Well I must admit. I didn't and likely no one for that matter would've guessed that at the WHL's Christmas break in 2015, the Lethbridge Hurricanes would be in sole possession of first place in the Western Hockey League's Eastern Conference with a record of 24-11.
That's exactly the case after the Canes closed out a six game pre-Christmas road trip with a 6-1 victory in Red Deer Saturday night. The only blemish on this swing came with a loss in Regina.
It has been a complete 180 degree turnaround for the Hurricanes. They were virtually in last place in the WHL at this same time last year in almost every category. Fast forward to this season and the Hurricanes are first in the East, have the WHL's highest scoring offence with 148 goals scored, and the league top power play clicking at 29.3%. Quite frankly for a radio guy who make my living talking, I'm kind of speechless! The Lethbridge Hurricanes, in my opinion are the feel-good story of not just the WHL, but the entire CHL. They are poised to make playoffs for the first time since 2008-2009 and hopefully make some noise.
One would have to think that Head Coach Brent Kisio would have to considered the top contender for WHL Coach of the Year at this stage in the game and GM Peter Anholt the League's top executive. Yes, we are only half way through the season, but those are indicators that are hard to ignore. The change has been nothing short of amazing. For all those fans who have been sitting on the fence for the last number of years, upset at the way the organization was being run and the horrible play on the ice, no longer have an excuse to stay away. The Lethbridge Hurricanes are back and making a major statement. Buy some tickets and go out and watch some impressive hockey.
Of course the second half of the season and the push for the playoffs will tell a big a story in the next couple of months, but the Hurricanes have laid a solid foundation and there hasn't been any signs that things are going to fall off. In fact, it's been the opposite. This team seems to be getting better and if Peter Anholt can add a couple of pieces by the trade deadline on January 10th, who knows what this team can do. Right now, only the Kelowna Rockets have a better record.
There's still lots of hockey to be played this season. The Hurricanes have the second-best home record in the league at 13-3, so fans should be treated to more wins in the coming weeks.
Merry Christmas everyone and congrats to the Hurricanes on a very impressive first half!