Five Things Wichita Thunder Fans Should Be Proud of About 2020-21 Season
With the season coming to a very recent heartbreaking end, it might be difficult to think about the positives of the season. Especially with COVID-19 playing a factor, this season was like no other, even being the best one in the ECHL era. Here are 5 moments, in no particular order, to be proud of and reflect on rather than being sad about the season’s unfortunate ending.
Number 5 – Bruce Ramsay being named ECHL Head Coach / General Manager of The Year
What better way to start off by talking about the man behind the bench? Bruce Ramsay just wrapped up his second season of being the bench boss for the Wichita Thunder. In his first season, his team ended up with a record of 24-30-8. The following season, even with COVID he turned it around to an impressive 41-22-6. Ramsay is the second coach to have earned this award, as the first one was Kevin McClelland back in 2011-12.
Number 4 – The team breaking the franchise record for most wins on the road
Prior to the 2020-21 season, the record for most wins on the road was at 20. That record was originally posted up in the 2011-12 season, where that team went 20-11-2 on the road. In the 2020-21 season, they surpassed that by going 22-10-3-1.
Number 3 – Breaking 40 wins for the first time in the ECHL era.
This season the Wichita Thunder had their 5th 40-win season in franchise history, and their 1st in the era of them playing in the ECHL. Personally, I think this is a huge milestone considering this team went 24-30-8 last season before the pandemic would be the reason the rest of it got cancelled. The closest the Thunder have been to reaching a 40-win season in their time while playing in the ECHL would’ve been back in 2017-18 where they finished with a 34-30-6 record, just barely squeaking in a playoff spot.
Number 2 – Qualifying for playoffs
As silly as it may sound, getting that playoff spot is something that Wichita should be proud of! It was the second time in our ECHL history of us doing so, and it wasn’t by the skin of our pants. We were the first team to put an X by our name, AND we remained among the top of the league all season.
Number 1 – Players receiving “All ECHL” honors.
Lastly, we should acknowledge the guys who showed up to the rink, arena, barn, whatever you want to call it… to work. Night in and night out, these gentleman who wore the hammer on their chest were arguably one of the most exciting teams to watch since the 2011-12 or 2012-13 seasons. I wish I could list every name on that roster in this part, but unfortunately not everyone had been named onto these “All ECHL” teams. The guys who did get named are:
- Jay Dickman, Dean Stewart, and Evan Weninger for the ECHL’s “All-Rookie” team.
- Evan Buitenhuis and Stewart to the “All-ECHL 2nd Team”
- Anthony Beauregard for earning a spot on the “All-ECHL 1st Team” and being tabbed the ECHL MVP.
Beauregard led his team to a 37-17-8 record when being in the lineup, and finished 2nd in scoring throughout the league. There were nine games he missed, and the team went 4-5-0 in those nine. He is also the first player to be named as the regular season MVP in franchise history.
If you’re already anxious, and counting down for the puck to drop for next season, the Wichita Thunder will open the 2021-22 season up at home on October 22nd, hosting everyone’s favorite… the Allen Americans.
By Gabe Daniel