As we close the book on the 2020-21 Western Hockey League season–one that overcame a myriad of obstacles in order to continue the development of its players–we take a look back at the strides made by the Chiefs on the ice.
We open our Season in Review series by taking a look at the 2020-21 Chiefs rookie class, a group that consisted of a few more players than usual as a product of the pandemic-induced absences of several key members of the expected roster for the season. As a unit, Spokane’s first-year players took advantage of the opportunity to debut–earlier than expected in many cases–under the unique circumstances that the season provided, and each of them flashed skills that should leave fans excited for what is to come.
Eight different rookie skaters saw action for the Chiefs this season, including three who were making their Western Hockey League debut.
#2 Logan Cunningham, D
After making his Western Hockey League debut during the 2019-20 season, Cunningham appeared in 14 games with the Chiefs this season. A third-round bantam draft selection in 2019, the Yellowknife, NT native appeared in more games than any other rookie blueliner for Spokane.
#4 Chase Friedt-Mohr, D
A 2018 fifth-round bantam draft selection, Friedt-Mohr debuted with a two-game stint in 2019-20 prior to appearing in 12 games this season. He scored his first career WHL goal in dramatic fashion on April 10 vs. Portland when fired home a wrister as the final horn sounded. His 2PTS (1G, 1A) on the season led all Chief rookie defensemen.
#11 Ty Cheveldayoff, LW
Cheveldayoff appeared in 18 games for the Chiefs this season, highlighted by a two-point effort on April 10 vs. Portland when he had his first career goal and assist, which both came within the final 36 seconds of action that night. The Stony Plain, AB native was one of three Chiefs skaters to make their WHL debut during the 20-21 season.
#13 Grady Lane, LW
Lane’s 20 games played tied him for second-most among Chiefs rookies during the 2020-21 season. The 6’1″ winger racked up 31 penalty minutes to lead the team, including three five-minute fighting majors. His first career point, an assist, came on April 10 against Portland. Lane also appeared in one game during the 2019-20 season.
#15 Blake Swetlikoff, LW
Swetlikoff maintained rookie status for 2020-21 despite appearing in 10 games with the Chiefs during the 2019-20 season. A third-round bantam draft selection for Spokane in 2018, he injected life into the top lines throughout the season, often serving as his unit’s centerman. Swetlikoff piled up his entire season’s worth of production–11 points on six goals and five assists, all of which were tops among Chiefs rookies–in a 12-game span from April 3 to May 2. Swetlikoff was the only Chiefs rookie to appear in every game this season. He was also named the team’s Scholastic Player of the Year for the 2020-21 season.
#18 Copeland Fricker, RW
The lone U.S.-born rookie on Spokane’s roster this season, Fricker contributed the second-most points (5) and goals (2) of any Chiefs rookie. The Midland, TX native beat one the league’s best netminders in Everett’s Dustin Wolf for his first career marker, a power play goal back on April 13.
#24 Sage Weinstein, D
The Chiefs brought in ’05-born Weinstein in mid-April as the team was battling through a variety of injuries. The 2020 first-round bantam selection went on to appear in five games with the Chiefs, making his Western Hockey League debut on April 14 at Portland.
#28 Ben Thornton, C
Spokane’s top selection in the 2019 bantam draft, Thornton appeared in 10 games this season after appearing in just one last year. His first career marker came against the Seattle Thunderbirds in an 8-3 victory on May 1.