Column: Retro jerseys remembering Rage

As Jacob Bestebroer writes in his latest column, the Chilliwack Chiefs will pay homage to one of their most successful squads this weekend.

This weekend the Chiefs will be doing something for the first time in 25 regular seasons.

They’ll play the same team, the Langley Rivermen, three times in three days.

The only home game of the three will be Saturday, sandwiched between visits to Langley Friday night and Sunday afternoon.

The weekend will begin with the teams occupying the top two spots in the BCHL’s Mainland division.

The Chiefs rank first with 46 points in 36 games. The Rivermen, coached by the Chiefs all time leader in games played (222) and penalty minutes (772) Bobby Henderson are just one point back, but they have played three more games.

The Chiefs lead the season series with two wins in the first three meetings.

The Chiefs will also be donning a different set of retro jerseys Saturday night.

It’s an interesting jersey, that goes by the name of ‘Rage.’

Looking at it now it’s hard to understand the decision process in deciding to switch from the original red white and blue jerseys to these back in 1998. But I absolutely love the look which is attributable to the success the team had wearing it.

It started with the first year they wore them, advancing to the BCHL finals in 1999 and knocking off a juggernaut Surrey Eagles team in the semi finals in what was the most thrilling playoff series the Chiefs have ever played in.

It continued the following season when they captured their second league championship and went on to finish third and the national championships in Fort McMurray Alberta.

Two years later they iced what was in my opinion the best Chiefs team of all time, the 2001-02 edition that went 46-10-1-3 during the regular season and won BCHL and Doyle Cup Championships. Their final record including all playoff games was 68-18-1-3.

They out-scored their opposition 341-213 during the regular season and 493-315 including playoffs.

Jeff Tambellini led the league with 117 points. Micah Sanford (105), Matt Gibbons (101) and David Van Der Gulik (100) joined him as members of the 100 point club. Gabe Gauthier sat out the final few games with an injury and finished with 99 points.

Three members of that team, Tambellini, Gauthier and Van Der Gulik went on to play in the NHL.

In 2003 those jerseys had one more league finals appearance in them. The final tally was seven seasons, four league finals appearances, two league championships and a Doyle Cup championship.

Yeah I like those jerseys just fine.

As part of this 25th anniversary season, fans will have the chance to vote for who they think will are the best Chiefs players of all time.

More details will be announced next week on both The Progress and the Chiefs website.

The list will start with 100 players and fan votes will help get that list down to 25 and then down to the final dream team of six.

I think we may see a rage jersey wearer or two on that final list.