Sports in brief: Finally, Chiefs back in Arena
The Spokane Chiefs return to the Arena for the first time in 20 days when they face the Seattle Thunderbirds tonight at 7.
Spokane went 4-4 on the road to reach the 50-game mark of the Western Hockey League season and are 28-18-3-1 for 60 points. That puts them fourth in the U.S. Division, two points behind Portland. They are fifth in the Western Conference.
Mitch Wahl (pictured above) led the Chiefs on the road with seven goals and six assists in eight games. He leads the team with 60 points (23 goals) in 50 games, which is 11th in the league.
The Chiefs play four straight at home, including a Saturday game against Kootenay.
They have a good chance to improve their playoff position because they play eight of their 13 games in February at home. Also, eight of the 13 are against U.S. Division rivals.
However, the Chiefs have only won 12 of 23 home games while winning 16 of 27 on the road.
The Chiefs and Catholic Charities Spokane are holding a silent auction during tonight’s game to raise money for relief efforts in Haiti. Fans are also encouraged to make homemade signs for the game, which will be televised on FSN.
The first 2,000 fans at Saturday’s game receive a 6-inch bobble head of Chiefs’ forward Tyler Johnson, the Spokane native who is only the second American-born player to win a Memorial Cup and a gold medal in the World Junior Tournament.
Mariners after ‘right-handed bat’
Baseball: Even though they have acquired former Cy Young Award winner Cliff Lee, given $78 million to co-ace Felix Hernandez, signed All-Star third baseman Chone Figgins and added other pieces, the remade Mariners aren’t done yet.
General manager Jack Zduriencik (zur-REN-sik) said Thursday “we’re still looking for a right-handed bat” to be a designated hitter, first baseman, left fielder – or all three.
Seattle has Ken Griffey Jr. penciled in at DH, but he is 40 and coming off his second knee surgery in 12 months, though trainer Rick Griffin says Griffey is “better now than he was at any time last year.”
The Mariners recently traded with the Cubs for Milton Bradley in hopes the 31-year-old can play left field and perhaps DH.
Seattle also acquired defensive whiz Casey Kotchman to play first base, but he lacks needed power.