Reid Schaefer is one of the reasons the Seattle Thunderbirds received the No. 3 preseason ranking in the Canadian Hockey League. COURTESY FILE PHOTO, Brian Liesse, Seattle Thunderbirds

Reid Schaefer is one of the reasons the Seattle Thunderbirds received the No. 3 preseason ranking in the Canadian Hockey League. COURTESY FILE PHOTO, Brian Liesse, Seattle Thunderbirds

Kent-based Seattle Thunderbirds ranked No. 3 in CHL

Team returns two NHL Draft first-round picks and adds high-scoring veteran from Saskatoon

The Kent-based Seattle Thunderbirds received the No. 3 preseason ranking in the 60-team Canadian Hockey League (CHL).

The No. 1 Winnipeg ICE and No. 2 Quebec Remparts were the only junior hockey teams ranked above the T-Birds in the Sept. 20 Kia CHL Top 10 Rankings preseason edition for the 2022-2023 season.

Seattle, which won the Western Hockey League (WHL) Western Conference title in 2022, opens the season Sept. 23 at the Vancouver Giants in Langley, British Columbia. The T-Birds are then off for a week prior to their home opener at 6:05 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 1 against Vancouver at the accesso ShoWare Center.

The rankings were selected with input from NHL Central Scouting. The Quebec Major Junior Hockey League opens its regular season Thursday, Sept. 15, the WHL on Sept. 23 and the Ontario Hockey League begins Sept. 29. The CHL features players ages 16 to 20 with the top talent moving on to the NHL.

The T-Birds made impressive strides a year ago and now look to make the next step following an offseason makeover highlighted by the addition of veteran talent Kyle Crnkovic from Saskatoon, according to chl.ca. Finishing fifth in league scoring last season with 94 points, Crnkovic joins an offensive nucleus in Seattle that also counts left-wing Reid Schaefer (Edmonton Oilers) and defenseman Kevin Korchinski (Chicago Blackhawks), both 2022 NHL Draft first rounders, the latter who a year ago led all WHL freshmen rearguards with 65 points.

Seattle lost to the Edmonton Oilers last season in the WHL Championship series. The T-Birds beat the Kamloops Blazers for the Western Conference title.

Kamloops is ranked No. 5 in the preseason poll. Led by Dallas Stars up-and-comer and 2021-22 CHL Player of the Year Logan Stankoven, the Blazers bring a well-rounded lineup heavy with star power that has earned recognition on the national stage, like New York Rangers draftee and 2021-22 CHL Goaltender of the Year Dylan Garand, according to chl.ca.

Seattle plays Kamploops three times in the regular season, Nov. 9 on the road and March 7 and March 21 in Kent.

Kia CHL Top-10 Rankings

Preseason

1. Winnipeg ICE

2. Quebec Remparts

3. Seattle Thunderbirds

4. Guelph Storm

5. Kamloops Blazers

6. Gatineau Olympiques

7. Flint Firebirds

8. Mississauga Steelheads

9. Sherbrooke Phoenix

10. Moose Jaw Warriors

HM. Owen Sound Attack

HM. Halifax Mooseheads

HM. Portland Winterhawks


Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing editor@kentreporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.kentreporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) Please keep letters to 300 words or less.

More in Sports

Kentwood swimmer in the fly section of the IM race. Ben Ray / The Reporter
Kentwood and Kentridge record points at state swim

Swimmer and diver recorded points at the King County Aquatic Center.

Oksana Galiant face-to-face with her opponent in the state championship. Ben Ray / The Reporter
Mat Classic XXXV breakdown: Kent School District

Kentwood’s Wright and Kent-Meridian’s Galiant just miss titles.

t
Kent Reporter Male Athlete of the Week: Tyler Lopez

Lopez is a natural born leader and has a bright future ahead of him.

t
Kent Reporter Female Athlete of the Week: Liliana Delgado Hernandez

Delgado Hernandez has a fearless and positive attitude.

Sophomore Brandon Tagle drives to the hoop in the second half. Ben Ray / The Reporter
Kentwood boys basketball makes state for first time since 2020

Conks needed an extra quarter to get past SPSL champs Sumner on the road.

Royal 165-pound wrestler Jessie Neff pins his opponent early in the tournament. Ben Ray / The Reporter
Wrestling: Kent-Meridian sends eight to state

Royals took second in the district tournament at Todd Beamer.

3A NPSL MVP Jaylen Petty dunks the ball against Lincoln in the first round of the playoffs. Ben Ray / The Reporter
NPSL All League basketball awards announced

Auburn, Kent and Federal Way school districts represented.

A halftime show consisted of a performance from the Kentridge unified dance team between the second and third games of the night. Ben Ray / The Reporter
Pack the Gym is a celebration of community

Unified basketball brings three Kent schools together.

Courtesy Photo
Kent Reporter Male Athlete of the Week: Schuyler Wright

Wright is one of the hardest workers on the Conk team.

t
Kent Reporter Female Athletes of the Week: Ness Votiesek and Kiele Vaisese

Votisek and Vaisese are making a difference for the Kentwood unified team.

t
Kent-based T-Birds goalie Ratzlaff chosen WHL Goaltender of the Week

Goalie stopped 62 of 63 shots in victory over Everett Silvertips

Junior Kaylee Guiles finds a hole in against Kent-Meridian. Ben Ray / The Reporter
Kent’s girls flag football teams make solid first impression

Kentlake reigns supreme, sitting at 2-0 after the first two games of the season.