Renewing historic BCHL rivalry

Chiliwack Chiefs, BCHL

Each week, local hockey guru Jacob Bestebroer provides his thoughts on the Chilliwack Chiefs and the latest from the BCHL.

This week, Bestebroer looks at the rekindling of a rivalry that was once the talk of the junior A circuit.

 

What was once one of the best rivalries in junior hockey will be rekindled Friday night in Vernon.

While it may have never reached the heights of rivalries like Boston Red Sox versus New York Yankees, Montreal Canadiens versus Toronto Maple Leafs, Ginger versus Maryanne or Rosie O’Donnell vs Donald Trump, the Chilliwack Chiefs versus the Vernon Lakers/Vipers was once one of the best rivalries in junior hockey.

It goes back to 1990 when the Richmond Sockeyes moved to Chilliwack to become the Chiefs.

Chiefs spent their first four seasons in the Interior Division with Vernon who were then known as the Lakers. During those four years the two teams faced off against each other 40 times during the regular season with the Chiefs winning 16 of those 40 games.

They also met twice in the playoffs, in 1991 and 1992, with the Lakers winning both of those second round series in six games.

Keep in mind back then the games in both cities were played in small arenas where the fans were right on top of the players. If you were there, you know how special it was.

The Chiefs then moved out of the Interior conference and  the teams met just two or three times during the regular season from that point on. Despite that the rivalry hit new heights when the teams met in the BCHL finals four times in a five year span beginning in 1999.  The teams split those series, with the Chiefs winning in 2000 and 2002 and the Vipers being crowned champions in 1999 and 2003.

It may take a bit for this rivalry to heat up again but I have no doubt that it will.

It’s likely the fan bases of both teams will fuel the fire.

There are many fans in both cities who remember the early 90’s when the Chiefs with Joey Potskin and Marc Gagnon, and the Lakers with Scott Longstaff and Dusty McClellan would entertain us with games that ended with scores like 9-8 and 10-7.

Fans a little younger will remember the four final series and watching players like Jeremy Jackson, Jeff Tambellini and Gabe Gauthier leading the Chiefs to two final series wins over the Vipers.

During the last five seasons, while the Chiefs were absent from Chilliwack, the Vipers were the class of the BCHL. They’ve won the last three league championships and claimed national championships in 2009 and 2010.

The Vipers are also the Chiefs next home opponent on Oct. 14.  Both teams have great fan support and many of these fans will remember the days when a Chilliwack versus Vernon game was a must see event.

I think it still is.

 

jb@chilliwackchiefs.net

Just Posted

Chilliwack launches study to evaluate seniors’ housing needs

Goal is to create diverse supply of safe, affordable housing for 55+ in Chilliwack

Sardis secondary alumni rally behind Sardis Strongman event

This year marks the 21st annual competition for students and fifth annual gathering of Sardis alums.

WATCH: All About Kids and Family Expo in Chilliwack

Fifth annual event had dozens of vendors for both children and adults at Chilliwack Heritage Park

PHOTOS: Spirit of the People Powwow in Chilliwack

Family Day weekend powwow a colourful, vivid celebration of Indigenous culture

ACES grows the love of gardening with annual seed exchange

The event will be returning to Harrison Mills Community Hall on March 1

‘Riya was a dreamer’: Mother of slain 11-year-old Ontario girl heartbroken

Her father, Roopesh Rajkumar, 41, was arrested some 130 kilometres away

CRTC: Telecom industry using unacceptable sales tactics

Regulator held inquiry on sales practices of 12 Canadian providers of wireless and internet services

CRTC report finds ‘misleading, aggressive’ sales tactics used by telecom industry

Report recommends measures to make a fairer situation for consumers

Trudeau takes personal hit amid SNC-Lavalin controversy: poll

Overall, 41 per cent of respondents believed the prime minister had done something wrong in the affair

B.C. photographer captures otters on ice

A Langley photographer was at the right place at the right time on the Fraser River

Do you live with your partner? More and more Canadians don’t

Statistics Canada shows fewer couples live together than did a decade ago

B.C. child killer denied mandatory outings from psychiatric hospital

The B.C. Review Board decision kept things status quo for Allan Schoenborn

Searchers return to avalanche-prone peak in Vancouver to look for snowshoer

North Shore Rescue, Canadian Avalanche Rescue Dog teams and personnel will be on Mt. Seymour

5 to start your day

The B.C. government released it’s 2019 budget, we break down snow removal per capita and more

Most Read