Local hockey guru Jacob Bestebroer writes a weekly column in the Chilliwack Progress discussing the Chilliwack Chiefs and goings-on around the BCHL.
There is lots of positive news surrounding the Chiefs lately.
The team won both their games last weekend to run their winning streak to six games. They now sit first overall in the BCHL with a record of 16-5-1-1 and are in ninth place in the national rankings.
Only twice in their long history have the Chiefs won more than 16 times through their first 23 games. They won 19 of their first 23 at the start of the 1995-96 season and 17 times at the start of the 2001-02 season.
For me the most positive thing happening right now is the fan support the Chiefs are getting. The atmosphere at the last two home games (both with crowds of more than 2,500) was awesome. You can tell the players feed off the energy of the crowd.
Chiefs forward Josh Hansen continues to lead the league in goals with 18. That puts him on pace for 44 goals this season. If he can reach that number it would give him the second most goals in a season by a Chiefs player from Chilliwack, behind assistant coach Doug Ast’s 55 in 1994-94.
Goaltender Mitch Gillam leads the BCHL in save percentage (.935) and minutes played (1,153). Those are numbers that could, should he sustain them, win him the league MVP this year.
As good as he was last year, he has taken his game to another level this season.
His play has sparked a few ‘Is he the best Chiefs goalie of all time?’ discussions, and I think he is right there with Curtis Darling. Darling’s numbers are not as good as Gillam’s but during his two seasons here, beginning in 2002-03, the Chiefs were nowhere near as good defensively and there was no question he was the team’s MVP both those season.
Darling did do one thing Gillam hasn’t and that’s score a goal.
The Chiefs have two games this weekend against the Merritt Centennials, Friday in Merritt and Saturday at Prospera Centre.
If you haven’t been out to a Chiefs game yet, you can save a few dollars this Saturday by taking advantage of the promotion being run by Chilliwack Cash Mob.
Check the Chiefs website for all the details.
The annual Teddy Bear/Toque Toss will be held during the Chiefs home game versus the Trail Smoke Eaters on Dec. 2. Fans are encouraged to bring new stuffed animals or toques which they can throw on the ice after the Chiefs first goal. All animals and toques will be donated to Chilliwack Community Services.