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Road to the RBC Cup: Washington-Based Wild Hoping to Advance to Canadian Championship Tournament

By Sam Laskaris on February 17, 2017

The Wenatchee Wild are sporting a 41-9-4-0 record and are the highest ranked BCHL team on the latest CJHL Top 20 rankings. (Wenatchee Wild/BCHL photo)

Members of the Wenatchee Wild are hoping to make a bit of history this season.

The Wild, based in the state of Washington, is the lone American entry in the British Columbia Hockey League.

The Wenatchee club is currently atop the overall standings in the 17-squad circuit with a 41-9-4-0 record.

Besides hoping to win a league title, the Wild organization is also keen to eventually advance and win this year’s RBC Cup, the Canadian national Junior A championship.

No American franchise has ever captured the RBC Cup. This year’s tournament is scheduled for May 13-21 in Cobourg, Ont.

“That would be awesome (to win the RBC Cup),” said Bliss Littler, the head coach and general manager for the Wenatchee squad. “But our league has so many good teams. We have to keep the approach of who’s next for us. It’s one game at a time.”

This marks the second season that the Wild has competed in the BCHL. Prior to that the franchise participated in the U.S.-based North American Hockey League.

Wenatchee placed fifth in the overall BCHL standings last season and bowed out in the second round of the league playoffs.

In their current position, it’s understandable that the Wild has loftier expectations this season. But Littler said his charges are not looking too far ahead.

“If I ask my guys to name three teams in the other leagues (in Canada) they probably couldn’t,” he said. “They know when the RBC Cup is.

They know the process to get through the BCHL playoffs. And they know the process of getting through the western Canadian championships. But our focus is to get through our division first.”

Littler though isn’t surprised that it didn’t take long for the Wild to have success in the BCHL.

“We were pretty good in the (NAHL),” he said. “And we had a lot of the same kids come with us to this league. We thought we’d do well.”

Littler added his squad does have quite a bit of talent.

“We have (13) Division 1 commitments,” he said. “We have a lot of good players.”

Littler also said he’s not the least bit concerned his club is not getting more recognition in national rankings. Wenatchee was listed at the Number 10 position in this week’s Canadian Junior Hockey League Top 20 rankings.

The Wild is the highest ranked team from the BCHL, which is considered one of the better of the 10 leagues that comprise the CJHL.

Littler had wondered last year why clubs from the league were not ranked higher nationally.

“I asked that question last year to some coaches in the league,” he said. “And they said don’t worry about it and that our top eight teams are awfully good and any of them could be in the top five.”

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By Sam Laskaris| February 17, 2017
Categories:  Junior|Events

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