Showing posts with label History. Show all posts
Showing posts with label History. Show all posts

Saturday, December 18, 2010

The History of the Stockton Thunder / #StkThunder

Since 2005, the Stockton Thunder has built a legacy on the strength of capturing the hockey imagination, passion and attention of California’s Central Valley sports landscape. For the first time in Thunder history, playoff hockey stretched into the Conference Finals as the Thunder advanced to the third round of the Kelly Cup Playoffs in 2010 – falling six wins shy of a Kelly Cup championship. Such historical highlights have also included Thunder fans boosting a streak of leading the league in attendance for four straight seasons – a feat only accomplished one other time in league history (Florida – 2000-05) and hosting the 2008 ECHL All-Star Game, a featured ECHL contest during the league’s 20th Anniversary season that was attended by more than 7,000 fans at Stockton Arena.

In addition to the new relationship with Worcester and San Jose, a current affiliation with the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers and an influx of free-agent talent has taken the Thunder to four straight consecutive Kelly Cup Playoff appearances in 2007-10, while seven players have moved on from Stockton in the last four years to make their debut in the National Hockey League. It is a union of captivating entertainment and an electrifying team that continue to pave the way for bigger heights in 2010-11 for the Central Valley.

Click below for the full story on the history of the Thunder, a complete listing of the team’s records and an all-time roster.

History of the Thunder

Thunder Records

All-Time Roster


Devan Dubnyk (G)
Years with Stockton: 1 (2006-07)
Made NHL debut (with Edmonton): Nov. 28, 2009 (at Vancouver)

Etching his name numerous times in the record books is one way to make a presence in Stockton. Another is to cover the net with a towering 6-foot-6, 194-pound frame. One of the first, showcased prospects to come to the Thunder just months after the Oilers joined as an affiliation, goaltender and fan favorite Devan Dubnyk thrilled Thunder fans in the 2006-07 season with sparkling save after save, igniting chants of “Dooob” each time the 20-year old knocked away a threatening scoring chance. A first round draft pick (14th overall) of the Oilers in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft, Dubnyk set Thunder single-season records for wins (24), minutes played (2,529), lowest goals-against-average (2.56) and save percentage (.921) in 2006-07, helping guide the team to their first Kelly Cup Playoff berth in team history. He earned a spot on the National Conference team at the 2007 ECHL All-Star Game and turned his storybook rookie season into two solid years with the Springfield Falcons thereafter. An injury to Oilers goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin paved the way for Dubnyk’s first call-up to the NHL in November 2009 and the Oilers fell behind the Vancouver Canucks, 4-0 in a nationally-televised game at GM Place on Nov. 28, Dubnyk was summoned into the game for his NHL debut. He turned in a 21-save effort on “Hockey Night In Canada” to become the seventh player in Thunder history to make his NHL debut.

Colin McDonald (RW)
Years with Stockton: 1 (2008-09)
Made NHL debut (with Edmonton): Nov. 27, 2009 (vs. San Jose)

Stockton proved to be a key stop for Colin McDonald’s rise through the Oilers farm system as a top prospect in 2008-09 after his selection as a second round draft pick by Edmonton in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft. A thick, 6-foot-3 and 205-pound forward gifted with speed, a rocket snap shot and keen playmaking vision, McDonald was sent the way of the Thunder in November 2008 from the Springfield Falcons and didn’t take long to make an impact, dishing out two assists in three games. Springfield then summoned for his services and finished with 10 goals and 22 points (10g-12a) in 77 AHL games. McDonald finally earned “the call” to the NHL early in the 2009-10 season and debuted on a line with former Thunder center Ryan O’Marra with the Oilers at Rexall Place on Nov. 27 against the San Jose Sharks. He would follow up the red-letter night with another one just 24 hours later, when he scored his first NHL goal (assist to O’Marra) against Vancouver Canucks star netminder Roberto Luongo at GM Place.

