Season in Review: Veteran Forwards

As we close the book on the 2020-21 Western Hockey League season–one that overcame a myriad of obstacles in order to continue player development–we take a look back at the strides made by the Chiefs on the ice.

We opened our Season in Review series by taking a look at the 2020-21 Chiefs rookie skaters. Today, we reflect on the contributions provided by the Chiefs veteran skaters as they navigated undoubtedly the most unique season of their respective careers.

The Chiefs deployed 10 different forwards this season as the team overcame injuries in addition to the absences of NHL draft prospects Bear Hughes and, for an extended period, Luke Toporowski as they latched on with USHL clubs for the 2020-21 season.

#12 Erik Atchison, RW

While he missed the final third of the pandemic-shortened season, Atchison flashed signs of a breakout in 2021 as his 0.64PTS/G through 14 games nearly tripled his previous career high. His hottest stretch of the year came in a four-game point period from April 4 to April 10 during which he compiled seven points on two goals and five assists.

#16 Cordel Larson, RW

Fresh off of a career year in 2019-20, Larson was a steadying force for the Chiefs’ top unit, consistently playing on the same line as team-leading scorers Adam Beckman and Eli Zummack. Named one of Spokane’s alternate captains prior to the start of the season, Larson stole the show on April 9 when he posted a goal and two assists in a 3-1 victory over Portland. He was also named Spokane’s Most Sportsmanlike Player for the 2020-21 season.

#17 Brandon Reller, RW

One of a handful of the Chiefs’ U.S.-born players, the Hanover, MN native appeared in 20 games this season. He matched a career best with a +2 rating against Seattle on May 1.

#19 Mitch Kohner, RW

Yet another bizarre ripple effect of the COVID-19 pandemic was Prince George’s loaning of forward Mitch Kohner to the Chiefs for the duration of the season. The 19-year-old appeared in just six games for the Chiefs, but provided much needed depth as Spokane battled injuries in the heart of the season.

#20 Reed Jacobson, C

Jacobson didn’t let the drastically abbreviated season keep him from posting career highs across the board, totaling 12 points on five goals and seven assists in 21 games played. The second-year skater played a significant role in the Spokane’s 5-2 win over Tri-City on April 7 when he recorded the first four-point night of his career as he scored two goals and two assists en route to earning the game’s first star.

#22 Luke Toporowski, LW

Toporowski saw his play translate flawlessly into a stint with the Sioux Falls Stampede during which he ranked fourth on the team with 33 points (14G-19A) in 32 games. He rejoined the Chiefs for their final six games of the season and contributed four points on a goal and three assists.

#26 Jack Finley, C

Fresh off of a second round NHL Entry Draft selection in June of 2020, expectations were high for Finley entering the 2020-21 season. Unfortunately, the Kelowna, B.C. native’s season ended before it ever really got going as he was ruled out for the entire season following an injury he sustained in the season opener at Seattle. He was named one of the Chiefs’ alternate captains prior to the season.

#27 Owen MacNeil, LW

The youngest of Spokane’s veteran skaters, the 17-year-old MacNeil proved to be an iron man in 2020-21 as he appeared in all 21 games for the Chiefs. A second round bantam selection in 2018, he took advantage of the opportunity for an increased role this season, consistently anchoring a young third line as the unit’s centerman.

#29 Eli Zummack, C

Zummack, who was named the Chiefs’ 33rd captain in team history prior to the 2020-21 season, led the team in assists (13) and was second to only Minnesota Wild prospect Adam Beckman in both points (22) and goals scored (9). The overage centerman contributed multi-point efforts in eight of his 21 games played this season, including four-point games at Everett on April 13 and against Tri-City on April 28. He was named the Chiefs’ Co-Player of the Year along with Adam Beckman upon conclusion of the 2020-21 season. Zummack also was named the recipient of the Brad Hornun Trophy as the 2020-21 WHL Most Sportsmanlike Player.

#34 Adam Beckman, LW

The Minnesota Wild prospect averaged nearly a goal a game this season, finding the net 17 times in 21 games played, accounting for 31% of Spokane’s goals on the season and tying him for second-most in the Western Hockey League. The 19-year-old totaled 12 points (7G-5A) during a six-game goal streak from April 4 – April 14 before recording back-to-back hat tricks two weeks later, coming against Tri-City on April 28 and Seattle on May 1, earning him WHL Player of the Week presented by Journie Rewards. He was named the Chiefs’ Co-Player of the Year along with Eli Zummack upon conclusion of the 2020-21 season.

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