Wenatchee Wild join the Western Hockey League
You’ve probably heard the news breaking across the Pacific Northwest and all of Western Canada: The Wenatchee Wild have joined the WHL - The Western Hockey League.
Newsradio 560 KPQ broke the news this morning that Wild’s owner, David White purchased the Winnipeg Ice. We, the hockey fans of the Wenatchee Valley will be seeing an even higher tier of hockey this fall.
Wenatchee, a 2022-23 member of the BCHL, will be inheriting a team that finished first in the WHL’s Eastern Division. They edged out the Seattle Thunderbirds (1st in the U.S. Division standings) for best overall record in the 2022-23 season. Those two teams eventually met in the WHL finals, with Seattle winning the Ed Chynoweth Cup - 4 games to 1.
Seattle got to the 2023 Memorial Cup final, losing to the Quebec Remparts, 5-0.
Even with Winnipeg's success on the ice, the WHL wasn’t happy with Winnipeg’s small ice arena. The Ice’s Wayne Fleming Arena’s seating capacity is listed as 1,400.
Multiple attempts by the ICE ownership to construct an arena facility of acceptable WHL standards in Winnipeg, based on the agreed upon timeframes, were unsuccessful, leading to the relocation to Wenatchee. -WHL
The franchise moves to Wenatchee’s Town Toyota Center, with a full house capacity of 4,300.
Here’s how the announcement was given to the Ice fans in Winnipeg:
Winnipeg, MB. – The Winnipeg ICE announced today that the ICE franchise has been sold and relocated to Wenatchee, Wash. and will operate under the new ownership of David White of the California-based Shoot the Puck Foundation.
The sale and relocation of the Winnipeg franchise has received the approval of the WHL Board of Governors and is effective immediately.
The ICE would like to thank the fans, players, staff, billets, community and business partners for their support and engagement with the team. In addition, the ICE express thanks and gratitude to Shaftesbury High School and the University of Manitoba for their partnership over the last 4 years. - WinnipegIce.ca
What to know about the WHL
Teams and divisions: 22 teams are broken into four divisions.
The Wenatchee Wild’s Division: The WHL U.S. Division: Wenatchee Wild, Seattle Thunderbirds, Everett Silvertips, Portland Winterhawks, Tri-City Americans, Spokane Chiefs
Points: Teams are awarded 2 points for a win (regulation or overtime), 1 point for an overtime loss and 0 points for a regulation loss.
Schedule: 68 games, 34 at home and 34 away.
INFO: WHL.ca, WinnipegIce.ca
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