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Q & A with Liam Stewart of the Spokane Chiefs

Liam Stewart, 20, is in his fourth and final season with the Spokane Chiefs. The 6-foot-1, 182-pound center was born in London and resides in Hermosa Beach, California. He scored his 15th goal of the season last Saturday, surpassing the previous best of 14 he scored in 2011-12. The son of well-known model Rachel Hunter and rock and roll icon Rod Stewart, took some time to share his thoughts in a question and answer session. 

Chiefs’ Holmberg picked for Team WHL

On the heels of a 4-2 loss to the Prince George Cougars on Wednesday night, the Spokane Chiefs and leading scorer Mitch Holmberg got a bit of good news on Thursday when the Western Hockey League announced the roster for Team WHL in the SUBWAY Super Series against the Russian all-stars. Here are some notes that are running in tomorrow's paper.

Spokane plays at Everett on Friday and in Kennewick against the Tri-City Americans on Saturday. If you're jonesing for some hockey as the NHL lockout lingers, don't worry. The Chiefs are back after their pair of road games for six home games. You'll get your fix soon!

Nachbaur picks up another part time gig

Spokane Chiefs coach Don Nachbaur is a wanted man these days. He's already on board to assist Canada's World Junior team this winter, and on Monday, the Canadian Hockey League announced that Nachbaur will be the head coach for Team WHL in the annual six-game Super Series. 

Also, if you're following progress of the NHL Lockout, your head may be spinning from all the perspectives out there. If you're interested, here's a player's view on the whole thing. Hint: he's a former Spokane Chief.

Stay tuned: we've got some surprises here on the blog for you throughout the week.

Chiefs beat Victoria on busy day in Spokane

It was a busy Friday for the Spokane Chiefs, as they announced two big roster moves and hosted the Victoria Royals at the Arena in front of a little over 4,500 fans. Earlier in the day, the Chiefs dealt overage defenseman Davis Vandane to the Prince Albert Raiders for a conditional draft pick in the 2013 WHL Bantam draft, and then about 30 minutes before the game Spokane made the swift announcement that goalie Mac Engel has been sent home while he awaits a trade. Makes you wonder if there were some off-ice issues that sped the process up, because when rumors that the veteran netminder had been traded began to swirl on Facebook and Twitter on Thursday, Chiefs general manager Tim Speltz flat denied the move. The moves leave the Chiefs with their three overage players (D Brenden Kichton, forwards Blake Gal and Dylan Walchuk) and two goalies (Eric Williams and rookie Garret Hughson).

Despite all of the potential distractions, the Chiefs slipped by Victoria 5-3 thanks to fantastic play from their special teams and Williams. Here's the game story I filed. Spokane hosts Lethbridge on Saturday night (7 p.m.). Detroit Red Wings coach (and ex-Chiefs coach) Mike Babcock will be at the game to drop the ceremonial first puck. He obviously has some free time with the NHL lockout happening. I'll be sitting down with him and working on a story for early next week. Stay tuned, and keep up on everything here.

And share your thoughts. Do you like Spokane's roster moves? Like what you're seeing on the ice so far?

Puck drops on a new season for Chiefs tonight

The Spokane Chiefs are about an hour from dropping the puck in their Western Hockey League regular season opener at Tri-City, and below we've got all kinds of pregame material for you to read before you watch the game on SWX at 7:05 - including a lot of extra material from my sit down with coach Don Nachbaur yesterday at the Arena.

Giants beat Chiefs 2-1

If this was a preview of what’s to come, expect a first-round playoff series that could easily go the distance. The Spokane Chiefs, of course, will be looking for a different result than they got on Wednesday night if that’s the case.

Jackson Houck scored the go-ahead goal midway through the third period and Vancouver goalie Adam Morrison made 32 saves as the Giants picked up a 2-1 Western Hockey League victory over the Chiefs in front of 4,011 fans at the Arena.

