The BCHL has added a new playoff trophy named after a Chilliwack Chiefs legend.
The Jeff Tambellini Trophy will be given annually to the postseason MVP. The winner will be determined by the league’s Competition Committee and the trophy will be handed out during the Fred Page Cup presentation, following the clinching game of the league finals.
“It’s a big honour, and I’m very humbled,” he said. “There have been so many outstanding players and champions over numerous years in the BCHL, so to be named on that trophy is special to me. Having the ability to play in the playoffs and have a chance to win (the Fred Page Cup) with the Chilliwack Chiefs was a big honour. It’s something I don’t take for granted.”
Tambellini, originally from Port Moody, was a driving force behind the Chiefs 2002 championship team, posting 17 goals and 19 assists in just 19 games for a nearly two-points-per-game average. His Chiefs beat the Vernon Vipers in six games for the league title. That year, he was the Coastal Conference winner of the Most Valuable Player award as well as a co-winner of the Brett Hull Trophy for BCHL leading scorer with 117 points in 54 games.
Following his BCHL career, he played three years at the University of Michigan, piling up 129 points in 124 games. He was drafted 27th overall by the Los Angeles Kings in the 2003 National Hockey League entry draft and went on to play six years in the NHL with the Kings, New York Islanders and Vancouver Canucks.
Tambellini finished the last six years of his 12-year pro career in Europe, split between Switzerland and Sweden, save for one year back in North America in the American Hockey League.
He returned to the BCHL to run the Smoke Eaters in 2018-19 before moving on to an NCAA recruiting position with the Tampa Bay Lightning, where he won two Stanley Cups.