Saskatoon Blades

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Saskatoon Blades
PacMan Logo W Text.png
City Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
League Western Hockey League
Conference Eastern
Division East
Founded 1964
Home arena SaskTel Centre
Colours Royal blue and gold
         
Owner(s) Mike Priestner
General manager Colin Priestner [1]
Head coach Mitch Love
Captain Evan Fiala
Website www.saskatoonblades.com

The Saskatoon Blades are a junior ice hockey team in the Eastern Division of the Western Hockey League, formerly the Western Canadian Hockey League (WCHL). They are based in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, playing at the 15,195-seat SaskTel Centre.

History[edit]

The Saskatoon Blades were founded in 1964 as part of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League (SJHL) and transferred leagues in 1966–67 with the foundation of the Canadian Major Junior Hockey League, which included the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) and Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL). The WCHL renamed itself the Western Hockey League in 1978 with the inclusion of some US based teams. Of the seven original WCHL franchises, the Blades are the only team to have never relocated or left the league (the Regina Pats returned to the SJHL from 1968 to 1970). Players ages range from 16 to 20 years of age, many of them still attending high school, and most come from other parts of Canada, the US, and Europe, to develop into potential professional National Hockey League prospects.

The Blades spent a number of seasons at the original Saskatoon Arena and there, developed many of the top professional players of their day, such as Bernie Federko, Wendel Clark and Pat Price. In the early 90s, the team was one of the strongest in the league and made it to the league finals twice, losing to the Kamloops Blazers in both 1992 and 1994. The Blades have not returned to the final round of the playoffs since despite several successful regular seasons, including winning the Scotty Munro Memorial Trophy in 2010-11 as the regular season champions. Since then playoff success has been rare, and as of 2016 the Blades have the longest playoff drought in the CHL, having not made the playoffs since 2013. The Blades also hold the dubious distinction of having the longest championship drought in the Canadian Hockey League, having never won the WHL Championship or Memorial Cup in their entire history.

The Blades were owned by the Brodsky family for 37 years [2] On August 27, 2013, the team was sold to Go Auto owner Mike Priestner for a reported $9 million.[3] Throughout their existence the team has had a fierce rivalry with the Prince Albert Raiders, although recently the team has placed more of a focus on its growing competition with Regina Pats. Before the start of the 2005-06 season, the Blades retired their long-time mascot Helmutt, an anthropomorphic dog whose name was a pun on the word helmet, in favor of a mascot that would appeal to younger fans. Helmutt was replaced by Poke Check, a yeti, at the Blades home opener that season. He has since remained the team's mascot, and also appears at community events throughout Saskatoon. Just before the 2017-2018 season, the team brought back the "Pac-Man" logo and jersey with the gold and royal blue colours due to popular demand and the simple retro look.

Memorial Cup[edit]

The Saskatoon Blades have hosted the Memorial Cup twice in their existence. The first came in 1989, a year after the team began playing at Saskatchewan Place (now SaskTel Centre). As the host city they were allowed to play in the tournament independent of their season standing, and were joined in the competition by the WHL Champion Swift Current Broncos, OHL Champion Peterborough Petes and QMJHL Champion Laval Titan. In a surprising twist in the tournament the Blades finished first overall in the round robin with a 2-1 record, including a 5–4 victory over the Broncos, who had a 14-game undefeated streak dating back to the start of the WHL playoffs. Despite their unexpected strong performance and an automatic berth in the Cup Final, the Blades ultimately lost to the Broncos in overtime.

The Blades would again host the Memorial Cup in 2013, which included the Portland Winterhawks, London Knights and the eventual champion Halifax Mooseheads. The Blades finished the round robin with a 1-2 record (their lone win coming over the Mooseheads), and lost to the Knights in the tiebreaker. The Blades' goalie, Andrey Makarov, won the Hap Emms Memorial Trophy as the outstanding goalie of the tournament.

Highlights[edit]

In the 2008–09 season, the Saskatoon Blades made history by tying a WHL record for most road wins in a single season (28) with the 1999–00 Calgary Hitmen. In that season, the Blades went on to win their first East Division Championship since 1994.

With a 5-3 win over the Brandon Wheat Kings on Wednesday, March 9, 2011, the Blades clinched first place in the Western Hockey League and earned themselves the Scotty Munro Memorial Trophy as the WHL's champion with the most points earned during the regular season.

