2008-09 – Retooling and Rebuilding
The new Blazers ownership group put their stamp on the team. Former Blazer captain and Memorial Cup champion, Craig Bonner was hired as the team’s General Manager. He had won a Memorial Cup with the Vancouver Giants in 2007 and as a player with the Kamloops Blazers in 1992. The team also hired veteran Barry Smith as the team’s new Head Coach. The expectations for the hockey club were virtually unknown. It was obvious the Blazers were going through a complete makeover. The hockey club started the season slow winning only four of their first fourteen games. The team came around though and finished the season at .500 and in sixth place in the conference. C.J. Stretch, Tyler Shattock, Jimmy Bubnick and Shayne Wiebe all had breakout seasons scoring 25+ goals and contributing with 55+ points. Shattock and Bubnick were both selected in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft. The Blazers were major underdogs against the Kelowna Rockets in the first round of the playoffs. The hockey club lost game one and two in Kelowna 4-2 and 5-1. In game three the Blazers found themselves with a 2-0 lead midway through the third period. Somehow, the Rockets responded scoring with 5:55 to play and then the gut wrenching goal with only three seconds left on the clock. The Rockets went on to win in overtime and won game four 5-3 to devastate the Blazers once again. The focus turned to next year knowing most of the roster was set to return.
Team Record: 33-33-2-4, 3rd B.C. Division
Playoffs: Lost First Round (4 games to 0 vs. Kelowna)
Leading Regular Season Scorer: C.J. Stretch – 29 Goals, 57 Assists, 86 Points
Leading Playoff Scorer: Kenton Dulle – 5 Points
Notable Players: Tyler Shattock, Kenton Dulle, Shayne Wiebe, C.J. Stretch, Scott Wasden, Jimmy Bubnick