When hockey fans think of brothers who play for a team called the Chiefs, people might assume you're talking about the long-haired, rowdy Hanson Brothers with their thick-framed glasses off the classic film Slapshot.
But in this case, it's a different set of brothers playing for a different Chiefs team.
The Atkinson family from Dinsmore have been a part of the Delisle Chiefs organization for a few years now. It all started when the oldest brother Brayden, who currently splits time with the SVHL's Beechy Bombers and ACHW's Rosetown Redwings, joined the Chiefs after a short stint with the La Ronge Ice Wolves in 2013. Brayden was an integral part of the Chiefs attack in 2013-2014, posting 29 points in 24 games during the regular season.
In the playoffs, the Chiefs ended up getting swept by the West Central Rage, and that was the last time the team saw an Atkinson in a Chiefs uniform. Or so they thought.
Fast forward a couple years later when middle child Josh Atkinson strapped on the Chiefs colours for his rookie season in 2015-2016. The left-handed defenceman became a Chief when he was 17 years old and has since grown to be a leader and big point producer from the blue line for the team.
Four years and 156 games later, 21-year-old Josh dons the captain's 'C' on his chest and leads the best team in the Prairie Junior Hockey League. This season he has pitched in with 4 goals and 18 assists for 22 points in 28 games. One of the players he has become a role model for on this dynamite roster is the youngest of the family – Parker Atkinson.
Parker is in his rookie season with Delisle and has proven to be capable of playing in each forward position on the Chiefs' explosive attack. The soon-to-be 19-year-old has 3 goals and 2 assists good enough for 5 points; he still has a long way to grow and learn from the veterans on the team like Josh and will have the opportunity to battle alongside his older brother in his first junior hockey playoff experience this winter.
The Atkinsons have enjoyed an incredible season with the Chiefs who are perched at the top of the division and league standings with a record of 31-1-0-0. As they roll on with their great form, the Chiefs will put their 18 consecutive wins on the line tonight when they visit the West Central Rage in Kerrobert.
Heading into their matchup this evening versus a division rival, I spoke to Josh and Parker over the phone to ask them a few questions about their junior hockey experience with the Chiefs.
Q: What is it like getting to finally play on the same team as your brother?
Q: Josh, talk about getting to learn from your older brother Brayden growing up and now getting the chance to play with your younger brother Parker.
Q: Now Parker, how has the adjustment been from minor hockey to the junior ranks for you this winter?
Q: Tonight, you guys are over in Kerrobert for a divisional test against the West Central Rage. What are you expecting out of them in tonight's showdown?
Q: The Delisle Chiefs are on an outstanding run this season. You and your teammates have only lost once all year and you guys seem to grow in confidence with every win. What will it take for this momentum to continue the rest of the campaign?
As the playoffs draw near, Delisle's magic number is now at 3 going into tonight's clash with the Rage. The Chiefs this season lead the season series 3-0 against the Rage as they enter their second-last meeting of the schedule. Despite a close 5-4 finish in their first outing back in November, Delisle has easily handled the Rage 5-0 and 7-1 in their latest games.
And the best part about tonight's fixture: people who are unable to make it to the arena will still be able to catch all the action.
Josh and Parker will be playing on the radio tonight as the West Central Rage versus Delisle Chiefs game will be live on Classic Hits Radio 1210/1330 AM from the Kerrobert Memorial Arena. The broadcast begins at 7:15 p.m. with the pre-game show, followed by opening faceoff scheduled for 7:30 p.m. in Kerrobert.
Media relations coordinator for the Delisle Chiefs Troy Souster will also be on the call by providing colour commentary for this evening's matchup. Fans can listen either on the AM dial or stream online at the Classic Hits Blog on West Central Online. Also tune in with your radio listening mobile apps such as Radioplayer and search for CFYM 1210 or CJYM 1330.