The Kent-based Seattle Thunderbirds open the 2023-2024 season on the road Saturday, Sept. 23 against the Wenatchee Wild, the newest member of the Western Hockey League (WHL).
The T-Birds home opener is at 6:05 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 30 against the Portland Winterhawks at the accesso ShoWare Center. As of Sept. 19, the game was close to a sellout.
Seattle lost to Quebec in the Canadian Hockey League Memorial Cup champi0nship series last season, just the third time the franchise had advanced to the Memorial Cup, which the T-Birds have yet to win. Many of the players from that team won’t be back as they are too old for the league that features players ages 16 to 20.
But Seattle has a strong group of young players who are expected to keep the team competitive.
Wenatchee joined the WHL this season as the Winnipeg (Manitoba) Ice franchise was sold and relocated to Central Washington. The T-Birds beat Winnipeg in the WHL Championship Series last season.
Wenatchee has joined the U.S. Division that includes Seattle, Everett, Tri-Cities, Spokane and Portland.