The win gave Vancouver (34-21-1-2, 71 points) sole possession of fourth place in the Western Conference standings, though Spokane (31-18-4-3, 69 points) still has two games in hand.

Chiefs pull out shootout win over Royals

Spokane Chiefs coach Don Nachbaur wasn't too thrilled with his team's performance level on Friday night, but his team did pick up two points in the standings with a 6-5 shootout victory over the Victoria Royals to remain ahead of Vancouver for fourth in the Western Conference standings.

When I asked Cole Wedman, who scored his first Western Hockey League goal in the game, what it's going to take for the Chiefs to beat the lower-end teams the same way they've been beating the high-end teams, he pointed out that the team - as a whole - needs to "manage the puck better and put the same effort in against those teams as (they) do against teams like Tri-City and Portland."

Chiefs go to battle in OT win over Ice

The Spokane Chiefs picked up another two points in the standings on Saturday night after grinding out a 5-4 overtime victory over the visiting Kootenay Ice. My unedited story from the game is below. I'll follow up with some extras from the game tomorrow, so check back.

Portland hands Chiefs overtime loss

 

Don Nachbaur will be the first one to tell you his Spokane Chiefs are not a run-and-gun team.

The Portland Winterhawks, however, are – so when they forced their style of hockey upon the Chiefs on Friday night the result was a 3-2 Western Hockey League loss in overtime in front of 6,243 fans at the Arena.

Chiefs host Portland and Kootenay this weekend

The Spokane Chiefs return home this weekend to play the Portland Winterhawks and Kootenay Ice on Friday and Saturday night, respectively. You can read a quick advance that is running in tomorrow's section here. Last Sunday's game between Spokane and Portland at the Arena resulted in a few, well, altercations. I would expect Friday's game to be very intense.

The Chiefs trail fourth-place Vancouver by one point in the Western Conference standings.

Not to be a tease, but I thought I'd let readers know that I'm working on a piece on Chiefs goalie Mac Engel that will run next week. When it's done, you all will be the first to know.

Chiefs blast Winterhawks

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The Spokane Chiefs wrapped up a solid weekend of hockey tonight at the Arena. After scoring on their first shift of the game, the Chiefs went on to a 6-1 win over the Portland Winterhawks. That's three wins in a row now for Spokane, which trails both teams it beat this weekend in the standings.

Sorry for the late post, I had some internet issues back at the Arena tonight. I'm home now and am happy to share the link to tonight's game story and photo album. Also, here's a link to the game sheet.

Follow-up from Chiefs’ big win on Saturday

After watching the Spokane Chiefs grind out a gutsy win Saturday night against the Tri-City Americans, I woke up this morning for my usual Sunday morning read of the Sports section. When I get to my story, I can't help but focus on anything I've missed. 

In case you missed it, here's Saturday's game story from the 5-3 win over the Canadian Hockey League's top-ranked team and Spokane's biggest rival.

Below you'll find extras from the game and other Chiefs notes leading into tomorrow's 2 p.m. game against the Seattle Thunderbirds at the Arena. This will be the first time Spokane has hosted Seattle this season and the second time the U.S. Division teams have played each other. Spokane beat the Thunderbirds in Seattle on Jan. 7.

Nachbaur picks up 500th win in Chiefs’ victory.

The Spokane Chiefs extended their win streak to four games tonight (funny - that's when I took over covering the team). Just kidding. But no joking matter - Chiefs coach Don Nachbaur picked up his 500th win with Spokane's 6-1 win over Everett. Here's the unedited game story.

Nachbaur one away from 500 club

The Spokane Chiefs were quiet on trade deadline day in the Western Hockey League. Quiet in the traditional sense, that is. They did make some noise though. My Chiefs notebook, which will appear in tomorrow's paper, is below.

And, hey, make a girl happy. Follow me on Twitter (@jbrown_srsports). Yes, that would make me happy. Sigh.

Also, how great is the photo I dug up in our archives for this post? As they would say in hockey, that one's a beauty.

