Oklahoma City Blazers Hockey

Thunder Return

Blazers vs WIC they are baaack

 

 

The Thunder Return

The Thunder Return

Blazers Staff

The Oklahoma City Blazers will face off against a once familiar foe in OKC for the the first time in almost six years. Now members of the Western States Hockey League the Blazers and Thunder meet on an all new level. The two storied franchises, once members of the now defunct Central Hockey League were bitter enemies for years and created memories that will last a lifetime.

The two teams tangled in mid October, what were the Blazers first three games in franchise history with the visiting B’s winning all three games in Wichita. As it was years ago, a rowdy Thunder fan base was there with bells on to welcome back the Blazers and it was war from the drop of the puck. The Blazers won those three games by scores of 4-3, 5-1 and 4-3.
Although some of the players that suit up today are not familiar with the heated rivalry that once was one the most intense in minor pro hockey, the current coaches for each team are all too familiar with the tremendous history between Wichita and Oklahoma City.
Blazers head coach Tyler Fleck was a member of the CHL’s Blazers for 10 seasons and interestingly enough was voted the most hated player by Thunder fans in 2006. Wichita head coach Rob Weingartner was a constant thorn in the Blazers side for years as was assistant coach for the Jr Thunder, Sean “The Junkyard Dog” O’Reilly. Blazers assistant coaches Marco Cefalo and Marty Standish also played huge roles in rivalry as the years went by also.
Now Fleck, Cefalo, Standish and the Blazers battle Weingartner, O’Reilly and the Jr Thunder in all new rivalry that will soon become one of the better rivalries in the WSHL.
The Jr Thunder have come on hot lately going 4-1-1 in their last 6 games. Wichita was able to take 3 of six points from the visiting El Paso Rhino’s 2 weeks ago and destroy the Tulsa Jr Oilers last weekend in a 3 in 3 set.
“Wichita is playing some very very good hockey right now, as good as anyone in this league. They took 3 of 6 points from El Paso a couple weeks ago,” said head coach Tyler Fleck. “They have added some very good players to compliment the top players they had already. This weekend will be a battle no doubt about it. We will have to be at our best.”
Those additions come in the form of former NHLer, Kevin McClelland’s son Jack, and highly skilled forward Jet Bell who retuned back to Wichita after playing for the Detroit Little Caesars hockey club.
“McClelland and Bell are two guys we will have to watch. Jack came back from the Vancouver Giants of the Western Hockey League and is as tough as they come, just like his old man. Bell is a solid 2 way player who has been a catalyst for the Thunder ever since he joined the team. The veteran goaltender Larson could the one of the best in the league too. It’s going to be some good hockey,” Fleck explained.
This will also be the first game for Blazers defenceman Alex Smith versus his former team. Oklahoma City traded for the former Thunder captain back in mid November. Smith played two full years for the Jr Thunder before being acquired by the Blazers a few weeks in this season. He currently leads all OKC dmen in scoring with a combined 39 points in 38 games. Smith is the stepbrother of Blazers goaltender Braden Lajoie.
The Blazers and Jr Thunder face off Friday night at 8:30PM at the Blazers Ice Center in south OKC and the then play game 2 Saturday at 5PM. Saturday is Super Saturday with the Blazers with 50 cent beers and 1 dollar hot dogs all night. OKC and Wichita finish off the 3 game set Sunday morning at the BIC with and 11AM puck drop.
With the way the standings are shaping up these two teams may be giving us an early preview of a first or second round playoff matchup between the two rivals.