The Western Hockey League regular season is finally here, and tonight the Wenatchee Wild will make their WHL regular season debut. With thirty-one players named to their official roster, the team is heading into the season with high hopes.
The preseason was a strong start for the Wenatchee Wild. The team won three of five games: 5-2 against the Spokane Chiefs, 4-3 in overtime against the Everett Silvertips, and 4-2 against the Tri-City Americans. The Wild, who only played against each of the US Division teams once in the regular season last year, have quickly shown they can hold their own against new opponents.
Week One Preview (9/22-9/23)
This weekend, the Wild will take on the Portland Winterhawks on Friday, September 22, and the Seattle Thunderbirds on Saturday, September 23.
9/22: Portland Winterhawks
The last time the Wild, then the Winnipeg ICE, met the Winterhawks was on January 8, 2023, in a 6-3 win. They only played each other once last season, compared to the six times the Wild will face off against Portland in the 2023-24 season. The Winterhawks have a strong roster of their own, although they have a handful of players missing tonight’s game, due to attending NHL camps: Marek Alscher, Luca Cagnoni, Josh Davies, Carter Sotheran, and Ryder Thompson. Despite this, Portland still boasts a solid lineup, which the Wild will be determined to outmatch tonight.
9/23: Seattle Thunderbirds
Out of all the other US Division teams, the Wenatchee Wild are most familiar with the Seattle Thunderbirds. As the ICE last year, the team lost to the Thunderbirds in the fourth round of the 2023 WHL Playoffs, and in the single time they played each other in the regular season, they fell 4-3 in overtime. The Thunderbirds are sure to be one of the top rivalries for the Wenatchee Wild—with the bitter history from last season, a closer distance, and rosters with similar talent, the games will be some of the most fun to watch.
Gabe’s 3 Players to Watch
Obtained 60th overall in the 2023 CHL Import Draft, Kenta Isogai has hit the ground running. The forward had five points (4G-1A) in four preseason games played, three of which were power-play goals. Already a fan favorite, Isogai is charismatic on and off the ice and is bound to be one of the Wild’s star players this season.
Karter Prosofsky has been on the ICE since they were in Kootenay. The defenseman had two assists in the preseason; last season, he had 17 points (1G-16A) in 26 games played. He has a knack for being in the right place at the right time and is a player with a lot of potential going into his overager year.
Arguably one of the best goalies in the league, Daniel Hauser will be a huge part of the Wild’s success this season. In the regular season last year, he won 37 of his 42 games played, maintaining a 2.28 GAA and .917 SV%. With goalie partner Mason Beaupit away at the Sharks development camp, Hauser is expected to be the starter this weekend, backed up by Brendan Gee.