Official Vitoria Salmon Kings Website: http://www.salmonkings.com/
While the Victoria region has had a long and distinguished hockey history - the Victoria Cougars won the Stanley Cup in 1925 - the region was the largest Canadian region without either professional or Major-Junior hockey when the WHL Victoria Cougars (a team with no connection to the aforementioned Cougars) moved to Prince George in 1994. This was a crippling blow to Victoria hockey fans, whose highest-level remaining local team was the Tier II Junior 'A' Victoria Salsa, who later became the Victoria Grizzlies.
By this time, it had become evident that the 50-year-old Victoria Memorial Arena, seating only 4,000 for hockey, would have to be replaced if Victoria expected to be able to attract a new hockey club. After several years of discussion, the construction of a new arena was approved by Victoria voters in a 2002 referendum, with one key condition being that its construction was dependent on Victoria securing a WHL team.
When the private-sector partner, RG Properties, was unable to secure a WHL club, the company bought the rights to the defunct ECHL Baton Rouge Kingfish, formerly the Erie Panthers, a charter member of the ECHL, and announced that Victoria's new team would be named the Salmon Kings. Reaction in the community was somewhat mixed; while securing a club was good enough for construction of the new arena to begin, many were troubled by the perception that they would be receiving a lesser quality of hockey than that seen in the major-junior WHL. In addition, the ECHL was virtually unknown in Canada; Victoria was to be the first Canadian team in league history. In response to all this, the Salmon Kings began marketing efforts to convince Victoria residents that the Salmon Kings and the ECHL would offer a high quality product. Controversy remains about whether or not the ECHL is a better fit than the WHL. While many have embraced the third-tier professional hockey, believing it to be superior to the WHL, others - including many Salmon Kings season ticket holders - say they would prefer the WHL if they had a choice. And, to that end, local businessmen and former NHL'er Len Barrie has made overtures about bringing a WHL franchise to nearby Colwood, to compete head-to-head with the Salmon Kings for the southern Vancouver Island market.
In the summer of 2006, the Salmon Kings became the ECHL affiliate of the nearby Vancouver Canucks.
It became clear as the 2004–05 ECHL season approached that Victoria's new arena, now called the Save-on-Foods Memorial Centre, was not going to be ready in time for the season. In response, the ECHL scheduled the Salmon Kings to begin their inaugural season with an unheard-of 14 game road trip. Unfortunately, even this was not enough time for the arena to be completed, and in the summer of 2004 the Salmon Kings were forced to secure ice time in the Bear Mountain Arena in the suburban community of Colwood, which had been constructed with the needs of the junior 'A' Victoria Salsa and the Victoria Shamrocks box lacrosse club in mind.
Despite all this, the Salmon Kings took to the ice in their first regular-season game on October 22, 2004, in Bakersfield, California, against the Bakersfield Condors. Former University of Alberta player Ryan Wade scored the first goal in Salmon Kings history. Unfortunately, they lost this game 7-2; the Salmon Kings would struggle during their 14-game road trip, only winning 3 games, losing 10 games in regulation and one in a shootout. Their first victory came at the expense of the Fresno Falcons on October 24, which the Salmon Kings won by a convincing 5-0 margin. David Brumby, the Kings' starting goaltender at the time, turned away 37 shots for the shutout.
As the NHL lockout progressed, Dale Purinton and Dan Blackburn of the New York Rangers and Mark Smith of the San Jose Sharks played for the Salmon Kings. Purinton, an enforcer, was suspended twice by the league, the first for a career-ending check into the boards of Condors player Krzysztof Wieckowski, and the second for returning to the ice to fight after being ejected during a bench-clearing brawl involving the Kings and the Falcons. After the latter suspension, Purinton was suspended indefinitely by the Salmon Kings and did not play again that season.
After the grueling 14-game road trip which lasted for over a month, the Salmon Kings finally played their first home game on December 5, 2004, at Bear Mountain Arena. Unfortunately, the Salmon Kings lost this game 4-3 in overtime. They would continue to struggle during their first season, going only 15-52-5 over 72 games; notably, they set an ECHL record for a continuous winless streak, going 0-18-2 between December 31, 2004 and February 4, 2005.
