When asked how he feels about being on the brink of a major milestone, Don Nachbaur just grinned and shook his head a little.
The Spokane Chiefs coach is one win away from 500 career Western Hockey League wins – a feat only five other coaches have achieved, including current Saskatoon coach Lorne Molleken and Vancouver coach Don Hay, who made the list last season.
“I’d rather have 500 NHL goals as a player,” Nachbaur joked.
Nachbaur could reach 500 wins tonight when the Chiefs (20-13-2-3) host the Everett Silvertips at the Arena.
In typical hockey fashion, though, Nachbaur wouldn’t dare celebrate something that he hasn’t yet achieved.
“I haven’t thought about it a whole lot, they just kind of creep up on you – those wins,” he said. “I’ve been fortunate that I’ve had a lot of good groups of kids that I’ve coached. I’ve been real fortunate.”
Spokane will play three games in four nights this week, including two at home.
After playing the Silvertips (7-25-1-7) tonight, the Chiefs will travel back to Everett on Friday. The Western Conference- leading Tri-City Americans (32-7-0-0) will visit the Arena on Saturday night.
The Chiefs were quiet on the day of the trade deadline, but they did make one move.
The Chiefs added 19-year-old center Dylan Walchuk to the roster. Walchuk was originally added to the Chiefs’ 50-player protected list in 2008.
Last season Walchuk led the Vernon Vipers of the British Columbia Hockey League with 56 points, including 24 goals and 32 assists.
He added another 13 goals and 20 points in 24 playoff games as Vernon finished second in the Royal Bank Cup Championship – the Canadian Junior A national title.
Walchuk spent time playing in Vernon and at Northern Michigan University this season before deciding to give up his NCAA eligibility and play for Spokane.
Chiefs General Manager Tim Speltz is looking for Walchuk to add some scoring power and expects he will be a top-six forward.
“Dylan is a very competitive and complete player,” Speltz said. “We are excited that he has chosen this route to fulfill his goal to become a professional hockey player. His skill and determination will complement our group of forwards.”
Walchuk could be in Spokane for tonight’s game, but might not be able to join the team until the weekend.
Fiddler fitting in
With the addition of Walchuk, Todd Fiddler is no longer the newest Chief on the block – although he’s fitting right in anyway.
“I’m loving it here, the guys have been great,” Fiddler said.
Fiddler has also been great – immediately producing for Spokane. Fiddler has scored four goals and added three assists in six games.
Forward Collin Valcourt will miss tonight’s game after receiving a one-game suspension for a double-minor (checking from behind) in Sunday’s win at Everett.