With the Vegas Golden Knights and Chicago Wolves now officially partners going forward for at least 5 seasons, Vegas Knights of The Roundtable takes a look back at some of the most exciting moments in Wolves history.
Originally founded as a member of the International Hockey League back in the 1994 season the Wolves organization has been part of 2-decades of memories.
On November 23, 1994, the Chicago fanbase witnessed the first Wolves player score the franchise’s first ever hat trick when left winger Steve Maltais recorded it in their 7-4 victory against the Cleveland Lumberjacks.
March 8, 1995, another first for the organization when goaltender Ray LeBlanc recorded the club’s first-ever shutout when the Wolves defeated the Peoria Rivermen, 3-0.
This next moment came in the playoffs on April 28, 1996, when the Chicago Wolves advanced the second round for the first time that featured a 4 game opening round series against the San Francisco Spiders. The Wolves beat San Francisco 3 games to 1.
Nearly 2 years later on February 8, 1998, Chicago captured their first Midwest Division Title by defeating Milwaukee Admirals by a 5-3 final.
The following moments are a collection of their success after capturing their first division title.
May 11, 1998, Chicago centerman Steve Larouche’s hat trick powered the Wolves past the Admirals to a 4-3 victory. His performance led Chicago beyond the Western Conference Semifinal with a 4-games-to-2 series win. Chicago advanced to the Western Conference Final of the Turner Cup Playoffs for the first time.
May 26, 1998, Chicago held 3-0 series lead over the Long Beach Ice Dogs but the SoCal-based hockey club attempted a series rallying comeback by winning 2-straight games however, they came up short when the Wolves finally closed the door to win the series 4-games-to-2, at Long Beach Arena. With the win, Chicago captures the Ken Ullyot Trophy, symbolizing the IHL’s Western Conference Championship and earns the team’s first-ever berth in the Turner Cup Finals.
Chicago’s Western Conference Final series victory they captured Ken Ullyot Trophy, symbolizing the IHL’s Western Conference Championship and earned the team’s first trip to the Turner Cup Finals.
First-Ever Turner Cup Championship
***June 15, 1998, backed by 16,701 screaming fans, the second-largest crowd in Turner Cup Finals history, the Wolves shut out the Detroit Vipers, 3-0, to capture their first-ever Turner Cup Championship, 4-games-to-3. It is the first seven-game series for the IHL Championship in 13 years, while the shutout sets the Wolves’ franchise-record second in a playoff season. Chicago wins the last two games of the series to become only the sixth team in the IHL’s 53-year history to rebound from a 3-games-to-2 deficit in the Finals. Wolves center Alexander Semak walks away with the N.R. ”Bud“ Poile Trophy as the postseason’s most valuable player.***
***Milestone moment courtesy of the Chicago Wolves***
Wolves Open Season At Home For The 1st Time
In the 1998-1999 season, the schedule maker gave Wolves fans a gift when the franchise opened up their campaign at home in front 18,339 in attendance thus setting a record in their history on October 11, 1998. Their home opener kicked the night off with a banner raising ceremony for the teams Turner Cup Championship from the 1997-1998 campaign.
The historic night was capped off by their 3-2 victory over the Grand Rapids Griffins.
The following season during the 1999-2000 campaign Wolves fans got to see another first on October 16, 1999, they witnessed to the club’s first-ever home opener that featured a shutout by goaltender Wendell Young who stopped all 25 shots he faces. The Wolves defeated Cincinnati Cyclones by a 3-0 score in front of 14,032 fans.
Wolves 1st Playoff Series Sweep
On May 3, 2000, the Wolves eliminated the Long Beach Ice Dogs and future NHL Stanley Cup Champion goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin to a 4-1 victory and a 4-0 series sweep. This became the franchise’s first-ever sweep in the playoffs in a best-of-seven series.
Wolves Retire Wendell Young’s Jersey
December 1, 2001, the Wolves retired former goaltender Young’s jersey who became the first time player in the team’s eight-year history to receive such a honor with a jersey retirement ceremony.
Chicago’s AHL Debut With A W!!!
The move into the American Hockey League came during the offseason back in 2001.
October 6, 2001, the Wolves debut in their new league of the AHL with a 4-2 victory over the Utah Grizzlies at the Allstate Arena. It was only the second time in franchise history that the team has opened up on home ice.
Maltais Notches 1st-Ever Post-Season (Calder Cup Playoffs) Hat Trick
On April 15, 2002, Left winger Maltais records his first-ever Calder Cup Playoffs hat trick with the Wolves in Chicago’s 5-1 victory in Game 2 of the Western Conference Quarterfinal against the second-seeded Grand Rapids Griffins at Van Andel Arena. The Wolves would move on to the next round as they defeated the Griffins 3-games-to-2.
2001-2002 Calder Cup Champions
Much like their first-ever Turner Cup Championship when they were a member of the IHL, the Wolves added another first to their history when they captured the AHL’s most coveted trophy the Calder Cup by defeating the Bridgeport Sound Tigers in a 5 game series.
Wolves Capture Their 1st AHL West Division Title
Over 3 years later on April 16, 2005, Chicago defeated the Utah Grizzlies courtesy of a 5-1 victory at the Allstate Arena in the regular season finale and captured their first West Division title in AHL.
Chicago Forward Kevin Doell Scores Fastest Hat Trick In 77 Seconds
Kevin Doell produced a hat trick in a span of 77 seconds as the fastest in Chicago Wolves franchise history that included Doell converting on a penalty shot, as Chicago ties franchise records for goals scored on the road and margin of defeat in a 10-2 dispatching of the Iowa Stars at Wells Fargo Arena that took place on December 15, 2007.
Head Coach John Andersen Gets His 363rd Regular-Season Win In The AHL On November 28, 2014
Now that Chicago and Vegas are partners what can the new defining moments be going forward? We will all have to watch and see.