After going through another losing season in '05–'06, which had four different coaches behind the bench, the Salmon Kings would eventually rebound with their best season, to date, in the 2006–07 season. Under head coach, Mark Morrison, the Victoria Salmon Kings established their first winning season with a 36-32-1-3 record and finished off their remaining regular season games on a nine-game winning streak. The Salmon Kings finished the season 7th overall in the National Conference and faced the Alaska Aces in their first playoff appearance. The Salmon Kings would eventually win Game 1 by a score of 3-2, but the Aces managed to win their next 4 out of 5 games to win the series 4-2.
The 2007–08 season saw the Salmon Kings establish themselves in the ECHL. With a 91 point season, and winning 42 from 72 games, the Salmon Kings narrowly won the National West division, and took the number two seed into the Kelly Cup playoffs. In the playoffs, the Salmon Kings won their first-ever playoff round by eliminating the Bakersfield Condors in six games. Unfortunately in the second round, the Salmon Kings were eliminated from the playoffs by the Utah Grizzlies in five games.
Note: GP = Games played, W = Wins, L = Losses, T = Ties, OTL = Overtime losses, SOL = Shootout losses, Pts = Points, GF = Goals for, GA = Goals against
|2004–05||72||15||52||5||—||—||35||178||298||8th in West||Did not qualify|
|2005–06||72||26||37||9||—||—||61||204||261||5th in West||Did not qualify|
|2006–07||72||36||32||—||1||3||76||239||249||3rd in West||Lost in Conference Quarterfinals, 2–4 (Aces)|
|2007–08||72||42||23||—||4||3||91||256||239||1st in West||Lost in Conference Semifinals, 1–4 (Grizzlies)|
|2008–09||72||38||27||—||2||5||83||232||200||3rd in West||Lost in Conference Semifinals, 1-4 (Aces)|
These are the top-ten point-scorers in franchise history. Figures are updated after each completed ECHL regular season.
Note: Pos = Position; GP = Games Played; G = Goals; A = Assists; Pts = Points; P/G = Points per game * = still active with the team
Updated at completion of 2007–08 ECHL season
- Most goals in a season: Wes Goldie, 42 (2007–08)
- Most assists in a season: Jordan Krestanovich, 52 (2007–08)
- Most points in a season: Ash Goldie, 83 (40g, 43a) (2007–08)
- Most penalty minutes in a season: Blue Bennefield, 195 (2004–05)
- Most points in a season by a defenseman: Steve Lingren, 47 (22g, 25a) (2005–06)
- Most wins in a season: Julien Ellis, 24 (2007–08)
- Most shutouts in a season: Julien Ellis & Billy Thompson, 2 (2007–08)
- Most goals in a playoff season: Wes Goldie, 6 (2006-07)
- Most goals by a defenseman in a playoff season: Steve Lingren, 2 (2006-07)
- Most assists in a playoff season: Jordan Krestanovich, 6 (2006-07)
- Most points in a playoff season: Wes Goldie, 8 (6g, 2a) (2006-07)
- Most points by a defenseman in a playoff season: Steve Lingren (2g, 5a), 7 (2006-07)
- Most penalty minutes in a playoff season: Phil Cole, 21 (2006-07)
- Longest winless streak, one season: 20 (December 31, 2004 – February 4, 2005) (also the ECHL record)
- Longest home winless streak, one season: 12 (December 31, 2004 – February 4, 2005) (also the ECHL record)
- Most penalty minutes, both teams, one game: 306 (Victoria Salmon Kings (171) vs. Fresno Falcons (135), February 16, 2005) (also the ECHL record)
- Brad Dexter, 2004–05
- Ryan Wade, 2005–06
- Kiel McLeod, 2006–08
- Jordan Krestanovich, 2008
- Wes Goldie, 2008–present
- Bryan Maxwell, 2004–06
- Troy Ward, 2006
- Tony MacAulay, 2006
- Mark Morrison, 2006–present