Cowen scores first; Chiefs make move

Former Spokane Chiefs captain Jared Cowen scored his first National Hockey League goal Tuesday night, a bittersweet moment because Ottawa's winning streak came to an end.

The Chiefs have reassigned 17-year old rookie Cody Nelson, who only played in three games.

Another story about Chiefs' rookie Liam Stewart.

Here's a video of the hit that got Blake Gal suspended … and 3 games are too many because the player getting hit made a wrong move and, fortunately, was not hurt. The responsibility goes both ways, as Spokane coach Don Nachbaur says.

Plenty of positives for Spokane Chiefs

Without a Memorial Cup championship the hockey season finishes in disappointment but there was nothing disappointing about the Spokane Chiefs' season, above, in a Colin Mulvany photo, celebrating an overtime win against the Tri-City Americans.

Nachbaur, Johnson honored by WHL

Spokane Chiefs Don Nachbaur completed a triple play and Tyler Johnson was recognized as a class act when the Western Hockey League handed out its major awards in Calgary on Wednesday.

 

Nachbaur received the Dunc McCallum Memorial Trophy as the Coach of the Year for the third time – each with a difference team.

 

Johnson picked up the Brad Hornung Trophy for the Most Sportsmanlike Player.

 

Johnson was also runner-up for the Four Broncos Memorial Trophy, which goes to the Player of the Year. That went to Red Deer goalie Darcy Kuemper, who was a third-round draft pick of the Spokane Chiefs in the 2005 Bantam Draft, the same year they took Johnson in the 11th round. The 2011 Bantam Draft is Thursday.

 

(More below and hopefully an update later when Nachbaur and Johnson return from the awards luncheon in Calgary.)

Chiefs dominate conference awards

The Spokane Chiefs dominated the Western Conference awards the Western Hockey League announced on Wednesday. Read on.

Chiefs Johnson Best in four categories

As if we didn't know this already, but Spokane native and Spokane Chiefs star Tyler Johnson is Best of the West.

Johnson was voted Top Defenive Forward, Best Over-Age Player, Best Skater and Best Faceoff man in the Best of the West 2011 poll compiled by the Tri-City Herald and released Sunday morning.

A total of 43 representatives from the 12 Western Hockey League teams in the Western Conference voted in a variety of categories but could not vote for anyone in their own organization.

Besides Johnson, who is having a MVP season, a reason the Chiefs are in the chase with for the top seed in  the fast-approaching playoffs are because captain Jared Cowen was voted Best Stay-at-Home Defenseman and Don Nachbuar Best Coach.

A number of Chiefs were high up in other categories, including goalie James Reid and defenseman Brenden Kichton, plus Johnson and Cowen, along with general manager Tim Speltz.

Chiefs hot on offense and defense

I knew the Spokane Chiefs were hot, a 10-5 win over Kamloops ran their winning streak to five and before that they handled league-leading Portland 9-3. But I didn’t know they were quite that hot. Keep

Chiefs pleased with Eastern swing

The Spokane Chiefs have a positive experience on their exhausting eastern swing. Now they settle in for two of their four home games in November, Friday against Edmonton and Saturday against Tri-Cities.

The weekend should be a good gauge to see where the Chiefs are. Considering they would not make the playoffs (yes, there are 55 games left), maybe an upgrade is needed - or selling out for the future.

“We don’t have anything on the burner right now,” Spokane GM Tim Speltz said. (More below).

Chiefs off to Tri-City next

Not sure how to spell exactly what Spokane Chiefs coach Don Nachbaur said about his first trip back to Tri-City.

True, it’s only an exhibition game - or games, Thursday vs. Lethbridge, Saturday vs. the Americans - but his response was, “Arg.” Sounded a lot like a Pirate.

For the rest of his response, check out the notebook that also takes a look back at the first three exhibition games of the Nachbaur era.

I would also like to direct you to Gregg Drinnan’s blog to find out how an OHL team ended up at the Everett tournament last weekend.