Column: BCHL finals appearance a long time coming

Jacob Bestebroer expected the Chiefs to be in the mix every when they made their runs in the early 2000s. But it didn't happen that way.

I have a vivid memory of Wednesday, April 9, 2003. That evening the Chilliwack Chiefs lost 1-0 in Vernon. It was the last game of the 2003 BCHL finals that saw the Chiefs swept by the Vernon Vipers in four straight games.

I remember the post-game talk I had with fourth year Chief Tyson Terry who had just played his last game in a Chilliwack uniform. He was obviously upset but he also could not stop talking about how much he had enjoyed his time with the Chiefs. That time included three trips to the league finals (2000, 2002, 2003).

The Chiefs also made the league final the year before Tyson joined the Chiefs.

They played Vernon in each of those four finals series winning two (2000, 2002) and losing two.

My feeling that April 2003 evening was that league final appearances would continue to be the norm for the Chiefs.

Yeah not so much.

Thirteen years later they are back, making their sixth trip to the BCHL finals where they will face the West Kelowna Warriors.

In each of their first five appearances, which also includes beating the Powell River Kings in 1995, the final outcome was not a surprise. The favored team won each time.

I don’t think the favored team will win this time only because I can’t find any way to determine which team should be favored.

Chilliwack finished the regular season with 83 points. West Kelowna finished with 79.

Including the three meetings in the last round of the playoffs (yes they faced each other in the last round – the BCHL gets down to three teams then plays a double round robin to decide their two league finalists), each team has won twice and one game has ended in a tie.

Both teams have won in the other team’s building.

No matter how you look at it, these teams are very evenly matched.

While these two franchises have never faced each other in a best-of-seven playoff series, the two BCHL cities have. In one of the most memorable playoff series in Chiefs history, they knocked off the heavily favored Kelowna Spartans in seven games in the 1995 semi-finals. For those of you who weren’t around back then or want to rekindle your memory of it, I posted Chilliwack Progress articles from that series on the Chiefs Facebook page.

Another series like that between these two cities would be awesome and I think it has a good chance.

Tickets for tonight’s (Friday’s) game one at Prospera Centre are just 10 dollars. Game two goes Saturday, also in Chilliwack. Games three and four are Monday and Tuesday in West Kelowna. If needed games five and seven would be in Chilliwack Apr. 22 and 24. Game six would be in West Kelowna on Apr. 23.

You can listen to all the games online by following the link on the right side of the Chiefs home page. You can also watch all the games (pay per view) on www.fasthockey.com.

 

jb@chilliwackchiefs.net