Seattle Thunderbirds win the Championship


Faith Smith, Community

The Seattle Thunderbirds are a major junior hockey league team that calls the Accesso ShoWare Center in Kent home ice. The Thunderbirds were founded in 1977 as the Seattle Breakers, but after the 1984-85 season, the Breakers were sold and renamed the Seattle Thunderbirds. Since the start of the Seattle Thunderbirds, they have had three US Division championships, two Western Hockey League championships, and four Western Conference League championships. The only number ever retired by the Seattle Thunderbirds has been number 10, belonging to former player Glen Goodall. Goodall set the WHL record for games played (399), goals scored (262), assists (311), and points (573). He still holds the records for goals, assists, and points in the Seattle Thunderbirds’ history. The Thunderbirds have a large fan base and continually draw some of the highest attendance numbers in the WHL on a yearly basis at the ShoWare Center.

10 of the 37 players are set to be drafted for various NHL teams in the coming season, including Brad Lambert, Jordan Gustafson, Reid Schaefer, Jared Davidson, Colton Dach, Lucas Ciona, Dylan Guenther, Nolan Allan, Luke Prokop, and Kevin Korchinski. Although not all players get drafted, there is a good future for them. The league operates a scholarship program that offers one full year of tuition, textbooks, and compulsory fees for each season they play in the WHL. Each team has an academic adviser to help monitor the grades of the players still in high school. Canadian universities and colleges recruit extensively from the WHL, allowing graduating players the opportunity to continue playing hockey as they attend post-secondary institutions.

Since the beginning of the season, the Seattle Thunderbirds have been preparing to win the Ed Chynoweth Cup and earn the title of 2022-2023 WHL Champions. They started their season well, winning the first nine games. Overall they played 68 games in the regular season, winning 55. Helping to backstop the Thunderbirds to the second WHL crown in franchise history was 2023 NHL Draft prospect Thomas Milic. The World Juniors gold medallist was named WHL Goaltender of the Year for his regular season performance, and he carried that over to the postseason, leading the WHL in all major goaltending categories, including goals-against average (1.95), save percentage (0.933), and wins (16). 

In their two previous appearances at a Memorial Cup, Seattle’s best result came in 1992 when as hosts, they lost in the semi-final to Kamloops 8-3. Although the Thunderbirds gave it their all to try and win the 2023 Memorial Cup, they fell short in the finals when they played the Quebec Remparts. They lost 0-5 after a tough but exciting game played at the Sandman Centre in Kamloops, BC. To read more about this year’s Memorial Cup teams, visit the CHL site below.



CHL. “Memorial Cup.” Post, 2023, Accessed 06 June 2023.

CHL. “Memorial Cup.” Post, Accessed 06 June 2023.

CHL. “Thunderbirds Claim Second WHL Title.” CHL, 20 May 2023, Accessed 06 June 2023.

CHL. “Tournament Field Now Set for 2023 Memorial Cup.” CHL, 22 May 2023, Accessed 06 June 2023.

“T-Birds Are Champions Again!” Post, 20 May 2023, Accessed 06 June 2023.