Chilliwack – The Chilliwack Chiefs alumni Nolan Graham will be honored at this Saturday night’s game (March 25) against the Cowichan Valley Capitals.
With his accomplishments as a player, coach, and person, it was important to Chiefs ownership that Graham be recognized by the organization this season.
Graham played two seasons in Chilliwack from 1997 through 1999. In his 118 regular season games in a Chiefs uniform, he scored 149 points.
Beyond his on-ice success, he was beloved by his teammates and the entire community of Chilliwack.
“Nolan was the consummate teammate. Always quick-witted and a guy that was able to keep our guys loose but get under the opponents’ skin just as well. You’ve got to remember that Nolan played in an era where there was a palpable fear factor. And as an undersized guy, he had to play with a serious edge to get the respect he deserved. He played fearless. I was lucky enough to play on a line with Nolan. He was deft in small spaces, used his agility to create havoc, and had a sneaky fast release. He was the ultimate competitor, and I loved playing with him,” said Wyatt Tunnicliffe.
After his time in the BCHL ended, the Nanaimo, BC product earned himself a scholarship to Rensselaer Polytechnic Institue. He went on to play four seasons at RPI from 1999-03, totaling 77 points (27 goals, 50 assists) and 130 penalty minutes in 140 games.
After three seasons of playing professionally, Graham began an extremely successful coaching career. His first coaching job was with his hometown Nanaimo Clippers, spending three seasons as an Assistant Coach. He then went on to spend a single season as the general manager and head coach of the Alberni Valley Bulldogs. In his short time there, he led the Bulldogs to a regular season conference championship and was named the BCHL Coach of the Year.
He was then able to make his return to RPI as a part of their coaching staff.
“Because of the opportunities the Chiefs organization presented me as a 17-year-old hockey player, my time as a Chilliwack Chief was instrumental in everything that I have today. The organization allowed me to pursue my career as a full scholarship Division 1 hockey player, followed by a stint in the minors and thus leading to coaching both in the BCHL and the NCAA. If it wasn’t for the Chiefs organization, I’m unsure of what my career as a hockey player would have been. I still remember where I was when I got the phone call from Harvey Smyl, inviting me to camp,” said Graham.
A number of Chiefs alumni, including Graham’s teammates, will also be attending the game to support their long-time friend.
“It’s important for the Chiefs to honour players of the past that have gone on to be such valuable members of their communities. Nolan specifically, has accomplished so much professionally, physically, and with his incredible family, that he deserves to be recognized on that merit alone. But add the fact that he’s a hero and has a truly uplifting story to share, it makes it that much more necessary and impactful. Nolan is an inspiration, and the Chiefs Organization and it’s fans can only benefit from hearing his story,” said Tunnicliffe.
Come out and support one of the best to wear a Chiefs jersey this Saturday! Tickets are available at http://show.ps/l/84585ec2/.