During the 90’s and early 2000’s, Steve Konowalchuk was a key forward on the Washington Capitals, playing 693 games in parts of 13 seasons in DC. Since his career ended during the 2005-06 campaign, Konowalchuk has turned to caching, becoming an assistant with the Colorado Avalanche and later a head coach with the WHL Seattle Thunderbirds.
Last month, Kono accomplished the biggest feat of his coaching career when he led the Thunderbirds to the franchise’s first ever championship. To celebrate, the Seattle Mariners had the head coach throw out the ceremonial first pitch ahead of their game against the Toronto Blue Jays, Saturday night.
Thunderbirds assistant coach Matt O’Dette joined Konowalchuk at the ballpark, lugging the WHL championship, the Ed Chynoweth Trophy, to the pitching mound with Steve.
Mariners outfielder Boog Powell caught Konowalchuk’s ceremonial first pitch and autographed baseballs for both team representatives.
According to the Thunderbirds website, the Mariners played highlights ahead of Konowalchuk’s pitch from all four playoff series the T-Birds won, culminating with Alexander True’s overtime game-winning goal in Game 6 against Regina which won the WHL Championship.
— WHL Champions (@SeattleTbirds) May 15, 2017
In six seasons as head coach, Konowalchuk has compiled a 217-176-20-15 record. Since Konowalchuk took over behind the bench, Seattle has won 40 games in three of the last four seasons and visited the WHL Final in the last two seasons.
All photos via the Seattle Thunderbirds website. S/T to Dave Nichols for the heads up. Full disclosure: Konowalchuk is one of the biggest reasons why I fell in love with hockey as a kid.
Russian Machine Never Breaks is not associated with the Washington Capitals; Monumental Sports, the NHL, or its properties. Not even a little bit.
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