Saskatoon Blades

The Saskatoon Blades are a major junior ice hockey team playing in the Eastern Division of the Western Hockey League, formerly the Western Canadian Hockey League (WCHL). They are based in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, playing at the 15,195-seat SaskTel Centre.

Saskatoon Blades
CitySaskatoon, Saskatchewan
LeagueWestern Hockey League
ConferenceEastern
DivisionEast
Founded1964
Home arenaSaskTel Centre
ColoursRoyal blue and gold
         
Owner(s)Mike Priestner
General managerColin Priestner[1]
Head coachMitch Love
Websitewww.saskatoonblades.com

History

The Saskatoon Blades were founded in 1964 as part of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League (SJHL) and transferred leagues in 1966–67 with the foundation of the Canadian Major Junior Hockey League, which included the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) and Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL). The WCHL renamed itself the Western Hockey League in 1978 with the inclusion of some US based teams. Of the seven original WCHL franchises, the Blades are the only team to have never relocated or left the league (the Regina Pats returned to the SJHL from 1968 to 1970). Players ages range from 16 to 20 years of age, many of them still attending high school, and most come from other parts of Canada, the United States and Europe, to develop into potential professional National Hockey League prospects.

The Blades spent a number of seasons at the original Saskatoon Arena and there, developed many of the top professional players and coaches of their day, such as Bernie Federko, Wendel Clark, Mike Babcock and Brayden Schenn. In the early 1990s, the team was one of the strongest in the league and made it to the league finals twice, losing to the Kamloops Blazers in both 1992 and 1994. The Blades have not returned to the final round of the playoffs since despite several successful regular seasons, including winning the Scotty Munro Memorial Trophy in 2010–11 as the regular season champions. Since then playoff success has been rare, and as of 2016 the Blades have the longest playoff drought in the CHL, having not made the playoffs since 2013. The Blades also hold the dubious distinction of having the longest championship drought in the Canadian Hockey League, having never won the WHL Championship or Memorial Cup in their entire history.

The Blades were owned by the Brodsky family for 37 years[2] On August 27, 2013, the team was sold to Go Auto owner Mike Priestner for a reported $9 million.[3] Throughout their existence the team has had a fierce rivalry with the Prince Albert Raiders, although recently the team has placed more of a focus on its growing competition with Regina Pats. Before the start of the 2005–06 season, the Blades retired their long-time mascot Helmutt, an anthropomorphic dog whose name was a pun on the word helmet, in favor of a mascot that would appeal to younger fans. Helmutt was replaced by Poke Check, a yeti, at the Blades home opener that season. He has since remained the team's mascot, and also appears at community events throughout Saskatoon. Just before the 2017–18 season, the team brought back the "Pac-Man" logo and jersey with the gold and royal blue colours due to popular demand and the simple retro look.

Memorial Cup

The Saskatoon Blades have hosted the Memorial Cup twice in their existence. The first came in 1989, a year after the team began playing at Saskatchewan Place (now SaskTel Centre). As the host city they were allowed to play in the tournament independent of their season standing, and were joined in the competition by the WHL Champion Swift Current Broncos, OHL Champion Peterborough Petes and QMJHL Champion Laval Titan. In a surprising twist in the tournament the Blades finished first overall in the round robin with a 2–1 record, including a 5–4 victory over the Broncos, who had a 14-game undefeated streak dating back to the start of the WHL playoffs. Despite their unexpected strong performance and an automatic berth in the Cup Final, the Blades ultimately lost to the Broncos in overtime.

The Blades would again host the Memorial Cup in 2013, which included the Portland Winterhawks, London Knights and the eventual champion Halifax Mooseheads. The Blades finished the round robin with a 1–2 record (their lone win coming over the Mooseheads), and lost to the Knights in the tiebreaker. The Blades' goaltender, Andrey Makarov, won the Hap Emms Memorial Trophy as the outstanding goalie of the tournament.

Highlights

The Blades have the distinction as one of the longest running teams in Major Junior Hockey never to have won the league championship.

In the 2008–09 season, the Saskatoon Blades made history by tying a WHL record for most road wins in a single season (28) with the 1999–00 Calgary Hitmen. In that season, the Blades went on to win their first East Division Championship since 1994.

With a 5–3 win over the Brandon Wheat Kings on March 9, 2011, the Blades clinched first place in the Western Hockey League and earned themselves the Scotty Munro Memorial Trophy as the WHL's champion with the most points earned during the regular season. However, they lost out in the second round of the WHL playoffs.

During the 2012–13 season, the Blades broke a team record by winning 18 consecutive games from late January until early March.

NHL alumni

Bernie Federko is the only former Blade in the Hockey Hall of Fame.

Retired numbers

Coaches

*interim (regular head coach fired, sick or suspended)

Current roster

Updated December 9, 2019.[6]

