EJ: WHL franchise’s turnaround spurred by Edmonton’s Bob Tory

Tri-City Herald

By Curtis Stock | Edmonton Journal

EDMONTON -- Born and raised in Edmonton, Bob Tory is coming home. At least for a few days.

The general manager and co-owner of the Western Hockey League’s Tri-City Americans will be at Rexall Place when his team meets the Edmonton Oil Kings on Friday night.

“I still consider Edmonton home. My mom still lives there; I still own a house there,” said Tory, who has that house rented out to Oil Kings head coach Derek Laxdal.

“I plan on taking the kids to eat at some of Edmonton’s fun spots: Tony’s Pizza, Uncle Ed’s Ukrainian Restaurant and the Blue Willow while we’re in town.”

A success wherever he has been, what Tory, his staff and his team have done with the Tri-City Americans has been nothing short of amazing.

“It’s been quite a turnaround, that’s for sure,” said Tory, who joined the Americans in 2001 as the team’s general manager after successful stints with the Kootenay Ice, Edmonton, the Seattle Thunderbirds, the Portland Winterhawks and the Prince Albert Raiders. “The franchise was destitute, border-line broke.”

Owned at that time by Darryl Porter, now the Oil Kings’ alternate governor and vice-president, Glen Sather and Brian Burke, average attendance fell to as low as 1,900.

Basically giving up, that ownership group wanted to move the team, which is based in Kennewick, Wash., to Chiliwack, B.C., in 2004. However, the other WHL teams and the league’s board of governors vetoed the move.

That’s when Tory stepped up.

 

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Playoff Stats

Goalie GP W SO GAA SV%
Eric Comrie 5 1 0 3.46 0.917
Evan Sarthou 0 0 0 0.00 0.000
Player G A PTS PIM
Jessey Astles 1 0 1 2
Parker Bowles 1 2 3 4
Brandon Carlo 0 1 1 8
Ty Comrie 0 0 0 0
Jordan Davies 0 0 0 0
Morgan Geekie 0 0 0 0
Matthew Gelinas 0 0 0 0
Justin Gutierrez 1 3 4 2
Justin Hamonic 1 0 1 6
Riley Hillis 0 0 0 0
Justin Marreck 0 0 0 0
Devon McAndrews 0 0 0 0
Beau McCue 0 1 1 0
Lucas Nickles 0 0 0 4
Jackson Playfair 0 0 0 2
Michal Plutnar 0 0 0 2
Braden Purtill 0 0 0 2
Rodney Southam 0 0 0 0
Josh Thrower 0 0 0 5
Mitch Topping 0 2 2 4
Philip Tot 3 4 7 0
Taylor Vickerman 0 0 0 0
Brian Williams 3 2 5 4
Parker Wotherspoon 0 2 2 2
Standings
  • B.C. Division |
  • Central Division |
  • East Division |
  • U.S. Division |
Team GP W L OTL SL PTS
Kelowna Rockets 72 57 11 0 4 118
Victoria Royals 72 48 20 1 3 100
Vancouver Giants 72 32 29 7 4 75
Prince George Cougars 72 27 37 3 5 62
Kamloops Blazers 72 14 53 2 3 33
Team GP W L OTL SL PTS
Edmonton Oil Kings 72 50 19 2 1 103
Calgary Hitmen 72 48 17 3 4 103
Medicine Hat Tigers 72 44 24 3 1 92
Kootenay Ice 72 39 28 2 3 83
Red Deer Rebels 72 35 32 1 4 75
Lethbridge Hurricanes 72 12 55 2 3 29
Team GP W L OTL SL PTS
Regina Pats 72 39 26 4 3 85
Swift Current Broncos 72 38 25 3 6 85
Brandon Wheat Kings 72 34 29 6 3 77
Prince Albert Raiders 72 35 32 3 2 75
Moose Jaw Warriors 72 21 42 3 6 51
Saskatoon Blades 72 16 51 2 3 37
Team GP W L OTL SL PTS
Portland Winterhawks 72 54 13 2 3 113
Seattle Thunderbirds 72 41 25 2 4 88
Everett Silvertips 72 39 23 7 3 88
Spokane Chiefs 72 40 26 3 3 86
Tri-City Americans 72 29 33 4 6 68