Wenatchee Wild Restored The Roar In 2022-23 Season
PHOTO: Wenatchee Wild forward Michael Valdez leads the line for the team’s final postgame salute on April 19 at Town Toyota Center. The postseason loss to the Penticton Vees marked the final game in the team’s 15th Anniversary season. (Photo credit: Russ Alman/Digital Media Northwest)
By Austin Draude Wenatchee Wild Media Relations and Broadcast Manager
WENATCHEE, Wash. – After a 2020-21 season without hockey and a 2021-22 season marked by continuing COVID protocols and the limitations surrounding them, the Wenatchee Wild wanted to spend the 2022-23 season “restoring the roar” at Town Toyota Center while celebrating their 15th Anniversary season. That mantra proved to be perfect for the past year, as the Wild roared into the second round of the British Columbia Hockey League playoffs and posted their best per-game home crowds in five years, including a sellout for Guns & Hoses Night on March 4.
The season got off to a slow start, with the Wild carrying a 2-9-1 record out of the month of October. Wins in seven of the next eight put the team right on track, however, and the team found itself within a game of .500 by Thanksgiving weekend. The Wild reached the .500 mark for the first time in January, went 6-2 in February to post their best month in three years, and closed out the year with a 5-2 record in March.
Wenatchee found itself in the hunt for home-ice advantage in the opening round of the playoffs right up to the final weekend, before landing in the seventh spot in the Interior Conference standings with a 28-23-1-2 final record. However, the first-round matchup pitted the Wild against the second-seeded Cranbrook Bucks, after a regular-season series that saw Wenatchee win five of seven. The Wild snagged wins in four of the six games in their postseason get-together, including all three at home, moving on to an Interior Conference semifinal against the Penticton Vees before bowing out in four games.
The list of milestones this past season was a full one, with three players marking 100 appearances in a Wild uniform late in the season, and several others reaching the century mark in junior hockey throughout the year. Two players also landed among the elite scorers in team history during the season – forward Ean Somoza finished his season with 127 points in a Wild uniform, placing him fourth in team history, while Cade Littler ended the year in eighth place at 113 career points with the Wild.
Somoza proved to be not just the highest scorer on the team, but one of the top offensive threats in the league – his 74 points placed fourth in the BCHL, and tied for the third-best season in team history and the best ever by a 19-year-old Wenatchee player. Littler notched 68 points, the best season ever by a Wenatchee 18-year-old. Micah Berger was the top rookie on the Wild roster, notching 54 points – his point total was among the top five ever for a first-year Wild player despite joining the team at the end of October. The playoff run belonged to Parker Murray, who became the first Wenatchee player ever to score a goal in seven consecutive games. His 12 goals in the opening-round series against Cranbrook shattered the team record for the most goals in a single playoff series.
There was a significant buzz in the building at Town Toyota Center throughout the season as well, with 69,462 fans filing in for the 26 home games, an average of 2,672 per game. That marked the second-highest figure in the league and highest total for the Wild at the gate since 2017-18, when more than 80,000 clicked the turnstiles over 28 home dates. The March 4 contest against Chilliwack saw 4,260 fans in the building for the team’s third-largest regular-season crowd ever and largest since March 19, 2011. It was also the team’s first regular-season sellout in the BCHL era.
A more in-depth look through the 2022-23 season is available online The organization is already looking ahead to next season with season tickets on sale now for 2023-24.
Updated news and information on Wild hockey are always available through the team’s website and on the team’s social media platforms on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.