During the 2012-2013 season, the Blades broke a team record by winning 18 consecutive games from late January until early March.

NHL alumni[edit]

Bernie Federko is the only former Blade in the Hockey Hall of Fame.

Retired numbers[edit]

Coaches[edit]

Saskatoon Blades Logo 1983/84 - 1992/93

*interim (regular head coach fired, sick or suspended)

Current roster[edit]

Updated January 10, 2018.[6]

# Nat Player Pos S/G Age Acquired Birthplace Drafted
8 Canada Seth Bafaro D R 18 2017 Kamloops, British Columbia Eligible 2018
31 Canada Tyler Brown G L 21 2018 Winnpeg, Manitoba Undrafted
52 Canada Jackson Caller D L 19 2016 Kamloops, British Columbia Undrafted
41 Canada Logan Christensen C L 19 2014 Morden, Manitoba Undrafted
16 Canada Kyle Crnkovic LW L 16 2017 Chestermere, Alberta Eligible 2020
77 Canada Kirby Dach C R 17 2016 Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta Eligible 2019
4 Canada Dawson Davidson D L 20 2017 Moosomin, Saskatchewan Undrafted
39 Canada Caleb Fantillo RW R 20 2016 Coquitlam, British Columbia Undrafted
27 Canada Michael Farren RW R 18 2016 Richmond, British Columbia Undrafted
47 Canada Evan Fiala (C) D R 21 2016 Clavet, Saskatchewan Undrafted
17 Canada Eric Florchuk C L 18 2018 Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta Eligible 2018
9 United States Max Gerlach RW R 20 2018 Burnsville, Minnesota Undrafted
18 Canada Bradly Goethals C R 20 2017 Île-des-Chênes, Manitoba Undrafted
34 Canada Majod Kaddoura D L 17 2017 Chestermere, Alberta Eligible 2019
3 Canada Jake Kustra D L 19 2014 Yorkton, Saskatchewan Undrafted
14 Canada Tyler Lees C L 18 2015 Regina, Saskatchewan Eligible 2018
49 Canada Brandon Machado C L 18 2015 Airdrie, Alberta Eligible 2018
30 Canada Koen MacInnes G L 16 2017 Burnaby, British Columbia Eligible 2020
73 Canada Nolan Maier G L 17 2016 Yorkton, Saskatchewan Eligible 2019
61 Canada Josh Paterson C R 19 2014 Edmonton, Alberta Undrafted
20 Canada Gage Ramsay C L 19 2016 Saskatoon, Saskatchewan Undrafted
6 Russia Mark Rubinchik D L 19 2016 Moscow, Russia Undrafted
2 Canada Randen Schmidt D L 18 2017 Regina, Saskatchewan Eligible 2018
23 Canada Braylon Shmyr (A) LW L 21 2016 Calgary, Alberta Undrafted
44 Canada Chase Wouters C R 18 2015 Lloydminster, Alberta Undrafted
38 Canada Alec Zawatsky LW L 18 2017 Winfield, British Columbia Eligible 2018

Season-by-season record[edit]

Note: GP = Games played, W = Wins, L = Losses, T = Ties, OTL = Overtime losses, Pts = Points, GF = Goals for, GA = Goals against

