to Vancouver, and they've got a pair of games this weekend, beginning tonight at 7 p.m. when they host Victoria.

See below for news and notes.

Last night rumors started circling that veteran goalie Mac Engel had been traded, effectively resolving the Chiefs' goalie situation as the higher-ups prepare to cut their rosters to 25 players maximum by Oct. 10. General manager Tim Speltz put that rumor to bed, but Spokane did make a trade this afternoon when they sent overage defenseman Davis Vandane to the Prince Albert Raiders for a conditional 2013 Bantam draft pick. Here is the short press release.

In case you missed it, here's the feature we ran on Spokane forward Mitch Holmberg, who has seven points in three games - picking up right where he left off during the playoffs last season.

Lastly (for now), Detroit Red Wings coach Mike Babcock, the former bench boss in Spokane, will be at Saturday's game against the Lethbridge Hurricanes. Babcock will be a part of the pregame ceremonies and drop the ceremonial first puck.

Babcock is Spokane's all-time leader in coaching victories with 224 over a six-year period from 1994-2000. With the Red Wings, he has coached in the Stanley Cup Finals three times, winning the Cup in '08 (the same year Spokane won the Memorial Cup). Babcock also won an Olympic Gold Medal as Canada's coach at the 2010 Olympics.

Here are some of Babcock's achievements in Spokane:

  • 1996: Won a franchise high 50-games with Spokane; won regular season and postseason West Division titles; named WHL’s West Division Coach of the Year.
  • 1997: Won a gold medal with Team Canada at World Junior Tournament; served as co-Coach on West Division All-Star Team.
  • 1998: Coached in the Memorial Cup hosted by the Chiefs
  • 2000: Won regular season and postseason West Division titles; named WHL’s West Division Coach of the Year; picked to coach the WHL’s West Division All-Star Team.



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