For the second consecutive season, a former Prince Albert Raider captain will hoist the Ed Chynoweth Cup as champion of the Western Hockey League.
Last season, Kaiden Guhle was a part of the Edmonton Oil Kings who won the WHL Championship.
Nolan Allan was named the Raider captain at the outset of the 2022-2023 season, but Allan would soon find himself in the Pacific Northwest as on Nov. 16 he was dealt to the Seattle Thunderbirds in exchange for a package of Easton Kovacs, Gabe Ludwig, Brayden Dube, a 2023 first round pick (used on Ty Meunier), a 2024 first round pick, a third round pick in 2024, a sixth round selection in 2025, a second round pick in 2026, and a conditional 2026 sixth round pick.
Allan also took home a gold medal with Team Canada at the 2023 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship in Halifax in December.
“It’s been awesome.” Allan said. “Two trophies that you dream about winning. The world junior one over Christmas was really special and just a really cool experience. Then to win out here, it’s something that our team here has been working towards all year. We knew kind of coming in that we’d be a contender, so, it’s definitely something that we wanted for sure.”
After the addition of Allan, the Thunderbirds would be the premier team in the Western Conference all year long finishing the season with a 54-11-2-3 record, good enough for 111 points.
In the playoffs, Seattle would win eight straight to start their postseason run sweeping the Kelowna Rockets and Prince George Cougars in the first two rounds. The Thunderbirds would need six games to eliminate the Memorial Cup host Kamloops Blazers in the Western Conference final.
Seattle would split the first two games of the WHL Championship series against the Winnipeg ICE, before winning all three games at home to win the Ed Chynoweth Cup in five games.
Allan says it was a special experience to win the championship in front of the home fans in Seattle.
“When it’s here in Seattle in front of a sold-out barn, it’s a crazy atmosphere in here and fans are going nuts. Fans support us all year and it’s special to win in front of our billets and families.”
Allan was not the only former Raider to participate in the 2023 WHL Championship Series. Both Vladislav Shilo and Carson Latimer suited up for the Winnipeg ICE after being acquired from the Raiders during the season.
Allan says he was able to reconnect with his old teammates after the series was completed.
“You feel bad for them in a way with them on the losing side. This is hard fought for them and they’re a good team over there and they played well.
“Going into the Memorial Cup, it’s every team’s goal to win it. They are all there for a reason. They’re all respective champs of their leagues. Kamloops is a very good host team as well, so everyone has a shot at winning it. That’s where our goals are. That’s where our focus is, taking that one step at a time and get a shot to win the championship.
The Seattle Thunderbirds open the Memorial Cup on Saturday, May 27 when they take on the Ontario Hockey League champion Peterborough Petes at 6 p.m. pacific time from the Sandman Centre in Kamloops, B.C.