The Seattle Thunderbirds Mission Statement
Our mission is to uphold the Western Hockey League mission of providing affordable family entertainment in the form of high-caliber, competitive hockey, and to develop our players and staff in a positive professional direction. By establishing the Seattle Thunderbirds in this way makes a dynamic contribution to the Greater Seattle community. The Thunderbirds are dedicated to developing the players athletic, educational, and professional talents.
About the Seattle Thunderbirds
Thunderbird players must attend high school until they graduate grade 12. Players that have graduated are encouraged to attend local area colleges, such as Green River Community College or the University of Washington. All education expenses are paid by the team. Players attend Kent Meridian High School. Practice is 3 p.m. daily, so as not to interfere with school.
Seattle is located on the west coast of the United States, two and a half hours south of Vancouver, B.C. Although snow is rare, there is skiing and other snow recreation an hour away.
The team’s home, the ShoWare Center is located 18 miles south of downtown Seattle, in the City of Kent.
All Thunderbirds games are broadcast on 710 ESPN or KKNW 1150. The Thunderbirds are covered by six major television stations, over 50 radio stations, five daily newspapers and several weekly newspapers.
Thunderbird players are billeted with host families interviewed and approved by the hockey club.
About the Western Hockey League (WHL)
- Established in 1966, the WHL consists of 22 member Clubs - 17 based in Canadian markets (five in British Columbia, five in Alberta, five in Saskatchewan and one in Manitoba) and five in the U.S. Pacific Northwest.
- The WHL is member of the Canadian Hockey League together with the Quebec and Ontario Hockey Leagues. The CHL membership consists of 60 Clubs – 51 in Canada and 9 in the U.S.
WHL Player Development
- The WHL has been the leading supplier to the NHL for over 40 years, including 6 first round draft picks in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft
- The WHL had 32 players selected in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft
- 172 WHL graduates played in the NHL during the 2011-12 regular season.
- Of the total 881 players who have played in the NHL this past season, 20% are WHL graduates.
- 40 WHL Graduates are currently on NHL coaching staffs while 29 former WHL players occupy key management positions with NHL Clubs.
- The WHL is the leading provider of hockey scholarships in Western Canada
- For every season a player plays in the WHL, they receive a full year guaranteed Scholarship, which includes tuition, textbooks and compulsory fees, to a post-secondary institution of their choice.
- The WHL Scholarship, combined with additional financial assistance from Universities in Western Canada, makes Western Canada’s Premiere Hockey Scholarshipequivalent to any other scholarship offer available in North America today.
- Since 1993, the WHL has awarded over 4,600 WHL Scholarships representing an investment in excess of $15.2 million by WHL member Clubs.
- The WHL awarded 415 scholarships to current and graduate players during the 2011-12 academic year.
- 315 WHL graduate players have been awarded WHL Scholarships for the 2011-12 academic year thus far, while over 100 current WHL players are also enrolled in post secondary courses while playing in the WHL.
- The WHL and Athabasca University have entered into a partnership which allows players in all WHL centers to access University courses online while playing in the League.
- Close to 70% of all players in the Canadian University West Conference are WHL graduates.
WHL’s Support to Minor Hockey
- The WHL is the leading financial contributor in Western Canada to local and provincial Minor Hockey programs.
- Each year the WHL and its member Clubs contribute over $1 million annually in support of local Minor Hockey and charities in Western Canada and the U.S. Pacific Northwest where WHL Franchises are located.