Wichita Falls Wildcats
The Wichita Falls Wildcats were a Tier II junior ice hockey team in the North American Hockey League's South Division. The Wildcats played out of the 7,380-seat Kay Yeager Coliseum in Wichita Falls, Texas. After failing to find a buyer, the Wildcats ceased operations for the 2017–18 season.
|Wichita Falls Wildcats|
|City||Wichita Falls, Texas|
|Founded||1993 (In the AFHL)|
|Home arena||Kay Yeager Coliseum|
|Colors||Black, Red, and White|
|Owner(s)||Roy Davoult, Alex Shnayderman|
|General manager||Paul Baxter|
|Head coach||Josh Nelson (interim)|
|2002–2004||Wichita Falls Rustlers|
|2004–2017||Wichita Falls Wildcats|
Previously known as the Wichita Falls Rustlers (and before this, the Butte Irish of Butte, Montana and the Vail Avalanche of Vail, Colorado), the franchise was a part of the American Frontier/America West Hockey League prior to 2003, and became an NAHL team after the two leagues merged for the 2003–04 season. The Irish, Rustlers, and Wildcats are technically three separate franchises, but with a major overlap of players and coaches between the organizations, they are often listed together as one.
After 13 seasons as the Wildcats, ownership had been trying to sell the franchise to keep it in Wichita Falls during the 2016–17 season. After failing to find a buyer, they announced they would not be operating the team in the 2017–18 season.
In 2018, there was an attempt to bring junior hockey back to Wichita Falls with the Wichita Falls Force, a team in the USA Central Hockey League, but the entire league folded after only six weeks of operation. The NAHL later announced a Wichita Falls expansion team for the 2020–21 season.
|Vail Avalanche (AFHL)|
|1994–95||Statistics unavailable||League Champions|
|Butte Irish (AFHL)|
|1996–97||60||38||17||5||81||264||181||N/A||2nd||Lost in Finals|
|1997–98||60||25||33||2||52||229||264||N/A||6th||Did not qualify|
|Butte Irish (AWHL)|
|1998–99||60||32||23||5||69||224||238||N/A||3rd||Lost in Semifinals|
|1999–00||58||23||32||3||49||205||263||1,283||6th||Lost in 1st Round|
|2000–01||60||6||51||3||15||166||345||1,969||8th||Lost in 1st Round|
|2001–02||56||21||28||7||49||214||240||N/A||8th||Lost in 1st Round|
|Wichita Falls Rustlers (AWHL)|
|2002–03||56||43||11||2||88||215||115||1,255||1st, South||Lost in Semifinals|
|Wichita Falls Rustlers (NAHL)|
|Wichita Falls Wildcats (NAHL)|
|2004–05||56||28||21||7||63||206||218||1,163||4th, South||Lost 1st Round, 0–3 vs. Texas Tornado||1,948|
|2005–06||58||26||28||4||56||171||189||1,045||4th, South||Lost 1st Round, 2–3 vs. Texas Tornado||1,987|
|2006–07||62||22||34||6||50||175||227||1,126||5th, South||Did not qualify||1,872|
|2007–08||58||38||18||2||78||221||181||1,715||3rd, South||Lost 1st Round, 1–3 vs. Fairbanks Ice Dogs||1,890|
|2008–09||58||24||25||9||57||163||203||1,695||3rd, South||Lost 1st Round, 2–3 vs. Topeka RoadRunners||1,826|
|2009–10||58||18||34||6||42||175||251||1,530||5th, South||Did not qualify||1,907|
|2010–11||58||26||27||5||57||189||190||1,527||4th, South||Lost Div. Semifinals, 2–3 vs. Topeka RoadRunners||1,894|
|2011–12||60||20||35||5||45||149||204||1.134||6th, South||Did not qualify||2,038|
|2012–13||60||26||30||4||56||183||200||955||5th, South||Did not qualify||1,895|
|2013–14||60||31||25||4||66||170||157||1,170||4th, South||Lost Div. Semifinals, 0–3 vs. Amarillo||1,506|
|2014–15||60||39||16||5||83||242||182||858||3rd, South||Won Play-in series, 2–0 vs. Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees|
Lost 1st Round, 1–3 vs. Topeka RoadRunners
|2015–16||60||44||11||5||93||224||141||1,093||1st, South||Won Div. Semifinals, 3–0 vs. Odessa Jackalopes|
Won Div. Finals, 3–0 vs. Topeka RoadRunners
Won Robertson Cup Semifinals, 2–0 vs. Bismarck Bobcats
Lost Robertson Cup Championship Game, 0–2 vs. Fairbanks Ice Dogs
|2016–17||60||29||24||7||65||187||203||1,672||4th, South||Lost Div. Semifinals, 0–3 vs. Lone Star Brahmas||1,086|
- Andrew Conboy – drafted by the Montreal Canadiens (NHL) in 2007
- Chad Costello – ECHL Most Valuable Player in 2011–12, 2015–16, and 2016–17.
- Evan Cowley – drafted by Florida Panthers (NHL) in 2013
- Cal Heeter – played one game with the Philadelphia Flyers (NHL)
- Tucker Poolman – drafted by the Winnipeg Jets (NHL) in 2013
- Dan Sexton – played for the Anaheim Ducks (NHL) and several teams in the Kontinental Hockey League
- Zach Trotman – drafted by the Boston Bruins (NHL) in 2010; has played for the Bruins and Pittsburgh Penguins
- "Wildcats' season ends with 4-3 overtime loss". Times Record News. April 22, 2017.
- "NAHL announces divisional alignment, events for 2017-18 season". NAHL. May 26, 2017.
- "NAHL Team in Wichita Falls, Texas Approved for the 2020-21 Season". OurSports Central. October 15, 2019.