Seattle’s Brad Lambert and the rest of the Thunderbirds will play the Kamloops Blazers for the WHL Western Conference title in a best-of-seven series starting April 29. COURTESY PHOTO, Brian Liesse, Seattle Thunderbirds

Seattle’s Brad Lambert and the rest of the Thunderbirds will play the Kamloops Blazers for the WHL Western Conference title in a best-of-seven series starting April 29. COURTESY PHOTO, Brian Liesse, Seattle Thunderbirds

Kent-based Thunderbirds to play Kamloops Blazers in Western Conference finals

Best-of-seven series rematch from last season starts April 29 at ShoWare Center

The Kent-based Seattle Thunderbirds will play the Kamloops Blazers for the second consecutive year in the Western Hockey League (WHL) Western Conference Championship best-of-seven series.

Both teams went 8-0 in the first two rounds of the playoffs to set up the rematch. Seattle swept the Kelowna Rockets and Prince George Cougars. Kamloops swept the Vancouver Giants and Portland Winterhawks.

The first two games are Saturday and Sunday, April 29-30 at the accesso ShoWare Center in Kent. The series then moves to British Columbia for games three and four. The winner of the series advances to play the Eastern Conference champion for the WHL title.

Seattle won the series in seven games last year over Kamloops. The T-Birds then lost to the Edmonton Oil Kings in the WHL Championship series.

Ten players from Canada’s gold medal-winning entry at the 2023 International Ice Hockey Federation World Junior Championship will be featured in the series, including golden goal scorer Dylan Guenther and starting goaltender Thomas Milic of the T-Birds and Blazers defenseman Olen Zellweger, who became the first WHL defenseman in six years to crack the 30-goal mark during the regular season, according to the WHL website.

The series also will feature 19 players taken in NHL drafts, 10 on the T-Birds and nine on Kamloops. Nine were selected in the first two rounds. Another eight players are listed on the NHL Central Scouting Final Rankings ahead of the 2023 NHL Draft, including both No. 1 goalies in Milic and Dylan Ernst.

Seattle and Kamloops split their four games during the regular season, two of which went into overtime.

Tickets for the ShoWare Center games are $66 for glass, $54 for club, $41 for center ice, $36 for north end or south end, and $26 for north zone. Tickets are available at seattlethunderbirds.com.

Playoff schedule

• April 29, Kamloops at Seattle, 6:05 p.m.

• April 30, Kamloops at Seattle, 5:05 p.m.

• May 2, Seattle at Kamloops, 7 p.m.

• May 4, Seattle at Kamloops, 7 p.m.

• May 6, Kamloops at Seattle, 6:05 p.m.*

• May 8, Seattle at Kamloops, 7 p.m.*

• May 9, Kamloops at Seattle, 7:05 p.m.*

* – if necessary


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