|Action from Last Year's Series|
The New Westminster Bruins moved to Kamloops in 1982 and have won 3 Memorial Cups and 6 Scott Munro Trophies. Kamloops has a string of players that made it to the big leagues and made an impact, including: Ken Daneyko, Rob Brown, Shane Doan, Jarome Iginla, Darcy Tucker, Scott Niedemeyer and many more. Of the 10 times they have faced each other, none of the matchups were in the first round and 6 of them were in the Division Finals. This meant that 6 of the 10 times the two teams have matched up were for the Western Conference title. Even though, they have played so many times in the playoffs, the Hawks and Blazers have only gone to the maximum number of games 1 time(last year).
Kamloops has made it to the West Final (counting this year) 15 times, including 13 times in a row from 1984-1996. Portland is one of the few teams that can contend with this, as they have made the West Final 14 times(including this year).
Let's take a look at the history of Portland vs. Kamloops in the playoffs:
1982 Division Semi-Finals:
1984 Division Finals:
1985 Division Semi-Finals:
-The newly named Blazers again took down the Hawks, this time 5 games to 1 in the Western Semis. They would advance to the WHL Finals before losing to Prince Albert. This was longtime NHL Coach: Ken Hitchcock's first year with the Blazers and Rob Brown had 26 playoff points as a 16 year old for the Blazers.
1986 Division Finals:
1987 Division Finals:
1989 Division Finals:
1993 Division Finals:
-A year after winning the Memorial Cup, the Blazers fell to the Hawks in 5 games. Portland would again be felled in the WHL Final after beating Kamloops, this time by Swift Current. Colin Foley and Nick Vachon led the Hawks in scoring.
1994 Division Finals:
2012 Division Semi-Finals:
-After their matchup in '95 the Blazers and Hawks would not meet again for 17 seasons. This was long enough for many of the players participating in the 2012 matchup to not have been born, the last time the teams met up. It was only fitting that after so long apart the two teams got the most out of it. This time the Hawks roared to a 3-0 lead in the series and the Blazers came back with comeback victories in 3 straight games, forcing a game 7. Portland finally committed to team defense and won a 2-0 game to advance to the WHL Final, where they would lose in 7 to Edmonton.
Overall the Blazers and Hawks have only met for one series that would go the distance, but you could not say that these matchups were not entertaining.For many years it seemed like one of the 2 teams would represent the Western Conference every single time. So, it bodes well for both franchises that they are again meeting on the cusp of the WHLFinal.