# Nat Player Pos S/G Age Acquired Birthplace Drafted
16 Kyle Crnkovic LW L 17 2017 Chestermere, Alberta Eligible 2020
34 Colton Dach LW L 16 2018 Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta Eligible 2021
5 Aidan De La Gorgendiere D L 17 2017 Langley, British Columbia Eligible 2020
17 Eric Florchuk C L 19 2018 Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta 2018, 217th Overall, WSH
19 Zach Huber RW R 19 2018 Millarville, Alberta Undrafted
29 Majid Kaddoura D L 18 2017 Chestermere, Alberta Undrafted
41 Kjell Kjemhus LW L 18 2019 Grande Prairie, Alberta Undrafted
27 Nolan Kneen (A) D R 20 2018 Kelowna, British Columbia Undrafted
4 Radek Kucerik D L 17 2019 Kyjov, Czech Republic Eligible 2020
30 Koen MacInnes G L 17 2017 Burnaby, British Columbia Eligible 2020
73 Nolan Maier G L 18 2016 Yorkton, Saskatchewan Undrafted
39 Riley McKay (A) LW L 20 2018 Swan River, Manitoba Undrafted
Alex Morozoff LW L 18 2019 Saskatoon, Saskatchewan Undrafted
45 Braden Plaschewsky C L 17 2017 Calgary, Alberta Eligible 2020
11 Tristen Robins C R 18 2018 Brandon, Manitoba Eligible 2020
37 Randen Schmidt D L 19 2017 Regina, Saskatchewan Undrafted
24 Matthew Sanders D R 18 2019 Calgary, Alberta Undrafted
26 Spencer Shugre D L 16 2018 Point Roberts, Washington Eligible 2021
18 Matej Toman LW L 18 2019 Ceske Budejovice, Czech Republic Undrafted
6 Scott Walford (A) D L 20 2019 Coquitlam, British Columbia 2017, 68th Overall, MTL
9 Jayden Wiens C L 16 2018 Carrot River, Saskatchewan Eligible 2021
44 Chase Wouters (C) C R 19 2015 Lloydminster, Alberta Undrafted
47 Charlie Wright D L 16 2018 Olds, Alberta Eligible 2022

Season-by-season record

Note: GP = Games played, W = Wins, L = Losses, T = Ties, OTL = Overtime losses, Pts = Points, GF = Goals for, GA = Goals against

SeasonGP W L T OTLGF GA PointsFinishPlayoffs
1966–675625247288271575th OverallLost quarter-final
1967–686020319260362497th OverallLost quarter-final
1968–696024351195271493rd WestLost quarter-final
1969–706018411202282374th WestLost quarter-final
1970–716629361295299593rd WestLost quarter-final
1971–726837283312258772nd EastLost quarter-final
1972–73684611113231841031st EastLost final
1973–746830299283272694th EastLost quarter-final
1974–7570382210344244861st EastLost final
1975–7672431910390269961st EastLost final
1976–7772303012317290722nd EastLost preliminary round
1977–787220502340460424th EastOut of playoffs
1978–7972263214385398662nd EastLost East Division final
1979–807227405331382597th EastOut of playoffs
1980–817222473297427478th EastOut of playoffs
1981–827244262450343903rd EastLost East Division quarter-final
1982–8372521914673031051st EastLost East Division semi-final
1983–847236360347350727th EastOut of playoffs
1984–857229412309378606th EastLost East Division quarter-final
1985–867238286381360824th EastLost East Division semi-final
1986–877244262369282902nd EastLost East Division final
1987–887247223381294971st EastLost East Division final
1988–897242282366335862nd EastLost East Division final; Lost Memorial Cup final
1989–907233345325354714th EastLost East Division semi-final
1990–917229412309363607th EastOut of playoffs
1991–927238295315260813rd EastLost final
1992–937242273311236873rd EastLost East Division semi-final
1993–947249221326229991st EastLost final
1994–957241238324254903rd EastLost East Division semi-final
1995–967229421314351594th EastLost Eastern Conference quarter-final
1996–977218486227344426th EastOut of playoffs
1997–987225398263327584th EastLost Eastern Conference quarter-final
1998–997216497184291396th EastOut of playoffs
1999–0072342783216223792nd EastLost Eastern Conference semi-final
2000–0172194355193265485th EastOut of playoffs
2001–0272273753216257624th EastLost Eastern Conference quarter-final
2002–0372402750234205853rd EastLost Eastern Conference quarter-final
2003–0472752112140279275th EastOut of playoffs
2004–0572372366234215862nd EastLost Eastern Conference quarter-final
SeasonGP W L OTL SOLGF GA PointsFinishPlayoffs
2005–0672412524232217882nd EastLost Eastern Conference semi-final
2006–0772274122174231586th EastOut of playoffs
2007–0872293436182229675th EastOut of playoffs
2008–09724918322831951031st EastLost Eastern Conference quarter-final
2009–1072461934258227992nd EastLost Eastern Conference semi-final
2010–11725613123102131151st EastLost Eastern Conference semi-final
2011–1272402912268250832nd EastLost Eastern Conference quarter-final
2012–1372442224280221941st EastLost Eastern Conference quarter-final; Lost Memorial Cup tie-breaker game
2013–1472165123207317376th EastOut of playoffs
2014–1572194922195308426th EastOut of playoffs
2015–1672264240219318566th EastOut of playoffs
2016–1772283572190248655th EastOut of playoffs
2017–1872353331237276746th EastOut of playoffs
2018–1968451580259190982nd EastLost Eastern Conference semi-final

WHL Championship history

Team records

Team records for a single season
StatisticTotalSeason
Most points1152010–11
Most wins562010–11
Most road wins (Tied WHL record)282008–09
Most home wins322010–11
Most goals for4611982–83
Fewest goals for1402003–04
Fewest goals against1841972–73
Most goals against4601977–78
Individual player records for a single season
StatisticPlayerTotalSeason
Most goalsFrank Banham831995–96
Most assistsBruce Eakin1251981–82
Most pointsBernie Federko1871975–76
Most points, rookieLane Lambert1141981–82
Most points, defencemanPat Price951973–74
Best GAA (goalie)Ed Humphreys2.571972–73
Goalies = minimum 1500 minutes played

See also

References

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