Wichita Thunder

Last updated

Wichita Thunder
Wichita Thunder logo.svg
City Wichita, Kansas
League ECHL
ConferenceWestern
DivisionMountain
Founded1992 (in the CHL)
Home arena Intrust Bank Arena
ColorsBlue, black
  
Owner(s)Rodney Steven
Brandon Steven
Johnny Steven
General managerJoel Lomurno
Head coachBruce Ramsay
Media The Wichita Eagle
KAKE-TV
KWCH
Affiliates San Jose Sharks (NHL)
San Jose Barracuda (AHL)
Franchise history
1992–presentWichita Thunder
Championships
Regular season titles3 (1993–94, 1994–95, 2011–12)
Conference titles2 (1997–98, 2011–12)
Ray Miron President's Cup2 (1993–94, 1994–95)
Hockey current event.svg Current season

The Wichita Thunder are a minor league hockey team based in Wichita, Kansas. The team played in the Central Hockey League from 1992 until 2014, and then in the ECHL since the 2014–15 season. From 1992 until December 2009, the Thunder played in the Britt Brown Arena located in the northern Wichita suburb of Park City. In January 2010 (the second half of the 2009–10 season), the team began playing its home games at the newly built Intrust Bank Arena. The Thunder are currently the ECHL affiliate of the San Jose Sharks. [1]

Contents

Franchise history

Central Hockey League

The Thunder was one of the first six original teams of the second iteration of the Central Hockey League, along with the Oklahoma City Blazers, Tulsa Oilers, Memphis RiverKings, Dallas Freeze and the Fort Worth Fire. Wichita played its first home game at Britt Brown Arena on November 4, 1992, in front of a crowd of 5,486. In the same season, the Thunder had its first sellout in team history when the crowd of 9,686 fans watched the Thunder defeat Oklahoma City 4–3.

The Thunder was originally coached by Gary Fay, but after a 6–20 start, he was replaced by Doug Shedden. The season was quickly turned around by Shedden, and it finished its first season with a 25–32–2 record. On April 5, 1993, the Thunder goaltender Robert Desjardins was named the first CHL Rookie of the Year. In the following two seasons, the Thunder was the regular season champion (Adams Cup) and playoff champion (William Levins Memorial Cup). Ron Handy was the Playoff Most Valuable Player for both seasons and was the only player in Central Hockey League history to win the award on multiple occasions. In the 1993–94 season, Doug Shedden won the Coach of the Year award, Robert Desjardins won the Regular Season Most Valuable Player award and Paul Jackson won the Scoring Champion award.

On May 14, 1995, Shedden resigned to become coach of the Louisiana IceGators of the East Coast Hockey League (ECHL). Don Jackson was hired as the new head coach on July 21, 1995. He led the Thunder to a 22–39–3 record and missed the playoffs for the second time in franchise history. On July 19, 1996, Jackson resigned to become head coach of the Kansas City Blades of the International Hockey League (IHL). Jackson was replaced by Bryan Wells to become the Thunder's fourth head coach in franchise history. Wells wento on to coach the Thunder for five seasons, making the playoffs in four out of the five seasons he coached. On May 2, 2001, Wells was dismissed as head coach.

After the dismissal of Wells, the Thunder announced that James Latos would be the new head coach. In Latos' first season coaching, the team went 24–34–6 and was out of the playoffs. Latos was fired the following season after a disappointing start of 8–19–7. Five days after his dismissal, the Thunder announced that Derek Laxdal would become the team's new head coach. Laxdal went on to coach the Thunder for two seasons to an 87–58–8 record while securing two separate playoff places. On August 3, 2005, Laxdal announced his resignation to become the head coach of the ECHL's Idaho Steelheads.

Mark French took over as head coach from 2005 to 2007. During his tenure, he compiled a record of 70–59–16. He was fired mid-season in December 2007 with a 4–13 record. He went on to become the assistant coach of the AHL's Hershey Bears and the following season took them to a championship as head coach. The Thunder then named former player Rob Weingartner to lead the team. Weingartner played for the Thunder from 1992 to 1996 when he was a member of two championship teams. Weingartner compiled a record of 16–29–2 during his tenure. He has since become the head coach of the Western States Hockey League's Wichita Jr. Thunder.

