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Wichita Thunder

Wichita Thunder
2015–16 ECHL season
City Wichita, Kansas, U.S.
League ECHL
Conference Western
Division Central
Founded 1992 (In the CHL)
Home arena Intrust Bank Arena
Owner(s) Rodney Steven
Brandon Steven
Johnny Steven
General manager Joel Lomurno
Head coach Kevin McClelland
Captain Ian Lowe
Media The Wichita Eagle
Affiliates Independent
Franchise history
1992–present Wichita Thunder
Regular season titles 3 (1993–94, 1994–95, 2011–12)
Conference Championships 1 (1997–98, 2011–12)
Ray Miron President's Cup 2 (1993–94, 1994–95)

The Wichita Thunder are a minor league hockey team based in Wichita, Kansas, United States. The team played in the Central Hockey League from 1992 until 2014, and then in the ECHL since the 2014–15 season. From 1992 until December 2009 the Thunder played in the Britt Brown Arena located in the northern Wichita suburb of Park City. In January 2010 (the second half of the 2009–10 season), the team began playing its home games at the newly built Intrust Bank Arena.


  • Franchise history 1
    • Early history (1992–95) 1.1
    • Don Jackson (1995–96) 1.2
    • Bryan Wells Era (1996–01) 1.3
    • James Latos (2001–03) 1.4
    • Derek Laxdal (2003–05) 1.5
    • Present History 1.6
  • Players 2
    • Current roster 2.1
    • Retired numbers 2.2
  • Leaders 3
    • Head coaches 3.1
    • General managers 3.2
  • CHL awards and trophies 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6

Franchise history

Early history (1992–95)

The Thunder were one of the first six original teams of the second iteration of the Central Hockey League, along with the Oklahoma City Blazers, Tulsa Oilers, Memphis RiverKings, Dallas Freeze and the Fort Worth Fire.

Wichita played their first home game at Britt Brown Arena on November 4, 1992 in front of a crowd of 5,486. In the same season the Thunder had their first sellout in team history, the crowd of 9,686 fans watched the Thunder defeat Oklahoma City 4-3.

The Thunder were originally coached by Gary Fay, but after a 6-20 start he was replaced by Doug Shedden. Although they started out with a 6-20 record the season was quickly turned around by Shedden and they finished their first season with a 25-32-2 record. On April 5, 1993, Thunder goaltender Robert Desjardins was named the first CHL Rookie of the Year.

In the following two seasons the Thunder were the Regular Season Champions (Adams Cup) and Playoff Champions (William Levins Memorial Cup) for both seasons. Ron Handy was the Playoff Most Valuable Player for both seasons, he is the only player in Central Hockey League history to win the award on multiple occasions. In the 1993–94 season Doug Shedden won the Coach of the Year award, Robert Desjardins won the Regular Season Most Valuable Player award and Paul Jackson won the Scoring Champion award.

On May 14, 1995, Head Coach Doug Shedden resigned to become coach of the Louisiana IceGators of the East Coast Hockey League (ECHL).

Don Jackson (1995–96)

Don Jackson was hired as the new head coach on July 21, 1995. He led the Thunder to a 22-39-3 record and missed the playoffs for the second time in franchise history.

On July 19, 1996, Don Jackson resigned to become head coach of the Kansas City Blades of the International Hockey League (IHL).

Bryan Wells Era (1996–01)

In July 1996, Bryan Wells was named the Thunder's fourth head coach in franchise history. Wells would go on to coach the Thunder for five seasons, they made the playoffs four out of the five seasons he coached. On May 2, 2001, Wells was dismissed as head coach.

James Latos (2001–03)

After the dismissal of Coach Wells the Thunder announced that James Latos would be the new head coach. In Lato's first season coaching the team went 24-34-6 and were out of the playoffs. Latos was fired the following season after a disappointing start of just 8-19-7.

Derek Laxdal (2003–05)

Just five days after coach Lato's dismissal, the Thunder announced that Derek Laxdal would become the team's new head coach. Laxdal went on to coach the Thunder for two more seasons comprising an 87-58-8 record while clinching two separate playoff berths. On August 3, 2005, Laxdal announced his resignation in order to become head coach of the ECHL’s Idaho Steelheads.

