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The Seattle Thunderbirds have played in the Western Hockey League for several decades without a league crown or a Memorial Cup. But they’re still going strong, having built a rich tradition of NHL talent over the years.
Seattle Thunderbirds Thru the Years
The team was born in 1971 and toiled in both Vancouver and Kamloops before settling in Seattle in 1973. At first, they were the Seattle Breakers. After the 1984-85 campaign, the new ownership took over and renamed the team the Thunderbirds.
That’s when the culture changed and these guys began to get noticed in the WHL.
In the late 1980s, the Thunderbirds were privileged to select Glen Goodall. He finished his career as the WHL’s all-time leader in games, goals, assists and points.
He still holds the records for goals and games and his No. 10 is the Thunderbirds’ only retired number.
Goodall was part of Seattle’s greatest team: the 1989-90 season. He combined with Peter Nedved to lead the Thunderbirds to a franchise-record 52 wins, including a 33-2-1 home record.
In the 2002-03 and 2004-05, the Thunderbirds captured their first two U.S. Division titles. Since then, they’ve stumbled to some rough results, but it’s only a matter of time before they bounce back.
Seattle has become a breeding ground for top NHL players, producing Nedved, Glenn Anderson, Patrick Marleau, Chris Osgood and Mark Parrish, among many others. Who will be the next great Thunderbird? And will he challenge Goodall’s records?