The Wenatchee Wild is a Junior A ice hockey team in the British Columbia Hockey League. The team plays its home games at the 4,300-seat Town Toyota Center in Wenatchee, Washington. Initially, the team was part of the North American Hockey League, joining as an expansion club for the 2008–09 season, and in that time they were well known for their rivalry with the Fairbanks Ice Dogs. The Wild moved to the BCHL for 2015–16, after seeking approval from both Hockey Canada and USA Hockey for three years.
|League||British Columbia Hockey League|
|Founded||2010 (Current BCHL franchise)
2008 (First NAHL franchise)
|Home arena||Town Toyota Center|
|Colors||Blue, Black and White
|General manager||Bliss Littler|
|Head coach||Bliss Littler|
|Media||Sunny FM 93.9|
|First NAHL franchise|
|2013–2015||Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees|
|Current BCHL franchise|
|Division Championships||3 (2008–09, 2009–10, 2012–13)|
On September 12, 2006, ground was broken on a new multipurpose event center that would be home to a new ice hockey team. On February 22, 2008, the North American Hockey League granted Wenatchee Junior Hockey, LLC. with conditional approval for an expansion team. On May 20, 2008, Wenatchee Junior Hockey, LLC. announced the franchise would be the "Wild." The name was chosen by a "name-the-team contest" held at local schools in Wenatchee and East Wenatchee. Other potential names for the team were the Wranglers, Bombers, Wonders, Hockeyes, Winning Walruses and Ice Busters. The Wild played their first game on September 17, 2008, losing to the Motor City Metal Jackets 2-1 in overtime. The Wild made a championship run in that first season, winning the division title but losing the championship game 3-2 in overtime. The following season, they came back and won the West Division championship in 2009–10, but were eliminated in the round-robin championship tournament.
On May 13, 2013, the Wild lost their first and only game during the 2013 Robertson Cup Championship Tournament to the Amarillo Bulls 5-0 during the Robertson Cup championship game. On January 19, 2013, USA Hockey approved the transfer of the Wenatchee Wild from the NAHL to the British Columbia Hockey League for the 2013–14 season. However, on May 14, 2013, the Wild announced they would instead relocate the franchise to Hidalgo, Texas and play as the Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees of the NAHL.
On May 22, 2013, the Wenatchee City Council approves a deal to move the Fresno Monsters to Wenatchee and keep their name and logo. The team announced that it had retained coach Bliss Littler from the previous franchise on June 4, 2013.
On June 1, 2015, the Wenatchee Wild announced that they would be joining the BCHL for the 2015–16 season.
The team has created an identity for themselves by using cowbells. Similar to the Tampa Bay Rays of the MLB and the Sacramento Kings of the NBA, the Wild have fans ring cowbells in support of the team. After a Wenatchee goal, fans will ring their bells in support. Since 2008, the Wild have hosted a cowbell giveaway, where the first 2,000 fans through the door get a free cowbell. Many fans also bring their own bells to games.
The Wenatchee Wild have used a slogan each year following the inaugural season.
2009–10: Our team, our time, our house!
2010–11: Unfinished Business
2011–12: The Wolfpack is Back
2016-17: Power of the Pack
2017-18: Year 10 in The Den
|North American Hockey League|
|2008–09||58||35||19||4||—||74||197||182||1,322||1st, West||Lost in Robertson Cup Final|
|2009–10||58||45||10||3||—||93||219||125||1,520||1st, West||Lost in Round Robin|
|2010–11||58||34||21||3||—||71||207||148||1,208||2nd, West||Lost in 2nd Round|
|2011–12||60||36||17||7||—||79||165||102||1,297||2nd, West||Lost in 2nd Round|
|2012–13||60||39||15||6||—||84||197||147||1,509||1st, West||Lost in Robertson Cup Final|
|2013–14||60||29||23||8||—||66||169||163||867||3rd, Mid-West||Lost in Division Final|
|2014–15||60||27||25||8||—||62||177||171||808||5th of 8, South||Won Div. play-in series, 2–0 vs. Corpus Christi IceRays
Lost First Round series, 0–3 vs. Lone Star Brahmas
|British Columbia Hockey League|
|2015–16||58||34||16||4||4||76||206||147||588||2nd of 6, Mainland
5th of 17, BCHL
|Won Div. Semifinals, 4–1 vs. Langley Rivermen
Lost Div. Finals, 1–4 vs. Chilliwack Chiefs
|2016–17||58||45||9||4||0||94||294||135||714||1st of 6, Mainland
1st of 17, BCHL
|Won Div. Semifinals, 4–2 vs. Prince George Spruce Kings
Lost Div. Finals, 0–4 vs. Chilliwack Chiefs
On November 24, 2010, the Wenatchee Wild fired Paul Baxter, their inaugural head coach. It is unspecified exactly what led to the firing of Baxter, who led the Wenatchee Wild to back-to-back West Division titles in 2008 and 2009 and made it to the Robertson Cup Finals in the Wild's first year. Baxter was replaced in December 2010 by John Becanic. On April 27, 2012, shortly after elimination from the 2012 West Division Playoffs, Coach Becanic resigned. USHL coach Bliss Littler was announced as the new head coach and director of hockey operations on May 23, 2012. Mr. Littler currently holds the record as the winningest coach in USA Hockey history (Jr. Tier I and II). Littler had been released from his duties as the USHL's Omaha Lancers head coach mid season 2011–12.