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An Ice Hockey Wiki article.

The Calgary Hitmen are a junior ice hockey team based in Calgary, Alberta, Canada playing in the Western Hockey League (WHL). They play their home games at the Pengrowth Saddledome. The Hitmen name is derived from Calgary-born wrestler, and original part owner, Bret "the Hitman" Hart. The Hitmen's original jerseys were a distinctive mix of pink, black and grey, also taken from Hart's ring attire.

The Hitmen are the third WHL team to represent Calgary, preceded by the Centennials and Wranglers. In 1999, the Hitmen became the first Calgary team to win the President's Cup as league champions, and the first to represent Calgary in the Memorial Cup since the Calgary Canadians won the national junior title in 1926.

Contents

History

Calgary had been without a WHL team since 1987, when the Calgary Wranglers moved south to become the Lethbridge Hurricanes, as the juniors could not compete against the Calgary Flames of the National Hockey League. Eighteen investors, however, convinced the WHL to grant the city of Calgary an expansion franchise for the 1995-96 WHL season. In addition to Hart, the ownership group included NHL stars Theo Fleury and Joe Sakic.[1] Though initially nervous of competing with the Hitmen for hockey fan's dollars, the Flames chose to purchase the Hitmen in 1997, and have since built the team into one of the premier junior hockey teams in Canada.

Controversial beginnings

The Hitmen immediately generated controversy when the team logo was unveiled. While the "Jason Voorhees" style logo was instantly popular with many fans, some in the local media, as well as the league office found the look too violent, and the Hitmen were forced to use an alternate "starburst" logo in their inaugural season. The WHL relented after one year, allowing the original logo to return in 1996.[2]

The Hitmen were caught up in a second controversy in their second season as general manager and head coach Graham James was forced to resign partway through the 1996-97 season after being charged with sexually assaulting two of his players while coaching the Swift Current Broncos. James was convicted in January 1997.[3]

The team on the ice did not fare much better than it did off of it. The Hitmen won only 33 games in their first two seasons, finishing safely out of playoff contention both years.

WHL championship

After two challenging seasons, the Hitmen quickly rose to prominence. In 1997-98, the Hitmen won 40 games and the Central Division. Entering the playoffs for the first time, the Hitmen cruised past the Saskatoon Blades, then upset the Swift Current Broncos before falling in the Eastern Conference final to the Brandon Wheat Kings. Head coach Dean Clark, brought in to replace James, won the Dunc McCallum Memorial Trophy as WHL coach of the year for his efforts. He was also named the CHL coach of the year.[4]

Calgary improved to 51 wins in 1998-99, narrowly edging the Kamloops Blazers for the regular season title. Led by Brad Moran, Pavel Brendl and goaltender Alexandre Fomitchev, the Hitmen lost just five games in the playoffs, capturing their first President's Cup at home before a WHL playoff record crowd of 17,139.[5]

In the 1999 Memorial Cup, the Hitmen finished atop the round robin standings earning a berth straight into the final. Calgary faced the host Ottawa 67s of the Ontario Hockey League in the championship game in an exciting back-and-forth affair. The Hitmen fell just short however, losing 7-6 in overtime.[6]

In 1999-00, the Hitmen set franchise records for wins (58) and points (120) while capturing their second straight regular season title. After sweeping their first two playoff series, the Hitmen were stunned by the eventual WHL champion Kootenay Ice.

Recent years

In the past several seasons, the Hitmen have settled in as a middle of the road team on the ice. Despite this, the team has become a perennial attendance leader, finishing atop the WHL standings each of the past four years. In 2004-05, the Flames heavily marketed the Hitmen in the wake of the 2004-05 NHL lockout. As a result, the Hitmen averaged 10,062 fans, the first junior team to average 10,000, and the highest average of any junior or professional team in North America. Their season total of 362,227 set WHL and CHL records.[7]