Brent Bilodeau was hired during the 2008 off-season and lead the team for two seasons and a record of 22–48–0. He was fired early in his second season and became the assistant coach of the Western Hockey League's Tri-City Americans for two seasons. After the Thunder fired Bilodeau nine games into the 2009–10 season, Jason Duda was given the job on an interim basis while on injured reserve. Duda owns several franchise records from his Thunder career, scoring 870 points in 14 seasons. He finished the season with a 7–43–5 record became an assistant coach under the next head coach, Kevin McClelland.

ECHL

On October 7, 2014, soon before the 2014–15 CHL season was set to begin, it was announced that the Central Hockey League had ceased operations and the Thunder, along with the Allen Americans, Brampton Beast, Quad City Mallards, Missouri Mavericks, Rapid City Rush and Tulsa Oilers, were all approved for membership into the ECHL for the 2014–15 season. [2] [3] The team finished fifth out of seven teams in the Central Division, scoring 73 points out of 144.

On April 16, 2016, the Thunder announced that the team would not renew McClelland's contract for the 2016–17 season. He had been with the Thunder since 2010 and guided the team for six seasons becoming the longest tenured coach in Thunder history, leading the team for 408 games. During his time in Wichita, McClelland compiled a record of 194–166–48, earning a playoff spot in his first season and taking the team to the playoff finals in the following two seasons while still in the CHL. However, he failed to lead the team into the ECHL playoffs in his two seasons leading the team in the ECHL and the Thunder finished last in the overall standings in the 2015–16 season.

Malcolm Cameron was announced as the new head coach on May 20, 2016. [4] One of his stated intentions in his opening press conference was to establish the Thunder's first NHL affiliation for the upcoming season. On July 4, 2016, the Ottawa Senators' assistant general manager, Randy Lee, said that his team was in negotiations for an affiliation with the Thunder for the 2016–17 season. [5] The affiliation with the Senators and their American Hockey League affiliate, the Binghamton Senators, was finally confirmed on July 14. [6] After one season, the Thunder changed affiliations to the Edmonton Oilers (NHL) and Bakersfield Condors (AHL). After three seasons, and one playoff appearance, Cameron was not offered an extension. [7]

On May 15, 2019, the Thunder announced that the former Tulsa Oilers' head coach Bruce Ramsay would be Cameron's replacement. [8]

Season-by-season records

Regular seasonPlayoffs
SeasonGPWLTOTLSOLPtsGFGAPIMStandingYear1st round2nd round3rd roundFinals
1992–93 602533025224232018766th of 6, CHL 1993 Did not qualify
1993–94 64401868630927525221st of 6, CHL 1994 W, 4–3, DAL W, 4–0, TUL
1994–95 66441849232026825131st of 7, CHL 1995 W, 4–1, OKC W, 4–2, SA
1995–96 64223934727038023046th of 6, CHL 1996 Did not qualify
1996–97 662531106027932426604th of 5, Western Div. 1997 OKCL, 1–4, FTW
1997–98 70353147430230323212nd of 5, Western Div. 1998 W, 3–2, TUL W, 4–3, OKCL, 0–4, COL
1998–99 703426107825726221583rd of 6, Western Div. 1999 L, 1–3, SA
1999–00 70372678124523120492nd of 6, Western Div. 2000 L, 2–3, OKC
2000–01 70303286825125124185th of 6, Western Div. 2001 Did not qualify
2001–02 64243465420326219133rd of 4, Northwest Div. 2002 Did not qualify
2002–03 642136524921626118374th of 4, Northwest Div. 2003 Did not qualify
2003–04 643524147519419715582nd of 5, Northwest Div. 2004 W, 3–1, COL L, 1–4, BS
2004–05 604017218321015817842nd of 4, Northwest Div. 2005 W, 4–3, BS L, 2–4, COL
2005–06 643818448423320018412nd of 4, Northwest Div. 2006 L, 1–4, BS
2006–07 642828086419121318413rd of 4, Northwest Div. 2007 L, 2–4, BS
2007–08 642042114215624719055th of 5, Northwest Div. 2008 Did not qualify
2008–09 642041214316823014194th of 4, Northwest Div. 2009 Did not qualify
2009–10 64950142312825713547th of 7, Northern Conf. 2010 Did not qualify
2010–11 663426247424923111895th of 9, Turner Conf. 2011 L, 2–3, MO
2011–12 664419129123118110771st of 7, Berry Conf. 2012 W, 4–1, RGV W, 4–2, TEX L, 1–4, FW
2012–13 663919268624018211062nd of 10, CHL 2013 W, 4–0, ARZ W, 4–0, FTW L, 3–4, ALN
2013–14 66273045632012239739th of 10, CHL 2014 Did not qualify
2014–15 723231277321324015085th of 6, Central Div. 2015 Did not qualify
2015–16 721841764915024011524th of 4, Central Div. 2016 Did not qualify
2016–17 722144614918927812917th of 7, Central Div. 2017 Did not qualify
2017–18 723430627622223510914th of 7, Mountain Div. 2018 L, 2–4, COL
2018–19 722931937022425112865th of 7, Mountain Div. 2019 Did not qualify
2019–20 62243080561812337946th of 7, Mountain Div.2020Season cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic
2020–21 71412262902181909852nd of 7, Western Conf. 2021 L, 2–3, FW
2021–22 722736906320225810627th of 7, Mountain Div. 2022 Did not qualify