Ryan O’Marra (C)
Years with Stockton: 1 (2007-08)
Made NHL debut (with Edmonton): Nov. 10, 2009 (at Ottawa)

Gifted with hands, speed, fearlessness and playmaking ability, center Ryan O’Marra began his official journey to the NHL with the Thunder in the infancy of the 2007-08 season, providing a glimpse of his potential with 20 points (11g-9a) in 24 ECHL games before his recall to Springfield in December, coincidentally, when he was named to the ECHL All-Star Game as a member of the National Conference. He returned for the Kelly Cup Playoffs and proved to be a handful for the eventual National Conference champ Las Vegas Wranglers with nine points (2g-7a) in six games. Originally selected by the New York Islanders in the first round (15th overall) of the 2005 NHL Entry Draft, part of his intrigue was his acquisition by the Oilers on February 27, 2007 with Robert Nilsson and another first round draft pick for longtime NHL veteran Ryan Smyth. After 62 games in a full AHL season in 2008-09 with Springfield, O’Marra got the long-waited “call” in 2009-10 and first suited up for the Oilers on November 10 at Scotiabank Place against the Ottawa Senators in his home province of Ontario.

Troy Bodie (RW)
Years with Stockton: 1 (2006-07)
Made NHL debut (with Anaheim): Jan. 16, 2009 (at Pittsburgh)

A big-league sized force at 6-foot-4 and 219 pounds, blessed with wheels and containing the willingness to drop the gloves for his opponents, right wing Troy Bodie began his ascension to the NHL level as a member of the Thunder in 2006-07, wearing out ECHL opponents with 21 goals, 38 points (21g-17a) and 80 penalty minutes in just 46 games while weaving a “playmaker” assist in the 2007 ECHL All-Star Game in Boise. Drafted in the 9th round by the Oilers in 2003, Bodie spent the entire 2007-08 season in the AHL with Springfield before signing an NHL contract with the Anaheim Ducks for 2008-09, slating his start for Iowa of the AHL. Bodie emerged with the big club against the Pittsburgh Penguins on January 16 at Mellon Arena and went on to suit up in four games for the Ducks. Bodie was a member of the Ducks playoff roster, who fell one win shy of reaching the Western Conference Finals in a seven-game, second round loss to Detroit.

Liam Reddox (LW)
Years with Stockton: 1 (2006-07)
Made NHL debut: Dec. 7, 2007 (vs. St. Louis)

A 4th round pick of the Edmonton Oilers in 2004, Reddox parlayed a clutch first playoff round series against the Idaho Steelheads with a three-point effort (2g-1a), earning a spot with the AHL’s Springfield Falcons in 2007-08. The 5-foot-10, skilled and feisty forward finished the 06-07 year on-fire with a 7-game scoring streak, posting 11 points (4g-7a) in that stretch. After a strong start at the AHL level with the Springfield Falcons, Reddox became the second player in Thunder history to play in the NHL, making his debut with the Edmonton Oilers on December 7, 2007 against the St. Louis Blues. Reddox, who would score 12 points (5g-7a) for the Oilers the following year, suited up in 46 games for Edmonton in 2008-09, scoring his first NHL goal against the Colorado Avalanche on Nov. 15, 2008.

Tim Sestito (C)
Years with Stockton: 1 (2006-07)
Made NHL debut: Nov. 27, 2008 (vs. Los Angeles)

Always popular in the dressing room for his work ethic and attitude, budding forward Tim Sestito was one of the linchpins to the Thunder success in 2006-07, ranking second on the club with 132 penalty minutes while scoring 26 points (13g-13a). Sestito scored three points (2g-1a) in six Kelly Cup Playoff games, including a shorthanded game-winner in the first playoff contest in Thunder history – a 4-3 victory at Idaho. Sestito made his full-time graduation to the AHL level the following season in Springfield and was awarded the captain’s “C” on his jersey at the beginning of the 2008-09 season, finally breaking through the NHL ribbon at Rexall Place on November 27 by making his NHL debut against the Los Angeles Kings.

Bryan Young
Years with Stockton: 1 (2006-07)
Made NHL debut: Mar. 9, 2007 (at Anaheim)

Bryan Young made his way to the top of the NHL’s farm system ladder in freakishly quick fashion – a rarity for a minor league hockey player, Young carved his path from the ECHL to the NHL in the same year. The 6-foot-1, 190-pound soft-spoken defenseman was drafted in the 5th round by the Oilers in 2004 and suited up in 17 games for the Thunder in 2006-07. Despite only posting four assists from the blueline, it was his signature rugged, hard-hitting defensive style that was meant to be refined during his stay in Stockton and a handful of highlight-reel open ice hits sent Thunder fans, teammates and opponents in awe. Young became the first former Thunder player to make his NHL debut – suiting up for the Oilers on March 9, 2007 at Anaheim. Young went onto appear in 17 games for the Oilers in the next two seasons.

-Written by the Stockton Thunder-

*Reprinted by with permission from the Stockton Thunder hockey club*

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