Special coverage

Spokane Chiefs

Tracking Spokane’s Western Hockey League team. The Chiefs won the Memorial Cup in 2008.

Latest from The Spokesman-Review

Combo post, update on Zags, ex-Chief Marantz

Uh oh, Gonzaga isn't ranked as one of the 26th-40th best women's basketball programs in the country. Actually, I'm sure that means the Bulldogs are going to show up tomorrow on 11-25. Could they be a top 10 (which comes out Friday)? When you read about what went into making this list, it's possible. Stay tuned. But for now, look at the programs already mentioned. It just shows what rarified air Kelly Graves and the Bulldogs have risen to. 

We're going to make this a 2-for-1 post … with a little hockey new. Greg Harder of the Regina Leader-Post has a story with twice-traded former Spokane Chief Matt Marantz.

It just seems like with a little news on both beats it's a waste of internet space to use up two blog posts. Wait, isn't internet space unlimited? Good question, but since I have both the women's basketball and hockey beats, and I'm working from home before covering high school cross country, one seems like plenty.

Flurry of deals in WHL

Sunday was a busy day in the Western Hockey League, off the ice.

There were a number of trades, none involving the Spokane Chiefs, though there were rumors over the weekend they were in the hunt for the Lethbridge goalie that went to Brandon.

Most of the trades are wrapped up on Gregg Drinnan's blog. Lethbridge made the most moves and Tri-City got in on the action. There were a couple of more moves today.

It's not like the Chiefs shouldn't consider a move, but they're 5-2-0-1. One problem is all five wins are at home, along with the next three games. Winning might had the need to make a move, especially when teams are comfortable at home. However, the Chiefs have shown a disturbing inability to play well early in games. That said, they don't quit battling either. So it's a tough decision for general manager Tim Speltz, but neal or no deal, he's listening to offers.

Chiefs rally yet again

The Spokane Chiefs had a pretty impressive hat trick this week – coming from behind to win three Western Hockey League games.

This time they broke through with three third-period goals against Everett to pull out a 3-1 win.

Stars: 3, Everett goalie Kent Simpson with 35 saves. 2, Anthony Bardaro with assists on first two Spokane goals, 1, Captain Darren Kramer, with tying goal, winning assist and Gordie Howe hattrick.

Long box below.

Bardaro gives Chiefs OT win

Anthony Bardaro scored with 1:50 left in overtime to lift the Spokane Chiefs to their second straight come-from-behind win over an Eastern Division visitor, a 3-2 Western Hockey League decision of Prince Albert Friday night. Story here.

The Chiefs trailed 2-1 entering the third period two days after beating Brandon 4-3 with a late goal after trailing 3-1 midway through the game.

Stars: 3, Baldwin. 2, Williams. 1, Bardaro.

Long box below.

Chiefs face Prince Albert

The Spokane Chiefs are about 30 minutes  away from puck drop with the visiting Prince Albert (how many times will I type Alberta) Raiders and there's a little catching up to do.

Former Chief Tyler Vanscourt is wearing No. 21 for PA but the goalie he was traded for, Luke Lee-Knight, who got his first WHL win Wednesday, is not in goal.

First, D Tanner Mort and F Liam Stewart are back in the lineup after missing four games, out almost two weeks. Getting scratched are a pair of rookies, D Tyler King, F Jarid Hauptman. D Cole Hamblin out with lower body injury - at least we know it's not a concussion. Rookie F Cody Nelson continues to be a scratch.

Matt Marantz, the odd-man out in the Chiefs 20-year old cutdown, was traded again, Lethbridge to Regina.

Former Chief Tyler Johnson has scored in his third straight game but it looks like the Norfolk Admirals are going to lose for the first time in three games. TJ also has an assist, so five points in three games to start his pro career (there were 4 minutes left in this one at last check).

Chiefs rally to beat Brandon

For the second straight home game, the internet at the Arena kicked me off - and didn't let me back on - right at the end of a Spokane Chiefs victory. At least Saturday I got the blog done before I was stifled.

But, better late than never, Steven Kuhn set up Dominik Uher for an easy tap-in with 3:42 to play to give the Chiefs a 4-3 win over the Brandon Wheat Kings in a game they trailed 3-1 at the midway point.

3 stars: 3, Brandon's Stone, 2, Spokane's Kramer, 1, Uher.

Long box below

Chiefs dominate Rockets

Mitch Holmberg scored his first two goals of the season and Anthony Bardaro added two power play goals to spark the Spokane Chiefs to a 5-1 win over Kelowna at the Arena Saturday night.