Present History

On October 7, 2014, soon before the 2014–15 Central Hockey League season was set to begin, it was announced that the Central Hockey League would ceased operations and the Thunder, along with the Allen Americans, Brampton Beast, Quad City Mallards, Missouri Mavericks, Rapid City Rush and Tulsa Oilers, were all approved for membership into the ECHL for the 2014–15 season.[1][2]


Current roster

Updated October 28, 2015[3]
# Nat Player Pos S/G Age Acquired Birthplace Contract
10 Baptista, MasonMason Baptista C L 26 2015 North York, Ontario Thunder
5 Blazek, AndrewAndrew Blazek D L 27 2015 Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Thunder
91 DeLuca, AnthonyAnthony DeLuca LW L 21 2015 Rosemere, Quebec Thunder
40 Fiddler, ToddTodd Fiddler LW L 22 2015 Meadow Lake, Saskatchewan Thunder
18 Flath, R.G.R.G. Flath F R 31 2011 Park City, Utah Thunder
81 Gauthier, DanickDanick Gauthier LW L 24 2014 Repentigny, Quebec Thunder
4 Harris, DonnieDonnie Harris D R 25 2015 Lavale, Maryland Thunder
21 Hosmer, ToddTodd Hosmer LW L 28 2014 Scarborough, Ontario Thunder
12 Huff, AndrewAndrew Huff LW R 24 2015 Howell, Michigan Thunder
20 Leroux, PaxtonPaxton Leroux LW R 23 2015 Peterborough, Ontario Thunder
22 Lizon, ErickErick Lizon RW R 30 2011 Kitchener, Ontario Thunder
13 Lowe, IanIan Lowe (C) C R 29 2012 Bradwardine, Manitoba Thunder
7 Martell, BrandonBrandon Martell D L 27 2015 Andover, Minnesota Thunder
6 Milan, DanDan Milan (A) D L 24 2014 Detroit, Michigan Thunder
28 Miller, KentonKenton Miller C L 25 2014 Redvers, Saskatchewan Thunder
14 Neal, MichaelMichael Neal (A) LW L 27 2015 Whitby, Ontario Thunder
24 Peckham, TheoTheo Peckham D L 28 2015 Richmond Hill, Ontario Thunder
8 Reum, DaltonDalton Reum D R 24 2014 Camrose, Alberta Thunder
37 Rollheiser, GrantGrant Rollheiser G L 26 2015 Chilliwack, British Columbia Thunder
2 Ruikka, RyanRyan Ruikka D R 28 2015 Chelsea, Michigan Thunder
90 Sakaris, PeterPeter Sakaris W L 23 2015 Candiac, Quebec Thunder
1 Shantz, DavidDavid Shantz G L 30 2015 Burlington, Ontario Thunder
19 Sides, JoeyJoey Sides LW L 30 2015 Sun Valley, Idaho Thunder

Retired numbers


Head coaches

Name Year(s) Coached Record
Gary Fay 1992 6 - 20
Doug Shedden 1992–1995 103 - 49 - 12
Don Jackson 1995–1996 22 - 50 - 29
Bryan Wells 1996–2001 161 - 146 - 39
James Latos 2001–2003 32 - 53 - 13
Sean O'Reilly Interim Coach 1 - 0 - 0
Derek Laxdal 2003–2005 87 - 58 - 8
Mark French 2005–2007 70 - 56 - 16
Rob Weingartner 2007–2008 16 - 29 - 2
Brent Bilodeau 2008–2009 22 - 52
Jason Duda Interim Coach 7 - 40 - 4
Kevin McClelland 2010–Present 78 - 45 - 9

General managers

Name Appointment Departure
Bill Shuck 1992 2002
David Holt 2003 2005
Chris Presson 2005 2008
Joel Lomurno 2008 Present

CHL awards and trophies

The following lists the league awards which have been won by the Thunder team and its players:[4]


  1. ^ "CHL Clubs Join ECHL for 2014-15 Season".  
  2. ^ "ECHL Accepts Seven Members".  
  3. ^ "Wichita Thunder Roster - Wichita Thunder Hockey". Wichita Thunder. Retrieved 2012-03-03. 
  4. ^ "Central Hockey League Historical Award Winners". Retrieved November 6, 2010. 

External links

  • Wichita Thunder official site
  • Wichita Thunder official message board
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