Now that the season has come to an end, I feel it is necessary to provide my thoughts on the 2019-20 Chilliwack Chiefs season on behalf of myself and our staff here at the Chilliwack Coliseum. First and foremost, I want to thank our fans, and the community of Chilliwack for their fantastic support from start to finish this year. Not only did we feel your support in our home rink, we also heard your “Go Chiefs Go” chants in other arenas in our league. I cannot tell you how much this means to me, our staff, and our players. Your devotion to our team is something that is not lost on us. You are a massive part of the positive direction our organization is moving in. To our volunteer staff, and our educational advisers, you are such an integral piece to the day-to-day operations of the Chilliwack Chiefs Hockey Club. To our sponsors, season ticket members, and community partners, thank you for your commitment to helping us achieve our goals. To our training staff at Club XO, thank you for your commitment to teaching our players the importance and value of their off-ice habits. To our billet families, thank you for bringing our boys into your homes and treating them like one of your own. No words can quantify how much all of your efforts and support mean to us.
As a competitive person, and the coach of a storied franchise like the Chiefs, winning is something that is very important to me. Part of our vision and plan that is more important is the development of young people on and off the ice. Although last night didn’t end the way we all wanted it to, I know in my heart that each and every member of our team grew as players this season, and more importantly as young men. We are extremely fortunate here in Chilliwack to have an ownership group that is committed to the exact same vision that we are. Our ownership provides our players a platform to take their game to the next level, and spares no expense with regards to giving our players everything they need to have success in our great community and on the ice. For this, we are extremely fortunate. For our staff, we will always believe that player development trumps winning. We take an immense amount of pride in the personal growth of our players. We bring young players here to secure NCAA scholarships, learn what is expected to play the game at an elite level, to be valued members of our community, and most importantly to learn what it is to be a professional and a role-model on and off the ice. Our roster (one of, if not the youngest in the BCHL) at the end of the season had an incredible 17 players with NCAA scholarships and counting. We have seen veteran Chiefs players like Mathieu Caron (Brown), Brody Gagno (Quinnipiac), Brett Rylance (Northern Michigan), and Nathan Kelly (Union) secure their NCAA futures during the 2019-20 season. We have witnessed the growth of exciting young prospects like 16-year old players Hudson Thornton and Peter Reynolds. We have seen the continued development of NHL Draft selections Nikita Nesterenko (Minnesota) and Cooper Moore (Detroit) as well as potential future NHL draft picks like Chilliwack native Ethan Bowen. Watching our team grow, and become a family this season has been as rewarding an experience as I have had in the game. It is my firm belief that if we continue on the track of developing elite players and elite people, the fans and community of Chilliwack will be rewarded with the ultimate goal: deep playoff runs, championships, and national championships. We appreciate your patience and commitment to our vision.
To our players, thank you for giving your very best this season. The way you approached every day was inspirational to me. Our team practiced hard, trained hard, spent the time going over video, got involved in the community, and were great ambassadors for our sport and the Chilliwack Chiefs. I am so very proud to have had the opportunity to work with all of you, and I cannot thank you enough for the commitment and pride you took in being a Chilliwack Chief this season. It has been a privilege getting to know all of you, and the great families that you come from. Your parents, grandparents, siblings, and other family members should all be very proud of the way you have grown as young men since you came to camp last August. Lastly, our three 1999 born players Trevor Adams, Davis Murray, and Brett Willits- thank you for being good teammates, leaders, and role models this season. Although your junior hockey career is over, you will always be able to look back fondly at the memories and bonds you have created.
We are building something special here in Chilliwack, this is just the beginning. Thank you all so much for your continued support and devotion to the Chilliwack Chiefs.
Head Coach and General Manager – Building Operations