Edmonton Oil Kings win 2022 WHL Championship

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For the first time in three years, the Western Hockey League has crowned a champion.

The Edmonton Oil Kings clinched their third WHL Championship in modern franchise history Monday with a 2-0 victory over the Seattle Thunderbirds at Rogers Place in Edmonton, capturing the best-of-seven series in six games.

Edmonton was the class of the Central Division all season long, winning its third consecutive division banner while posting a 50-14-3-1 record; the 104 points amassed by the Oil Kings were the third-highest total in modern franchise history.

The Club was dominant on home ice as well, finishing with a 29-4-1-0 mark from their 34 regular season home fixtures including a 15-game home winning streak which ran from October 22, 2021, through January 18, 2022.

Edmonton completed the 2022 WHL Playoffs with a 16-3 record. The Oil Kings were 9-2 on home ice during the 2022 WHL Playoffs, completing the road portion of their post-season schedule with a 7-1 record.

In fact, Edmonton did not suffer a loss through the first two rounds of the WHL Playoffs, sweeping aside both the Lethbridge Hurricanes and Red Deer Rebels before defeating the top-seeded Winnipeg ICE in five games in the Eastern Conference Championship. The Oil Kings split the first two games of that series in Winnipeg before rattling off three straight home wins, helped in part by two game-winning goals from Florida Panthers prospect Justin Sourdif.

Arizona Coyotes first-round selection Dylan Guenther finished top of the pack among Edmonton’s playoff scoring leaders with 21 points (13G-8A), following up upon a regular season in which he tied a franchise record with 45 goals as part of a 91-point campaign.

Under the guidance of general manager Kirt Hill and 2019-20 WHL Coach of the Year Brad Lauer, Edmonton enjoyed its fourth 50-win season in modern franchise history in 2021-22.

Eight NHL prospects dot the Oil Kings roster; first-round NHL Draft selections Guenther, Jake Neighbours and Sebastian Cossa were acquired through the WHL Draft while Sourdif and defencemen Kaiden Guhle and Luke Prokop arrived in Edmonton via trade during the 2021-22 campaign.

Prokop landed in Edmonton from the rival Calgary Hitmen in mid-October and went on to enjoy a career year in his hometown. The Nashville Predators prospect, and 2021-22 WHL Humanitarian of the Year, posted 11 goals and 35 points during the regular season, finishing the post-season with a League-best +23 rating.

Neighbours started the 2021-22 season with the NHL’s St. Louis Blues, appearing in nine games before returning to the Oil Kings in mid-November. Neighbours, who scored his first NHL goal versus the Los Angeles Kings October 23, 2021, averaged 1.50 points per game after coming back to the WHL, recording 45 points (17G-28A) from 30 games played.

Guhle, a first-round selection of the Montreal Canadiens, was acquired December 1 in a blockbuster deal with the Prince Albert Raiders. The first-overall selection in the 2017 WHL Draft, Guhle becomes the first player to win WHL Championships with two different Clubs since Trevor Glass won back-to-back titles with the Medicine Hat Tigers in 2007 and Spokane Chiefs in 2008.

Sourdif was a later addition, arriving from the Vancouver Giants at the 2022 WHL Trade Deadline January 17 and proceeded to amass 39 points (17G-22A) in 28 regular season contests with Edmonton.

The Oil Kings first captured the Ed Chynoweth Cup in 2012 after completing the regular season with a 50-15-3-4 record. Edmonton swept aside Kootenay and Brandon in the first two rounds of the 2012 WHL Playoffs before defeating the Moose Jaw Warriors in five games in the Eastern Conference Championship. The Oil Kings then bested the Portland Winterhawks 4-1 in the seventh and deciding game of the WHL Championship Series, scoring two goals in both the first and second periods to claim the title.

Fans in the Alberta capital were treated to another WHL Championship season two years later in 2014. Again, Edmonton finished atop the Central Division with a 50-19-2-1 regular season record, then marched through the Eastern Conference with playoff victories against Prince Albert, Brandon and Medicine Hat. The Oil Kings again were matched up with the Winterhawks in the 2014 WHL Championship Series, the third straight meeting between the two sides, with Edmonton claiming a Game 7 victory in Portland by a 4-2 final score.

Eight Oil Kings were part of the 2012 and 2014 WHL Championship squads, including current NHL players Tristan Jarry (Pittsburgh Penguins) and Curtis Lazar (Boston Bruins).

The Oil Kings and now move on to compete in the 2022 Memorial Cup presented by Kia, slated for Saint John, N.B. from June 20-29. Edmonton’s first game is slated for Tuesday, June 21 versus the QMJHL Champion Shawinigan Cataractes.

Previous WHL Champions
2019 – Prince Albert Raiders
2018 – Swift Current Broncos
2017 – Seattle Thunderbirds
2016 – Brandon Wheat Kings
2015 – Kelowna Rockets
2014 – Edmonton Oil Kings*
2013 – Portland Winterhawks
2012 – Edmonton Oil Kings
2011 – Kootenay ICE
2010 – Calgary Hitmen
2009 – Kelowna Rockets
2008 ­– Spokane Chiefs*
2007 – Medicine Hat Tigers
2006 ­– Vancouver Giants
2005 – Kelowna Rockets
2004 – Medicine Hat Tigers
2003 – Kelowna Rockets
2002 – Kootenay ICE*
2001 – Red Deer Rebels*
2000 – Kootenay ICE
1999 – Calgary Hitmen
1998 – Portland Winterhawks*
1997 – Lethbridge Hurricanes
1996 – Brandon Wheat Kings
1995 – Kamloops Blazers*
1994 – Kamloops Blazers*
1993 – Swift Current Broncos
1992 – Kamloops Blazers*
1991 – Spokane Chiefs*
1990 – Kamloops Blazers
1989 – Swift Current Broncos*
1988 – Medicine Hat Tigers*
1987 – Medicine Hat Tigers*
1986 – Kamloops Blazers
1985 – Prince Albert Raiders*
1984 – Kamloops Junior Oilers
1983 – Lethbridge Broncos
1982 – Portland Winterhawks
1981 – Victoria Cougars
1980 – Regina Pats
1979 – Brandon Wheat Kings
1978 – New Westminster Bruins*
1977 – New Westminster Bruins*
1976 ­– New Westminster Bruins
1975 – New Westminster Bruins
1974 – Regina Pats*
1973 – Medicine Hat Tigers
1972 – Edmonton Oil Kings
1971 – Edmonton Oil Kings
1970 – Flin Flon Bombers
1969 – Flin Flon Bombers
1968 – Estevan Bruins
1967 – Moose Jaw Canucks

*Memorial Cup winner

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