Season GP W L T OTL GF GA Points Finish Playoffs
1966–67 56 25 24 7 288 271 57 5th Overall Lost quarter-final
1967–68 60 20 31 9 260 362 49 7th Overall Lost quarter-final
1968–69 60 24 35 1 195 271 49 3rd West Lost quarter-final
1969–70 60 18 41 1 202 282 37 4th West Lost quarter-final
1970–71 66 29 36 1 295 299 59 3rd West Lost quarter-final
1971–72 68 37 28 3 312 258 77 2nd East Lost quarter-final
1972–73 68 46 11 11 323 184 103 1st East Lost final
1973–74 68 30 29 9 283 272 69 4th East Lost quarter-final
1974–75 70 38 22 10 344 244 86 1st East Lost final
1975–76 72 43 19 10 390 269 96 1st East Lost final
1976–77 72 30 30 12 317 290 72 2nd East Lost preliminary round
1977–78 72 20 50 2 340 460 42 4th East Out of playoffs
1978–79 72 26 32 14 385 398 66 2nd East Lost East Division final
1979–80 72 27 40 5 331 382 59 7th East Out of playoffs
1980–81 72 22 47 3 297 427 47 8th East Out of playoffs
1981–82 72 44 26 2 450 343 90 3rd East Lost East Division quarter-final
1982–83 72 52 19 1 467 303 105 1st East Lost East Division semi-final
1983–84 72 36 36 0 347 350 72 7th East Out of playoffs
1984–85 72 29 41 2 309 378 60 6th East Lost East Division quarter-final
1985–86 72 38 28 6 381 360 82 4th East Lost East Division semi-final
1986–87 72 44 26 2 369 282 90 2nd East Lost East Division final
1987–88 72 47 22 3 381 294 97 1st East Lost East Division final
1988–89 72 42 28 2 366 335 86 2nd East Lost East Division final; Lost Memorial Cup final
1989–90 72 33 34 5 325 354 71 4th East Lost East Division semi-final
1990–91 72 29 41 2 309 363 60 7th East Out of playoffs
1991–92 72 38 29 5 315 260 81 3rd East Lost final
1992–93 72 42 27 3 311 236 87 3rd East Lost East Division semi-final
1993–94 72 49 22 1 326 229 99 1st East Lost final
1994–95 72 41 23 8 324 254 90 3rd East Lost East Division semi-final
1995–96 72 29 42 1 314 351 59 4th East Lost Eastern Conference quarter-final
1996–97 72 18 48 6 227 344 42 6th East Out of playoffs
1997–98 72 25 39 8 263 327 58 4th East Lost Eastern Conference quarter-final
1998–99 72 16 49 7 184 291 39 6th East Out of playoffs
1999–00 72 34 27 8 3 216 223 79 2nd East Lost Eastern Conference semi-final
2000–01 72 19 43 5 5 193 265 48 5th East Out of playoffs
2001–02 72 27 37 5 3 216 257 62 4th East Lost Eastern Conference quarter-final
2002–03 72 40 27 5 0 234 205 85 3rd East Lost Eastern Conference quarter-final
2003–04 72 7 52 11 2 140 279 27 5th East Out of playoffs
2004–05 72 37 23 6 6 234 215 86 2nd East Lost Eastern Conference quarter-final
Season GP W L OTL SOL GF GA Points Finish Playoffs
2005–06 72 41 25 2 4 232 217 88 2nd East Lost Eastern Conference semi-final
2006–07 72 27 41 2 2 174 231 58 6th East Out of playoffs
2007–08 72 29 34 3 6 182 229 67 5th East Out of playoffs
2008–09 72 49 18 3 2 283 195 103 1st East Lost Eastern Conference quarter-final
2009–10 72 46 19 3 4 258 227 99 2nd East Lost Eastern Conference semi-final
2010–11 72 56 13 1 2 310 213 115 1st East Lost Eastern Conference semi-final
2011–12 72 40 29 1 2 268 250 83 2nd East Lost Eastern Conference quarter-final
2012–13 72 44 22 2 4 280 221 94 1st East Lost Eastern Conference quarter-final; Lost Memorial Cup tie-breaker game
2013–14 72 16 51 2 3 207 317 37 6th East Out of playoffs
2014–15 72 19 49 2 2 195 308 42 6th East Out of playoffs
2015–16 72 26 42 4 0 219 318 56 6th East Out of playoffs
2016–17 72 28 35 7 2 190 248 65 5th East Out of playoffs
2017–18 72 35 33 3 1 237 276 74 6th East Out of playoffs

WHL Championship history[edit]

Team records[edit]

Team records for a single season
Statistic Total Season
Most points 115 2010-11
Most wins 56 2010-11
Most road wins (Tied WHL record) 28 2008–09
Most home wins 32 2010-11
Most goals for 461 1982–83
Least goals for 140 2003–04
Least goals against 184 1972–73
Most goals against 460 1977–78
Individual player records for a single season
Statistic Player Total Season
Most goals Frank Banham 83 1995–96
Most assists Bruce Eakin 125 1981–82
Most points Bernie Federko 187 1975–76
Most points, rookie Lane Lambert 114 1981–82
Most points, defenceman Pat Price 95 1973–74
Best GAA (goalie) Ed Humphreys 2.57 1972–73
Goalies = minimum 1500 minutes played

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]