Sports

Column: A change that worked

The Chilliwack Chiefs 1992-93 season was not a good one.

It started okay. At the 32 game mark they had won 16 games. Certainly not up to the standards of the previous two editions of the Chiefs, but respectable and it looked like the team would at least make the playoffs.

Then it all fell apart. They won four of their remaining 28 games and finished well out of the playoffs. The lowlight of that season came on Mar. 3 when the Chiefs were defeated 22-3 in Penticton. Current Chiefs assistant coach Doug Ast was on that team. If you get the chance, ask him about it.

He loves talking about it.

He also claims he doesn’t know what his plus-minus was in that game.

I shouldn’t chirp him though. He did score two of the three Chiefs goals that night.

It was time for a change and that change was the hiring of Harvey Smyl.

This year is Harvey’s 20th behind the Chiefs bench and the team has made the playoffs in each of those 20 years. That’s the longest streak in the BCHL.

This year’s playoffs will start on Mar. 15. For Coastal conference teams including the Chiefs, the first two rounds will unfortunately (in my opinion) be best-of-five series. Should a team go the five game distance in each of the first two rounds, they will have played 10 games in 13 days.

We don’t know for sure who the Chiefs will play in the first round and they have not yet clinched home ice, but that could happen this weekend.

The most likely scenario has the Chiefs finishing second in the Mainland division and having home ice versus the Prince George Spruce Kings. But mathematically the Chiefs could still move up to first or drop down to third.

A first round series versus Prince George would be entertaining. Despite the Chiefs having won six of seven games against them this season, the two teams are fairly evenly matched. Only one of those games was really one sided, a 6-0 Chiefs win in Prince George.

The Langley Rivermen will likely finish fourth, but mathematically they could still move up to third or finish out of the playoffs. The Chiefs will play the Rivermen four times in their last six games of the season.

For the Chiefs to catch the Surrey Eagles and finish first, they are going to have to win at least three of those four games.

Despite Langley’s sub .500 record, that will not be easy. The Rivermen have a good power play, good penalty killing and they can score goals. Their weakness has been allowing goals but they’ve been getting better in that regard.

This weekend the Chiefs are in Langley Friday night before returning to home ice to host Prince George Saturday.

 

jb@chilliwackchiefs.net

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