However, it was 16-year old defenseman Jason Fram who got the Chiefs going with the first goal and second in two nights.

Cody Chikie scored for the Rockets late in the second period after it was 4-1. The Chiefs out-shot the Rockets 45-12, including 18-3 in the first period, getting the first 15 shots.

3 stars: 3, Fram, 2, Bardaro, 1 Holmberg

Long box below

Tyler Johnson scores in pro debut

UPDATE, 7 p.m. Tyler Johnson scores again, adds an assist and is the second star again as Norfolk wins again.

The Spokane Chiefs are going to play their second home game of the Western Hockey League season in about an hour, Kelowna Rockets are in the house, but first there is a bunch of news to catch you up on.

First, congratulations to former Chiefs star and Central Valley graduate Tyler Johnson for scoring a goal in his first professional game. He was second star of the game after former Tri-City American Carter Ashton, who had two goals, including the OT game-winner. … Ex-Chief Dustin Tokarski was in goal.

The NHL debut of former Chiefs captain Jared Cowen (OK, he played a late-season game two years ago after he was drafted and picked up a penalty, now he's part of the rebuilding programs) didn't go so well as the Detroit Red Wings clobbered the visiting Ottawa Senators. Despite the score, Cowen was only a minus-1. The Sens play the Toronto Maple Leafs as we speak.  (Cowen wears No. 2 when you get a rare chance to see Ottawa on the tube.)

On Friday the Chiefs fell 6-4 at Kamloops, a game that saw them in a big hole before a comeback. It's not really a good sign when Darren Kramer and two young D-men have the goals. However, captain Kramer has four goals in 3 games.

Defenseman Tyler Vanscourt, traded for goalie Luke Lee-Knight last month, had a hat trick for Prince Albert last night.

Chiefs fall in shootout

The Vancouver Giants picked up a new goalie and he was the difference in his debut, a 3-2 shootout win over the visiting Spokane Chiefs. The Vancouver Province also had a play-by-play of Adam Morrison's debut. There is also a slide show of game photos from The Sun, including the photo with Spokane's Steven Kuhn (above). As a lead-up to the game, The Province also chatted with Chiefs captain Darren Kramer about his role as a fighter.

WHL justice served

Western Hockey League referees didn't get their man but league officials did when Marcus Messier of Tri-City was suspended for four games on Tuesday.

The infraction was a double-minor checking-from-behind penalty that injured Spokane's Liam Stewart in the Chiefs' 7-2 romp in their home opener on Satuday night.

Keep reading for thoughts on the matter.

Chiefs crush Tri in home opener

Anthony Bardaro scored three goals, Steven Kuhn had a pair and the Spokane Chiefs went 4-12 on the power play to roll over rival Tri-City 7-2 in Spokane’s home opener on Saturday night.

 

Here is our story.

 

Long box below.

Kichton can score and do so much more

Brenden Kichton can score big for a defenseman but there's much more to his game.

Chiefs break 20 longjam, trade Marantz

It didn't take the Spokane Chiefs long to clear up their over-age situation.

A day after Darren Kramer was returned from Ottawa they traded Matt Marantz to Lethbridge for a fourth-round pick in the next Bantam Draft.

Kramer gave the Chiefs four 20's and Western Hockey League rules only allow a team three. With a deadline early next week to get to three, the Chiefs moved.

“We felt it was good for the Chiefs and Matt Marantz to get this deal done as soon as possible,” general manager Tim Speltz said. “Lethbridge is excited to have him join their team. Matt was an important piece to our organization the last two years. We wish him all the best in Lethbridge.”

Marantz was one of eight Chiefs with at least 20 goals last season, finishing with 20 goals and 22 assists and was a plus-21 in 68 games. In his first season he had two goals and three assists in 40 games.

The other 20-year olds are forward Steven Kuhn and defenseman Corbin Baldwin.

 

Chiefs head south for opener

The Spokane Chiefs open the Western Hockey League season tonight at Tri-City. We visited with Don Nachbaur and Tim Speltz about the expectations. From the Americans side, The Tri-City Herald had a story with a couple of veterans and bios on the team.

Will head out shortly for the game. I'll be blogging and tweeting (srtrim@twitter) from the Toyota Center.

