T-birds fire coach Rob Sumner
The Seattle Thunderbirds, after missing the playoffs two consecutive seasons, fired their seventh-year head coach.
Special to The Seattle Times
KENT — After missing the Western Hockey League playoffs for the second straight season, the Seattle Thunderbirds wasted little time firing coach Rob Sumner Tuesday.
Sumner coached in the organization for 15 seasons, the last seven as head coach. The T-birds finished this season 27-35-5-5, tied for ninth in the 10-team Western Conference.
"I don't think we got the most from our team," said Russ Farwell, general manager and majority owner.
"There were a lot of factors, but unlike last year, when we were young and not good enough, this year we were in the hunt and I thought we should still be playing (in the playoffs) at this point," he said.
"Basically, I enjoyed my time with the Thunderbirds and this is a tough time for me and my family right now," said Sumner, who lives in Maple Valley with his wife and two sons. "We're going to get through it and I look forward to the next opportunity."
Sumner replaced Dean Chynoweth as head coach in the 2004-05 season and won a division title in his first season with a 43-24-2-3 record. His teams made the playoffs five straight years before falling to 19-41-7-5 and missing the playoffs last year.
"We couldn't have this happen three years in a row," Farwell said. "We were just treading water and not making any real progress."
Sumner's teams had regular-season records of 238 wins and 207 losses in regulation, 22 losses in overtime, 35 losses in shootouts and two ties. In the playoffs, his teams were 21-26, losing twice in the first round and three times in the second round.
Farwell said he has no one specifically in mind to replace Sumner.
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