The Kelowna Chiefs in the 2018 playoffs. Photo: Steve Dunsmoor/Dunsmoor Creative

Rutland rallies behind Chiefs impressive season

The Kelowna Chiefs will finish atop the KIJHL, and conclude season this weekend in Rutland

The Kelowna Chiefs are having their best seasons in the history of the franchise.

The Chiefs are the top team in the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League with 42 wins and only two regulation losses in the season and Kelowna is looking to win the league championships for the first time to repay the loyal Rutland fans.

“In Rutland, we’re so proud, and the Chiefs are Rutland’s team. Our record has been something I’d never believe in my wildest dreams,” said Kelowna Chiefs game day manager Alex Draper. “The people who follow us, they know our record, but when I tell people who don’t know, they look at you like ‘what did you just say?’ The support from Rutland has been record setting and unbelievable. It’s been fantastic.”

The Chiefs will conclude their season with two back-to-back games this weekend. With a win in either game, the Chiefs will clinch the top seed in the entire KIJHL and have home ice advantage throughout the playoffs. Kelowna will get only a few days of break before the KIJHL playoffs kick off Feb. 26. The Chiefs will either host Princeton or Osoyoos in the first round.

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Draper said that when the season started, the Chiefs had no idea they’d have such an incredible season.

“When the season started, my thoughts were just to start strong, and win the home opener. But we (started winning). It’s not the same team from last year, and the bar has been raised. We want to go into the playoffs on all cylinders.”

The Chiefs celebrate their last regular season home games starting Feb. 22 against a tough match from Revelstoke. The Chiefs will celebrate one of their Mental Health Day’s, where they recognize mental health advocates in the community and are also giving away a new Ford F-150 courtesy of Orchard Ford.

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