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Spokane Chiefs

Wahl, Koper, Johnson back in time for Chiefs' opener

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Spokane native Tyler Johnson is expected to play Friday for the Chiefs in Prince George (Photo: Spokane Chiefs) Spokane native Tyler Johnson is expected to play Friday for the Chiefs in Prince George (Photo: Spokane Chiefs)

Spokane Chiefs at Prince George Cougars
Fri., Sept. 18 at 7:00 p.m.
Radio: 1510 AM KGA

The puck drops on the 2009-10 Western Hockey League season Friday night, with the Spokane Chiefs on the road against Prince George.

The Chiefs were knocked out of the playoffs last season by Vancouver in game seven of the series.  Spokane hopes to recapture their championship form from two years ago when they won the Memorial Cup.

Among the key returners this season will be Mitch Wahl, Levko Koper and Spokane native Tyler Johnson.  All three returned from their respective NHL teams and are expected to play Friday at Prince George after missing most of the preseason.

Wahl was a second round selection of the Calgary Flames in 2008.  The 19-year-old has 118 career regular season assists - 24th all-time in franchise history.  Wahl led the Chiefs last year with a +42.  In 2007-08, he led the club with 53 assists as a 17-year-old, seventh in the WHL, and finished second on the team in scoring with 73 points. Wahl also finished tied for fifth in the WHL with a +33.

Koper was a seventh round pick of the Atlanta Thrashers after setting a career high with 23 goals last season, which was 11 more than he had the previous season.  The 19-year-old had at least one point in the first 11 games of the season last year and played at the 2009 CHL Top Prospects game.  Koper is in his fourth season in Spokane with 189 games played.

Johnson was a free-agent invitee to the Wild's camp and earned a spot in their main camp after a strong showing at the Traverse City, MI rookie tournament.  Johnson is entering his third season in Spokane after finishing third on the Chiefs in scoring last year with 26-35-61.
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