Chiefs to push Portland again

Once again Portland appears to be the class of the U.S. Division in the Western Conference of the Western Hockey League. But the Spokane Chiefs aren't conceding anything. Though the Winterhawks, who sent an unheard of 15 players to NHL camps and the Chiefs just four, appeared to have a big edge on paper last year, the Chiefs pushed them to the last weekend before losing the No. 1 seed for the playoffs and then they took the Winterhawks to six games in the Conference finals.

And Tri-City, which had won the previous four U.S. titles, wasn't far behind and should be in the mix again. However, the Americans found out Thursday that potential over-ager Brendan Shinniman was being sent to the AHL, while the word is the Chiefs are getting Dominik Uher back from Pittsburgh before Saturday's game in Tri.

The team-by-team caps are below, written last week.

Kelowna shold repeat in WHL B.C. Division

The Spokane Chiefs have a goal, to be playing an Eastern Conference team next spring. The first step to getting there is to get rid of B.C. Division rivals, the focus of today's capsules.

Kootenay, Red Deer class of WHL Central

The Central Division produced the Western Hockey League champion last year and the Kootenay Ice should be among the contenders again this year.

That's the same team the Chiefs humbled in the Outdoor Game. So, if the Ice is a contender are the Chiefs?

Spokane used it's Eastern Conference trip last year to jell into a team. It came at a good time, when the team was 2-5 and struggling under first year coach Don Nachbaur. The team doesn't take off for the Central Division until the end of November, but Kootenay doesn't fall into that trip because of the close proximity of Cranbrook.

I don't know if I'm reading my schedule right, but the Chiefs travel there for the first time on Dec. 30 and play three times up there, just twice here, the first Jan. 28.

The Central capsules follow and a small Prince Albert cap will be added to yesterday's Eastern Division post shortly.

BTW: Former Chief Jared Spurgeon scored the first and last goal in Minnesota's 4-3 win over Edmonton last night.

Cowen scores 2 for Ottawa

With the Western Hockey League season opening Thursday and the Spokane Chiefs playing their first gameon Saturday, it's time to pick up the pace.

Today I'll post capsules from the Eastern Division of the Eastern Conference, with the Central Division on Wednesday and the B.C. Division on Thursday, when we'll have our overview of the WHL. The caps for the U.S. Division are set for Friday.

A look at the Chiefs will be in Saturday's paper and then I'll head to Tri-City for the opener. It does't seem that long ago I was commuting to TC for the playoff games. The good news is that regular-season games only have 5 minutes of OT and a shootout so there should be no 2 a.m. arrivals.

At last report, only Brenden Kichton has returned of the four players the Chiefs sent to NHL camps, leaving the roster shy of Darren Kramer, Blake Gal and Dominik Uher.

One last thing, former Spokane captain Jared Cowen scored both goals, after getting into a scrap that cost him 17 minutes of ice time, for Ottawa last night in a 4-2 loss to the Maple Leafs.

Chiefs pick up goalie

The Spokane Chiefs used their defensive strength to strengthen their goaltender competition today, trading Tyler Vanscourt , 19, to Prince Albert for Luke Lee-Knight, 18, and a fifth-round pick in next summer's bantam draft.

Lee-Knight joins second-year goalie Mac Engel and rookie Zach Rakochy, also both 18, while 19-year old Jacob Edwards was released.

General manager Tim Speltz said in a release that it strengthens the draft as well as the goaltending but in appearing in 3 games, Engel has a 1.89 GAA while Rakochy is 1.54. So how this plays out remains to be seen.

The Chiefs play Tri-City tonight at Eagles in the sixth of their seven preseason games. The Chiefs are 4-0-0-1, the Americans are 3-2-0-0, which includes a 3-2 shootout win over Spokane in TC last Saturday.

Chiefs announce preseason schedule

CORRECTED

As usual, the Spokane Chiefs will play in two preseason tournaments before playing one game in Spokane prior to the Western Hockey League season. 

The Chiefs will play in the Everett tournament Sept. 2-4 and then the Tri-City tournament the next week, which features all five U.S. Division teams.  

Spokane, which reached the Western Conference finals last season under new coach Don Nachbaur, play a total of seven games, capped by a visit from the Tri-City Americans on Thursday, Sept.15. That game will be played at Eastern Washington University.

 The first three games are in Everett. On Friday, Sept. 2, the Chiefs face Seattle, followed by a Saturday game with the host Silvertips and a Sunday game with Portland, which knocked Spokane out of the playoffs.

 At Tri-City, the Chiefs play Seattle again on Friday the 9th, followed by a Saturday game with the Americans.

They close the preseason by going to Tri-City for a game on Saturday, Sept. 17.

Schedule below.