by Jacob Bestebroer
The Chilliwack Chiefs 2017 Home Opener, presented by Telus PureFibre is set for Friday September 15th when the Chiefs faceoff against the Langley Rivermen. Game time is 7pm.
The Chief and Rivermen faced in other in the first round of the playoffs last season with the Chiefs winning the series four games to two.
Prior to the game fans will be treated to samples courtesy of MR MIKES Steakhouse Casual.
The first 1,000 fans through the Prospera Centre Doors will receive a free Chiefs fridge magnet schedule.
Prior to the drop of the puck, the Chiefs along with Hockey Canada will raise the official RBC Cup Host Banner.
The Chiefs are also pleased to welcome Mayor Sharon Gaetz who will sing the national anthem as well as local band Judy Tuesday who will perform on the 89.5 The Drive stage presented by Tractorgrease.
Kids attending the game will be pleased to see the popular Stuffy Riders offering premium stuffy animal rides.
The Chiefs will also be unveiling several new promotions during the game including the Lakeside Beach Club Beach Towel Toss, the Pita Pit Minor Official of the Game, the Sticky’s Candy (Chilliwack location) score four for more and the Venom Painting Flex Cam.
Tickets for the game are now on sale at the Prospera Centre Box office or can be purchased online
After a not so great start to the season this past weekend in Prince George (more on that in a bit), the Chiefs will play their 23rd Chilliwack home opener Friday night at Prospera Centre versus the Langley Rivermen.
Of the first 22 home openers, all of which I’ve had the pleasure of attending, there are three that stand out to me.
The Chiefs first home opener was played on Saturday September 22nd, 1990. After two Chilliwack BCHL teams (Colts and Eagles) had failed miserably both on the ice an off, the Chiefs got off to an incredible start that night. Facing the Bellingham Ice Hawks (who are now the Trail Smoke Eaters), the Chiefs, led by Chiefs legends Joey Potskin and Marc Gagnon throttled the Ice Hawks 9-2 in front of more than 1900 fans who jammed the old Chilliwack Coliseum. Potskin and Gagnon both scored twice and added three assists, to set the team record that still stands for most point in a home opener.
Fourteen years later the Chiefs made their debut at Prospera Centre. 3,953 fans were in attendance to watch the Chiefs score their only overtime win in a home opener, a 3-2 decision over the Surrey Eagles. Peter Bogdanich scored the winner. This games remains the highest attended home opener.
After leaving Chilliwack for five seasons, the Chiefs returned in 2011. Not much was expected from the team. The opposite could be said for their opponent in that season’s home opener, the Penticton Vees. The Vees were a juggernaut. Later that season they won a BCHL record 42 straight games enroute to winning the national championship. Final score Chiefs 7 Vees 1. I think we need to remember that night when looking at the Chiefs start to this season, a tie and an 8-2 loss in Prince George.
Some other notes and stats from the first 22 seasons.
The Chiefs record in home openers is 12 wins, eight losses, one overtime loss and one shootout loss. They’ve scored 97 goals and allowed 77.
They’ve faced four teams that either no longer exist or have moved. In addition to the aforementioned Bellingham Ice Hawks, the Chiefs played the Kelowna Spartans in 1993 (1-0 loss), the Royal City Outlaws in 1994 (6-5 win) and the Quesnel Millionaires in 1996 (4-2 win).
They’ve played the Surrey Eagles in 12 home openers including nine straight beginning in 1997. They won seven of those games, losing four to go with an overtime loss.
Jeremy Jackson holds the team record for goals in a home opener when he scored four times in a 10-4 win over Surrey in 1999. Ten goals scored is also the team record. Jeff Royston is the only other player to record a home opener hat trick when he scored three times in a 6-3 win over Surrey in 2002.
David Spence holds the record for most saves (44) against the Millionaires in 1996.