The Kelowna Chiefs enter the playoff as the number one seed after finishing first in the KIJHL this season. (Photo: Steve Dunsmoor/Dunsmoor Creative)

Rutland pride buoys Chiefs’ spirits heading into playoffs

The Chiefs secured the top seed in the KIJHL with win Feb. 23.

It’s almost playoff hockey time for local hockey fans.

The different leagues in the Kelowna area will start their post-seasons this week, or early March. And no other local team will start their playoff push with as much on the line as the Kelowna Chiefs, who finished first in the KIJHL this past weekend.

The Chiefs lost only two games in regulation time this year, and finished with a 43-2-1-2 record with 89 points.

The team has been sporting the “Straight Outta Rutland” mentality this season, and the fans have embraced it.

“It feels like old-time hockey in there with the old benches,” said Brent Stewart on the Chiefs’ fan experience at the Rutland Arena. “Everyone’s really excited about the Chiefs. (There’s) a strong sense of community in Rutland with the Chiefs, and the fact they’ve done well is an added bonus and has added to the excitement.”

RELATED: Kelowna-Lake Country MP returns from mission in Mali

The Chiefs will start their post season as the number one seed, and push towards winning the league championship, the Cyclone Taylor Cup, for the first time. The Chiefs start their playoff run against the Osoyoos Coyotes Feb. 26 and Feb. 27.

“We needed to finish at the top of the league because there were other teams so close,” said game day manager Alex Draper, “It was a good motivator for the guys to clinch (first place) in the second last game of the year.”

While the Coyotes finished near the bottom of the KIJHL, Draper knows they’ll still be a challenge for the Chiefs.

“They’re goaltending will be the toughest part. Their goalie keeps them in games,” said Draper.

While Rutland’s team may have a smaller fan base than some of the competition, the community has embraced the different type of experience the Chiefs provide for their fans.

Andrew Knops, who’s been working with the Chiefs for five seasons, starting as a water-boy, sees why the team gets its fans excited.

“The guys have been great this year, it’s really been amazing. They work hard and they gel together,” said Knops. “They’ve brought a lot to Rutland, and really bring with community together.”

Whether it’s the old-school vibe of the arena, the hard-hitting players, or the proud fans, the Kelowna Chiefs are sure to continue their embrace of the Rutland community through the playoffs and beyond.

To report a typo, email:
newstips@kelownacapnews.com
.


@KelownaCapNews
newstips@kelownacapnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Kelowna Rocket invited to Hockey Canada National Under-17 Development Camp

The 16-year-old was selected by the Rockets 18th overall at the 2018 WHL Bantam Draft

Kelowna RCMP serve up slices and support for Special Olympics B.C.

Last years inaugural campaign raised more than $12,000

Car window smashed with a bike in Kelowna

A staffer working in the area on the incident says vandalism is a reoccurring problem

Kelowna Mayor’s walking tour of Rutland cancelled

Growing issues surrounding supportive housing leads to rescheduled meeting with concerned resident

Kelowna RCMP net traffickers in undercover op

The RCMP reported dozens of arrests in the investigation

VIDEO: Killer whale steals fisherman’s catch off North Coast

Fishing duel results in eager orca snagging salmon in Prince Rupert

UPDATED: Highway 97 closed between Summerland and Penticton

Accident closes highway in both directions; reopening expected at 10 p.m.

Fate of accused in Canadian couple’s 1987 killings in jury’s hands

William Talbott’s lawyer says DNA doesn’t prove murder

Vernon artist featured at Kelowna exhibit

Mariel Belanger one of three female indigenous artists

Hergott: Moral obligations and your will

Lawyer Paul Hergott discusses wills and moral obligation

Child killed after being hit in driveway on Vancouver Island

The driver of the vehicle remained at the crash scene and is fully cooperating

Rain delays repair of Shuswap road damaged in mudslide

Seymour Arm forest service road not expected to reopen until early next week

Cat badly hurt in animal trap was likely stuck for days, B.C. owner says

Blu, a three-year-old house cat, suffered severe damage to his hind leg after being stuck in trap for days

Alleged Okanagan shoplifter tracked down by RCMP

Vernon retail store’s loss prevention officer’s description of suspect helps lead to arrest

Most Read