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All-time Chilliwack Chiefs lineup


One of my fellow BCHLNetwork writers Jason Jhutti put out his all-time team for the Penticton Vees. In his conclusion, Jason mentioned that Penticton has no doubt the deepest lineup of any great BCHL team, so I said, “Challenge accepted!” The Chilliwack Chiefs all-time lineup follows the same criteria as the Vees, with each player having to play a minimum of 45 games for the team to be considered.

The Chiefs lineup might not have the NHL pedigree of the Penticton team, but if it was junior team vs. junior team, I think it would be very close in a seven-game series.

The forwards

The forwards are a range of speed, toughness, and scoring prowess.

Joey Potskin not only put the Chiefs on the map in their first season, but the team’s top scorer award is also named after him. 60 goals and 84 assists to go along with 156 penalty minutes make him a lock for this team.

Not only did Potskin have the skill and work ethic to play hockey, but he was part of the Atlanta Braves Major League Baseball organization for a bit before coming home to Prince George to play senior hockey for ex-BCHLer Win Winofsky.

The only Chiefs alumnus to have a long NHL career, Shawn Horcoff played 58 games in Chilliwack after coming over from Trail in an offseason trade. He had 49 goals and 96 assists for 149 points during the 1995-96 BCHL season.

Jeff Tambellini is arguably the most prolific Chiefs player of all time. He played 88 games in Chilliwack, getting 67 goals and 101 assists for 168 points. He also was named the Royal Bank Cup top scorer, MVP, and CJHL player of the year as well as winner of the Coastal Conference Vern Dye Memorial Trophy winner in 2002.

Of all of the players who have played in the last ten years for the Chiefs, Jordon Kawaguchi is probably the most accomplished. Playing 213 games with the Chiefs, Kawaguchi had 120 goals to set a team record. He added 122 assists for 242 points for a share of the Chiefs all-time points lead. He also captained the Chiefs for two seasons. Last season playing for the University of North Dakota, he named a finalist for the Hobey Baker Award as the top player in college hockey.

David Van Der Gulik played 116 games with the Chiefs and posted 80 goals and 100 assists. Not only was he a great goal scorer, but Van Der Gulik was also clutch in overtime situations. He notched the winning goal to give the Chiefs the Doyle Cup over Drayton Valley in 2002.

The other half of the shared all-time points lead, Doug Ast played 161 games with the Chiefs. Over his three seasons with Chilliwack, Ast had 101 goals and 141 assists for 242 points. Ast also captained the Chiefs for two seasons.

Gabe Gauthier chose the Chiefs over the Saskatoon Blades of the WHL back in 1999. It was the best choice he could have made. He played 141 games with the Chiefs and put up 234 points. Gauthier also helped lead the Chiefs to two Royal Bank Cup berths, including a bronze medal in 2000.

Matt Gibbons part of one of the best second-line units to wear a Chiefs jersey. Gibbons played 176 games with the Chiefs gaining 58 goals and 128 assists for 186 points.

Micah Sanford played 116 games with the Chiefs, but really made an impact in his second season of 2001-02.  In his first season, he had 13 goals and nine assists for 22 points. In his second season playing alongside Gibbons and Kaleb Betts, Sanford exploded for 105 points.

He also added 21 goals in the BCHL playoffs in 2002, which is a league record. Sanford was clutch in the playoffs.

Kevin Estrada came to the Chiefs as a 15-year-old and ended up playing 197 games. Over his four seasons, Estrada had 195 points, which is good enough for sixth all-time in team history. He also captained the team in 2000-01.

Brian Maloney came to the Chiefs from the Olds Grizzlys in 1997-98. He only played 87 games for the Chiefs but wound up with 44 goals and 87 assists and served as captain in 1998-99. He is now the head coach and general manager of the Chiefs.

Travis Banga was acquired by the Chiefs after a recommendation by fellow Albertan and former Olds teammate Maloney. Banga is third on the Chiefs all-time points list with 239 points. He captained the team in 1999-00.

The defense

The defense is a combo of toughness with an offensive side.

Bobby Henderson holds the Chiefs record for most games played with 222. He also holds the Chiefs record for penalty minutes with 772. He captained the Chiefs in 2002-03 and is now the head coach and general manager of the Langley Rivermen.

Brad McFaul was a sturdy, noble, stay at home defensemen who could crush you and take the puck away. McFaul played 131 games for the Chiefs. He had nine goals and 42 assists over his three seasons.

Dennis Cholowski was an offensive-minded defenseman who manned the power play and penalty kill. Cholowski played 101 games for the Chiefs with 67 points. He was drafted 20th overall in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft by the Detroit Red Wings, the highest selection ever for a Chiefs player.

Cory DeMoissac played 212 games for the Chiefs. He was a tough customer who put up 67 points and 521 penalty minutes. DeMoissac captained the Chiefs in 1997-98.

Trevor Hunt, along with his brother Garet, formed one of the best brother combos in Chiefs history. Hunt skated in 146 games for the Chiefs, scoring 84 points and posting 357 penalty minutes.

Nolan Julseth-White played a total of 120 games for his hometown Chiefs before skating in another 98 games when the franchise moved to Langley. He finished his BCHL career with 110 points in four seasons. The stay at home defensemen captained the Chiefs in 2005-06.

The goaltenders

These two are arguably the two best goalies in Chiefs history.

Mitch Gillam came to the Chiefs as a rookie in 2011. He played a total of 87 games in Chilliwack and finished with a 50-34-2 record and four shutouts. In 2012-13, Gillam won the Coastal Conference Vern Dye Memorial Trophy as MVP. He also was credited with a goal vs. Surrey during the 2013 Fred Page Cup playoffs.

Derek Janzen finished his Chiefs career with a 56-46-8 record and six shutouts. He played 114 games for the Chiefs in both Langley and Chilliwack from 2003-07. He also added nine assists during his BCHL career.

The coach

The only coach who should be considered for this spot is Harvey Smyl as he is the greatest bench boss in Chiefs history. Since taking over the Chiefs in 1993-94, Smyl only missed the playoffs once and won the Joe Tennant trophy as coach of the year three times. He also holds the BCHL record with four coach of the year awards. He has an all-time record of 710-452-15-77 during his 21-season career with the Chiefs franchise from 1993 to 2014.

The verdict

Penticton might have the most recognizable names on their roster in guys like Brett Hull, Ray Ferraro, Brendan Morrison, Tyson Jost, and Troy Stecher, but in this writer’s opinion, Chilliwack probably has the best all-around team.  If you were to put these two teams in a best-of-seven series, my bet is it would go the distance and the winner is a toss-up.