Cranbrook, B.C. – Four Kootenay ICE alumni will try to help their respect team’s reach the Stanley Cup Final.
On Saturday night, the Winnipeg Jets and Vegas Golden Knights will clash in the NHL’s Western Conference Final (WCF). Former ICE players Brayden McNabb and Cody Eakin along with former ICE head coach Ryan McGill will compete for the Golden Knights. On the other side, former ICE equipment manager and athletic therapist Brad Shaw will do his part for the Jets.
The Golden Knights and the Jets have never appeared in a WCF before. The Golden Knights – the NHL’s newest team – earned a spot in the conference final with a four-game sweep of the Los Angeles Kings and a six-game series victory over the San Jose Sharks. The Jets mowed down the Minnesota Wild in five games and survived a seven-game battle with the Presidents Trophy winning Nashville Predators.
On the ice, Eakin has four points (3G, 1A) for the Golden Knights while McNabb has two points (1G, 1A).
This will be the first time Eakin – a native of Winnipeg, MB – has played a Stanley Cup playoff game in his hometown.
The Golden Knights success in the 2018 playoff tournament shouldn’t come as any surprise to hockey fans. The Golden Knights have continued to prove the doubters wrong since the puck dropped on the 2017-18 NHL season. The expansion franchise finished the regular season with a record of 51-24-7, good for first in the Pacific Division, third in the Western Conference and fifth in the overall league standings.
The Winnipeg Jets were also one of the best teams in the NHL during the 2017-18 season. The Jets finished second in their division, conference and the entire league.
McNabb played four full seasons with the ICE, suiting up in 255 regular season games. McNabb helped lead the ICE to a WHL championship in 2011, the third in the organization’s history.
Eakin was a deadline acquisition by the ICE during the 2010-11 season. Eakin suited up in 26 regular season games for the ICE and he was also part of that championship-winning team in 2011.
McGill had two stints as head coach of the Kootenay ICE, which spanned a total of eight years: 1998-2002 and 2012-2015. McGill was part of two WHL championship teams (2000, 2002) and captured the Memorial Cup in 2002.
Shaw spent three seasons with the ICE from 2007-2010.