Players

Current roster

Updated January 28, 2023. [9]
Team roster
No. Nat Player Pos S/G AgeAcquiredBirthplaceContract
12 Flag of the United States.svg Peter Bates F L26 2022 Evanston, Illinois Thunder
19 Flag of Canada (Pantone).svg Kelly Bent C L27 2022 Halifax, Nova Scotia Thunder
30 Flag of Canada (Pantone).svg Evan Buitenhuis G L29 2022 Burlington, Ontario Thunder
21 Flag of the United States.svg Jay Dickman  ( A ) C L29 2022 St. Paul, Minnesota Thunder
44 Flag of Canada (Pantone).svg Dominic Dockery D L26 2022 Lockport, New York Thunder
1 Flag of Canada (Pantone).svg Zach Emond G L22 2022 St. Cyprien, Quebec Sharks
28 Flag of Canada (Pantone).svg Dillon Hamaliuk LW L22 2022 Leduc, Alberta Sharks
7 Flag of the United States.svg Kenneth Hausinger F R27 2022 Anchorage, Alaska Thunder
6 Flag of Canada (Pantone).svg Zack Hoffman D R24 2022 Newcastle, Ontario Thunder
16 Flag of Russia.svg Timur Ibragimov LW L22 2022 St. Petersburg, Russia Sharks
20 Flag of Canada (Pantone).svg Mark Liwiski C L21 2022 Dauphin, Manitoba Barracuda
26 Flag of Canada (Pantone).svg Cole MacDonald D L27 2022 Wetaskiwin, Alberta Thunder
2 Flag of Canada (Pantone).svg Dylan MacPherson  ( C ) D R24 2022 Redcliff, Alberta Abbotsford
55 Flag of Canada (Pantone).svg Chris McKay D R26 2022 Edmonton, Alberta Thunder
43 Flag of the United States.svg Quinn Preston F R25 2022 Trenton, Michigan Thunder
3 Flag of the United States.svg Kyle Rhodes D R25 2022 Ashburn, Virginia Thunder
25 Flag of the United States.svg Sam Sternschein LW R24 2022 Syosset, New York Thunder
22 Flag of the Czech Republic.svg Michal Stinil LW L23 2021 Decin, Czech Republic Thunder
42 Flag of Canada (Pantone).svg Brett Van Os LW L26 2023 St. Albert, Alberta Thunder
83 Flag of the United States.svg Jake Wahlin LW L26 2022 St. Paul, Minnesota Thunder
24 Flag of Canada (Pantone).svg Connor Walters D R25 2022 Welland, Ontario Thunder
29 Flag of the United States.svg Brayden Watts  ( A ) RW R23 2020 Bakersfield, California Thunder

Retired numbers

Notable NHL alumni

List of Wichita Thunder alumni who played more than 25 games in Wichita and 25 or more games in the National Hockey League.