While the team has not been extremely successful in recent years, the Hitmen have developed several players who have gone onto success in the NHL and at major international tournaments. Ryan Getzlaf and Andrew Ladd were both members of the dominating Canadian team that won the 2005 World Junior Ice Hockey Championships.[8] Justin Pogge emerged as the unlikely hero for team Canada as they defended their gold medal at the 2006 World Junior Ice Hockey Championships.[9] Pogge would also be named the WHL and CHL goaltender of the year in 2005-06.[10]

Ladd also became the first Hitmen alumnus to win the Stanley Cup, which he did with the Carolina Hurricanes in 2006.[11] Getzlaf won the cup the following season with the Anaheim Ducks, leading the team in scoring with seven goals and ten assists in twenty-one games.

Season-by-season record

Note: GP = Games played, W = Wins, L = Losses, T = Ties OTL = Overtime losses Pts = Points, GF = Goals for, GA = Goals against

Season GP W L T OTL GF GA Points Finish Playoffs
1995-96 72 18 51 3 - 222 359 39 5th Central Out of playoffs
1996-97 72 15 53 4 - 199 360 34 4th Central Out of playoffs
1997-98 72 40 28 4 - 265 232 84 1st Central Lost Eastern Conference final
1998-99 72 51 13 8 - 319 187 110 1st Central Won championship; Memorial Cup finalist
1999-00 72 58 10 2 2 313 182 120 1st Central Lost Eastern Conference final
2000-01 72 37 27 5 3 284 250 82 3rd Central Lost Eastern Conference semi-final
2001-02 72 33 33 5 1 271 281 72 3rd Central Lost Eastern Conference quarter-final
2002-03 72 27 36 7 2 240 260 63 4th Central Lost Eastern Conference quarter-final
2003-04 72 34 24 8 6 220 187 82 3rd Central Lost Eastern Conference quarter-final
2004-05 72 34 23 9 6 200 183 83 3rd Central Lost Eastern Conference semi-final
Season GP W L OTL SOL GF GA Points Finish Playoffs
2005-06 72 47 18 3 4 195 155 101 2nd Central Lost Eastern Conference semi-final
2006-07 72 39 26 3 4 251 205 85 3rd Central Lost Eastern Conference final
2007-08 Season in progress


Source: [12]

Players

The Hitmen presently have 24 players on their active roster,[13] while 21 former Hitmen have gone on to play in the National Hockey League.[14]

Current roster

Goaltenders
# Player Born Place of Birth Drafted
31 Martin Jones 1990 North Vancouver, British Columbia Eligible 2008
33 Dan Spence 1988 Langley, British Columbia Free Agent
<center>Defencemen
# Player Born Place of Birth Drafted
'2 Paul Postma 1989 Red Deer, Alberta Atl - 7th round 2007
3 Dan Mercer 1987 West Vancouver, British Columbia Free Agent
4 Alex Plante 1989 Brandon, Manitoba Edm - 1st round 2007
5 Matt MacKenzie 1991 New Westminster, British Columbia Eligible 2009
6 Eric Frere 1988 Trochu, Alberta Free Agent
7 Keith Seabrook 1988 Delta, British Columbia Was - 2nd round 2006
26 Ryan Gillen 1987 Golden, British Columbia Free Agent
27 Karl Alzner 1988 Burnaby, British Columbia Was - 1st round 2007
28 Michael Stone 1990 Winnipeg, Manitoba Eligible 2008
<center>Forwards
# Player Position Born Place of Birth Drafted
8 Kyle Bortis C 1988 Saskatoon, Saskatchewan Eligible 2008
9 T.J. Galiardi LW 1988 Calgary, Alberta Col - 2nd round 2007
10 Bostjan Golicic LW 1989 Kranj, Slovenia Eligible 2008
11 Chase Schaber C 1991 Red Deer, Alberta Eligible 2009
12 Brett Sonne C/LW 1989 Maple Ridge, British Columbia Stl - 3rd round 2007
14 Carson McMillan RW 1988 Brandon, Manitoba Free Agent
15 Brandon Kozun C 1990 Calgary, Alberta Eligible 2008
17 Ian Duval C 1988 Winnipeg, Manitoba Free Agent
18 Brendan Rowinski LW/C 1990 Winnipeg, Manitoba Eligible 2008
19 Ian Schultz RW 1990 Calgary, Alberta Eligible 2008
22 Devon Kalinski LW/C 1990 La Corey, Alberta Eligible 2008
25 Ryan White C 1988 Brandon, Manitoba Mtl - 3rd round 2006
29 Ryan Fox RW 1990 Creighton, Saskatchewan Eligible 2008


