The end result didn’t exactly meet with the Kelowna Chiefs’ on-ice expectations.
Still, an early playoff exit aside, general manager Grant Sheridan said it was another good year for the KIJHL club.
The Chiefs bowed out of the post-season on Saturday night, losing Game 7 of their first round playoff series 2-1 to the hometown Summerland Steam.
“It was a disappointing finish, but we were really happy with the team, the players that we had here and the support from the community,” Sheridan said. “Every game but one was a one-goal game, so a bounce here or a bounce there and who knows ? All in all, we’re happy.”
Under the guidance of first-year head coach Jason Tansem, the Chiefs finished third in the Okanagan Division, before taking the Steam a full seven games in the division semifinal.
It marked the end of the junior B careers of five Chiefs’ players—assistant captains Chase Astorino and Dylan Jamieson, Nick Josephs, Ethan Rusnack and Carter Melnyk.
Off the ice, the Chiefs continue to make gains both in the stands—averaging close to 300 fans this season—and in the community.
“Our goal has been to see the program grow a little each year and we’ve seen that,” Sheridan said. “The community and fan support is very good and we’re happy with the direction we’re headed. We have the philosophy of when we make a dollar, we spend a dollar to continue to moving the program forward, and keeping the momentum going.”
As is often the case, with graduation and the possibility of some players moving up to junior A, Sheridan expects the Chiefs will be rebuilding about half the team for next season.
Tansem is expected back as head coach, while the team has an open spot for an assistant.
The Chiefs will hold spring camps in Kitimat March 27 to 29, and in Kelowna from May 29 to 31.