Hitmen hit the wall and miss the WHL postseason party

The 2021-22 WHL season came to an untimely end for the Calgary Hitmen on Sunday afternoon, when the Lethbridge Hurricanes beat them 3-2 in overtime at the Scotiabank Saddledome.

The loss left the Hitmen with a 25-34-7-2 record, good enough for 59 points but two shy of a playoff spot.

Head coach Steve Hamilton knew it would be tough to make the playoffs because the Hitmen are a young team but said it’s still disappointing not being part of the post season.

“Ultimately you always want to be part of the playoff picture. We were a point or two short so you look back and think what if,” he said.

“Ultimately I do think there was considerable growth in our group especially guys who we consider important pieces going forward.”


Of course there will be changes next season. The Hitmen won’t be going forward with Allan Blake or any of the other 20-year-olds because their eligibility runs out.

Blake says he would’ve loved one more shot at the playoffs.

“Yeah it’s definitely tough you know when you don’t get to the playoffs in your last year. I definitely would’ve liked it to end in a different way but you know that’s just the way it goes.


The Hitmen will rely heavily on players like Sean Tschigerl next season, a player who is always looking to get better. Even though it was exit day meeting day, the 19-year-old found a net and was working on his shot of him. Tschigerl finished the season second in team scoring with 25 goals and 35 assists in 65 games.

He says he wants to take another step next season.

“Anytime the season ends you’re going to go two-three days and you’re like I’m getting bored again,” the Anaheim Ducks draft pick said.

“You want to get back out there, get back on the ice, shooting pucks or going to the gym again. I found myself with my stick in my hand once again within less than 24 hours (of our last game) so I mean it’s what I do everyday, I love it.”


Other will also need to get better if the Hitmen want to get back to the playoffs next season. Defenseman Tyson Galloway had five goals and 18 assists this season.

The 19-year-old says the work starts to get better.

“I think I’ll play a big role for this team next year and obviously I have to have a big off season. Come in bigger, faster and ready to go next season.”


Defenseman Keagan Slaney put up three goals and seven assists after being acquired from the Edmonton Oil Kings early in the season. Slaney is also a 19-year-old and believes he can take another step.

“Yeah we’ll get back in the gym and get going hard and then come back strong next year,” he said.

“Hopefully I can make a big impact and play a big role on the team next year.”


The Hitmen are a young team but want to see improvement next season. They don’t want to be on the outside looking in when it comes to the playoffs.

The message from general manager Jeff Chynoweth was very clear at the exit meetings. He told his players you better be ready to earn a spot on the team right from the beginning of training camp.

“There’s going to be guys wanting your jobs coming in young age groups next year so we look forward to the competition and we look forward to being a better team. A much deeper team and hopefully have some post season success.”

The team also received good news late Monday afternoon, when it was announced that defenseman Grayden Siepmann and goalie Ethan Buenavetura have been chosen for the 2022 U18 Canadian team tha6t will compete in the world championships in Germany.

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