Roster as of December 28, 2007

NHL Alumni

List of Calgary Hitmen alumni who have played in the NHL.

Retired numbers

#20 - Brad Moran 1995-2000

Head Coaches

The Hitmen have had five coaches in their history.[14]

# Name Dates Games Record Winning % Playoffs Notes
1 Graham James 1995-96 95 21-71-3 .237 0-0 Resigned 23 games into 1996-97 season
2 Dean Clark 1996-01 334 183-118-30-3 .597 40-24 1998 WHL, CHL coach of the year
3 Richard Kromm 2001-04 216 94-93-20-9 .502 7-12
4 Dean Evason 2004-05 72 34-23-9-6 .576 7-5 Co-coach with Kelly Kisio
5 Kelly Kisio 2004-present 216 120-77-12-17 .623 23-20

Club records

Team records held by the Hitmen and players:[12]

Season

Individual

Team

Career

Awards and honours

WHL and CHL awards captured by the Hitmen:[4]


See also

References

  1. hitmenhockey.com, "Inside the Club", Accessed October 16
  2. Hart, Bret, Bret Hart's Calgary Sun column for April 30,2004 reproduced at brethart.com. Accessed October 14, 2006
  3. Deacon, James, Hockey Coach Guilty of Sexual Assault, MacLean's January 13, 1997. Reproduced on thecanadianencyclopedia.com. Accessed October 14, 2006
  4. 4.0 4.1 2005-06 WHL guide, WHL Awards, pgs. 167-170
  5. WHL playoff records, whl.ca. Accessed October 14, 2006
  6. Lajoie, Roger, MasterCard Memorial Cup Priceless Moment No. 9 - Ottawa scores in overtime to win Memorial Cup at home, chl.ca. Accessed October 16, 2006
  7. WHL season records whl.ca. Accessed October 14, 2006
  8. 2005 WJHC roster, hockeycanada.ca. Accessed October 16, 2006
  9. 2006 WJHC roster, hockeycanada.ca. Accessed October 16, 2006
  10. Del Wilson Trophy winners, whl.ca. Accessed October 16, 2006
  11. Shea, Kevin HHOF Stanley Cup journal - Andrew Ladd, hhof.com. Accessed October 16, 2006
  12. 12.0 12.1 2005-06 WHL guide, Calgary Hitmen, pgs 22-25
  13. whl.ca Calgary Hitmen Roster
  14. 14.0 14.1 Calgary Hitmen all-time roster hockeydb.com. Accessed October 16, 2006

External links

  • Calgary Hitmen
  • Pengrowth Saddledome
  • Calgary Flames
Western Hockey League
Current teams : Brandon Wheat Kings | Calgary Hitmen | Chilliwack Bruins | Edmonton Oil Kings | Everett Silvertips | Kamloops Blazers | Kelowna Rockets | Kootenay Ice | Lethbridge Hurricanes | Medicine Hat Tigers | Moose Jaw Warriors | Portland Winter Hawks | Prince Albert Raiders | Prince George Cougars | Red Deer Rebels | Regina Pats | Saskatoon Blades | Seattle Thunderbirds | Spokane Chiefs | Swift Current Broncos | Tri-City Americans | Vancouver Giants
CHL: Memorial Cup | Ed Chynoweth Cup | WHL seasons | WHL history | Awards | OHL | QMJHL


This article uses material from the "Calgary Hitmen" article on the Ice Hockey wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.







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