Players from the Kelowna Chiefs and Revelstoke Grizzlies battle for the puck in the KIJHL conference championships. Photo: Steve Dunsmoor/Dunsmoor Creative

Players from the Kelowna Chiefs and Revelstoke Grizzlies battle for the puck in the KIJHL conference championships. Photo: Steve Dunsmoor/Dunsmoor Creative

Rutland’s Chiefs fall short in playoff finals

The Kelowna Chiefs had a record breaking season, but lost in KIJHL conference championships

Close, but no cigar for the Kelowna Chiefs’ this season.

The Chiefs, who finished atop the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League with a record 43 wins in the regular season, were eliminated from the playoffs Wednesday night in a 3-1 loss to the Revelstoke Grizzlies in game six of the Okanagan Conference championships.

The proud team has had a strong community backing in Rutland throughout the season, proudly boasting the “Straight Outta Rutland” spirit all year.

The Chiefs organization recognized the fans’ season-long support.

READ MORE: Revelstoke Grizzlies to play Kimberly Dynamiters for KIJHL championship

READ MORE: Summerland Pee Wee Rep Jets win B.C. Provincials

“Every game we were up with (the number of fans). We had 700 rocking during the playoffs and the city really took the Chiefs to heart,” said Chiefs game day manager Alex Draper.

Draper said that despite the loss, they knew that the series against Revelstoke was going to define their season.

“We knew they were good going in, they had six losses to our four during the regular season,” he said.

“The team and our fans knew and waited all season for the (match-up), as we were two of the top teams in the league.”

Going into the off-season, the Chiefs will rest up while trying to recruit for next season, which has been made easier due to the success of the franchise this season.

“Kelowna Chiefs are on the map, it’ll be easier to recruit, and the goal (for next year) is always to bring home a championship,” said Draper.

READ MORE: Okanagan Premier League wraps inaugural season

With other Kelowna hockey teams, the West Kelowna Warriors and Kelowna Rockets, also being eliminated from their respective league playoffs earlier in March, the shift from hockey’s winter season to spring sports season has now officially begun with the Chiefs’ playoff loss.

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