Leaders

Head coaches

NameYear(s)Record
Gary Fay19926–20
Doug Shedden 1992–1995103–49–12
Don Jackson 1995–199622–50–29
Bryan Wells 1996–2001161–146–39
James Latos 2001–200332–53–13
Sean O'Reilly Interim1–0–0
Derek Laxdal 2003–200587–58–8
Mark French 2005–200770–56–16
Rob Weingartner 2007–200816–29–2
Brent Bilodeau 2008–200922–52
Jason Duda Interim7–40–4
Kevin McClelland 2010–2016194–166–48
Malcolm Cameron 2016–201984–105–27
Bruce Ramsay2019–present

General managers

NameTenure
Bill Shuck1992–2002
David Holt2003–2005
Chris Presson2005–2008
Joel Lomurno2008–present

Awards and trophies

The following lists the league awards which have been won by the Thunder team and its players. [11]

ECHL

Most Valuable Player

Coach of the Year

General Manager of the Year

Community Service Award

CHL

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">ECHL</span> Ice hockey league in North America

The ECHL is a mid-level professional ice hockey league based in Shrewsbury, New Jersey, with teams scattered across the United States and Canada. It is a tier below the American Hockey League (AHL).

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Central Hockey League</span> North American mid-level minor professional ice hockey league

The Central Hockey League (CHL) was a North American mid-level minor professional ice hockey league which operated from 1992 until 2014. It was founded by Ray Miron and Bill Levins and later sold to Global Entertainment Corporation, which operated the league from 2000 to 2013, at which point it was purchased by the individual franchise owners. As of the end of its final season in 2014, three of the 30 National Hockey League teams had affiliations with the CHL: the Dallas Stars, Minnesota Wild, and Tampa Bay Lightning.

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Quad City Mallards</span> Defunct minor professional ice hockey team

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Malcolm "Sweet Daddy Leo" Cameron is a Canadian professional ice hockey coach. He coached several ECHL teams, including the Long Beach Ice Dogs, Texas Wildcatters, Florida Everblades, Elmira Jackals, and Wichita Thunder. Cameron was also the head coach of the Regina Pats in the Western Hockey League.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Brampton Beast</span> Defunct Canadian minor-league professional ice hockey team

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References

  1. San Jose Sharks (August 25, 2022). "Sharks Enter Affiliation Agreement With Wichita Thunder". NHL.com. Retrieved August 25, 2022.
  2. "CHL Clubs Join ECHL for 2014-15 Season". Central Hockey League . October 7, 2014. Archived from the original on October 7, 2014. Retrieved October 7, 2014.
  3. "ECHL Accepts Seven Members". ECHL . October 7, 2014. Archived from the original on October 9, 2014. Retrieved October 7, 2014.
  4. Lutz, Jeffrey (May 19, 2016). "Malcolm Cameron will be Wichita Thunder's next coach". The Wichita Eagle . Retrieved May 19, 2016.
  5. "Ottawa Senators name Wichita Thunder new ECHL affiliate". Silver Seven Sens. SB Nation. July 4, 2016. Retrieved July 4, 2016.
  6. "Thunder Lands Affiliation Agreement with Ottawa Senators". OurSports Central. July 14, 2016. Retrieved July 14, 2016.
  7. Eldridge, Taylor (April 10, 2019). "Wichita Thunder hockey team parts ways with head coach Malcolm Cameron". The Wichita Eagle . Retrieved April 11, 2019.
  8. "WICHITA NAMES BRUCE RAMSAY AS HEAD COACH". ECHL . May 15, 2019. Retrieved May 15, 2016.
  9. "Wichita Thunder Roster - Wichita Thunder Hockey". Wichita Thunder. Retrieved January 28, 2023.
  10. Hall, John (October 18, 2010). "Duda's Number 11 Retired in Wichita". Pro Hockey News. Retrieved November 17, 2019.
  11. "Central Hockey League Historical Award Winners". Central Hockey League . Archived from the original on November 3, 2015. Retrieved October 28, 2019.
  12. "Wichita's Beauregard Named 2020-21 Warrior Hockey/ECHL Most Valuable Player". OurSports Central. June 11, 2021. Retrieved June 11, 2021.
  13. 1 2 "WICHITA'S RAMSAY RECEIVES JOHN BROPHY AWARD AS ECHL COACH OF THE YEAR". ECHL . June 8, 2021. Retrieved June 8, 2021.