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

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

(Pixabay photo)
Morning Start: Goosebumps helped scare off predators

Your morning start for Tuesday, June 15, 2021

(Dave Ogilvie photo)
One injured after being pinned by fallen forklift near Peachland

West Kelowna emergency crews responded to reports of a person stuck under a forklift

Two police vehicles were damaged and one person was arrested after police responded to a disturbance outside of a residence in Vernon on Friday, June 11, 2021, in the 2300 block of 36th Street. (Justin Ketterer - Contributed)
Kelowna man arrested after crashing into 2 Vernon cop cars

Man’s attempt to flee police fails Friday in residential neighbourhood

2021’s Westside Daze will be a mix of online and safe in-person events. (Westside Daze)
Westside Daze is back with a variety of safe events online and in-person

Last year’s Westside July celebrations were cancelled due to the pandemic

(Big White Ski Resort/Contributed)
Big White’s big clean-up: Large turnout for post-melt mountain tidy

More than 165 people showed up to help gather the litter left behind from the winter season

People watch a car burn during a riot following game 7 of the NHL Stanley Cup final in downtown Vancouver, B.C., in this June 15, 2011 photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Geoff Howe
10 years ago: Where were you during the 2011 Vancouver Stanley Cup Riots?

Smashed-in storefronts, looting, garbage can fires and overturned cars some of the damage remembered today

Children’s shoes and flowers are shown after being placed outside the Ontario legislature in Toronto on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Ontario commits $10 million to investigate burial sites at residential schools

Truth and Reconciliation Commission identified 12 locations of unmarked burial sites in Ontario

Two hundred and fifteen lights are placed on the lawn outside the Residential School in Kamloops, B.C., Saturday, June, 13, 2021. The remains of 215 children were discovered buried near the former Kamloops Indian Residential School earlier this month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Days after Kamloops remains discovery, Tk’emlups families gather to unite, move ahead

‘We have to work together because this is going to be setting a precedent for the rest of the country’

In this Saturday, May 29, 2021, file photo, people crowd the Santa Monica Pier in Santa Monica, Calif. California, the first state in America to put in place a coronavirus lockdown, is now turning a page on the pandemic. Most of California’s coronavirus restrictions will disappear Tuesday, June 15, 2021. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes, File)
With COVID tamed, it’s a ‘grand reopening’ in California

No more state rules on social distancing, no more limits on capacity, no more mandatory masks

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price (31) is scored on by Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Alec Martinez, not pictured, during the second period in Game 1 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup semifinal playoff series Monday, June 14, 2021, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Habs fall 4-1 to Vegas Golden Knights in Game 1 of NHL semifinal series

Match was Montreal’s first game outside of Canada in 2021

Penticton Overdose Prevention Society co-founders Desiree Franz, Shane Surowski and Stephanie Lines have created the city’s first unsanctioned public overdose prevention site using an old wine-tour bus. The site began operations in June 2021. (Desiree Franz/Facebook)
Volunteers launch Penticton’s first public supervised injection site

2021 is on pace to be the deadliest year for overdoses in Penticton on record

Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick, assistant deputy speaker at the B.C. legislature, presides over committee discussions. The legislature is completing its delayed spring session this week, with most MLAs participating by video conference. (Hansard TV)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 infections dip below 100 over weekend

Only 68 new cases recorded Monday, four additional deaths

B.C. ambulance station in Revelstoke is expected to get a new system called the Scheduled On-Call (SOC) this fall. (Liam Harrap - Revelstoke Review)
B.C. ambulance changes could put Revelstoke residents at risk, warn local paramedics

Paramedics said to expect a substantial increase in ambulance response time starting this fall

Most Read