2009-10 – Building for the Future
It was an exciting year for the Blazers as they were returning six of there top seven scorers, including four 25+ goal scorers. The hockey club felt like they could make a leap forward this season. The year started off great as the Blazers had a 7-1-2-0. The team hit a road block when they fell by a 12-5 score on home ice Thanksgiving Monday. From there, the Blazers headed out on their Eastern Division road trip and it was a disaster. The team won their first game, but ended up losing there next five games. At this point, the Blazers had been outshot and outplayed in almost every game. The GM, Craig Bonner felt a change was needed and dismissed Head Coach, Barry Smith. Assistant Coach Scott Ferguson was given the reigns on an interim basis until veteran NHL coach Guy Charron took over as the team’s Head Coach in mid-November. By the trade deadline the Blazers had sold most of their assets. The team traded away veterans Tyler Shattock, Zak Stebner, Jimmy Bubnick, Giffen Nyren and Shayne Wiebe. In return the Blazers acquired 18-year-old Chase Schaber and a pair of 17-year-olds in Jordan DePape and Austin Madaisky. Despite the moves, the Blazers had a strong second half of the season as Brendan Ranford proved to be a scoring threat while DePape, Schaber and Madaisky all excelled in Blazer colours. The agony of the playoffs continued against the Vancouver Giants in the first round. In game one the Blazers held a 3-1 advantage before the Giants tied it up to send the game to overtime. The Giants won it 33 seconds into overtime and cruised in game two for a 2-0 series lead heading to Kamloops. In game three, the Blazers again held a 4-3 third period lead, but the Giants tied it up and won in overtime. It was the same story in game four as the Blazers led 4-3 in the third period, but the Giants scored two goals in the final ten minutes for a 5-4 victory and a sweep of the series. The Blazers competed with their young team and were looking to take strides in 2010-11.
Team Record: 32-33-2-5, 3rd B.C. Division
Playoffs: Lost First Round (4 games to 0 vs. Vancouver)
Leading Regular Season Scorer: C.J. Stretch – 30 Goals, 51 Assists, 81 Points
Leading Playoff Scorer: C.J. Stretch – 7 Points
Notable Players: C.J. Stretch, Brendan Ranford, Ryan Funk, Kurtis Mucha, Bronson Maschmeyer