Skip to content

Coquitlam goaltender propels Seattle to second straight WHL final

Thomas Milic has also won the title as WHL goaltender of the year, and is eyeing a trip to the Memorial Cup to complete his senior season.
Coquitlam's Thomas Milic makes a save for Seattle in a 2022-23 playoff clash against the Kamloops Blazers.

For a second consecutive season, a Coquitlam hockey goaltender has backstopped his team to the Western Hockey League (WHL) championship series.

Thomas Milic has won 12 of 14 starts between the pipes for Seattle in the 2023 postseason.

This includes the Thunderbirds' 4-2 Game 6 victory over Kamloops Monday night (May 8) to close out the western conference final series, four games to two.

The 20-year-old netminder turned aside 28 of 30 shots on the road at the Sandman Centre in the series-clinching win against the Blazers.

And Milic continues to add more hardware to the shelf as he was named the WHL goaltender of the year today (May 9).

"I'm super humbled and honoured to receive the Del Wilson Memorial Trophy," he said in a social media post.

Milic, a Coquitlam Minor Hockey Association product, has recorded a 1.85 goals-against average (GAA) in the playoffs thus far, along with one shutout and a .934 save percentage (SV%).

He was on track for better numbers prior to meeting Kamloops, having never let in more than a pair of goals in the first two series sweeps (4-0) over Kelowna and Prince George.

However, his teammates backed him up with solid offense at the other end with some nights resulting in four, five and eight goals for the T-Birds.

Last year, Milic won 14 of 25 playoff games for Seattle coming up short in the WHL final — a 4-2 series loss to the Edmonton Oil Kings.

Milic turned the tide and kept up a positive momentum in the 2022–23 regular season, surging to a .928 SV% and 2.08 GAA in 33 games, resulting in a 27-3-1-1 record and four shutouts.

He won gold for Canada at the 2023 World Junior Hockey Championships, which included a 24-save performance in the final to a 3-2 overtime triumph over Czechia.

He'll also be waiting to see if he'll get drafted by a big-league club this summer as he was ranked 28th among North American goaltenders in NHL Central Scouting's final report.

Milic is now set to face the WHL eastern conference-champion Winnipeg ICE for the league crown, and a ticket to the 2023 Memorial Cup.

If successful, Seattle would face the Blazers at least once more as Kamloops is set to host the national major junior tournament, May 26 to June 4.

Game 1 of the WHL championship series goes for Friday (May 12), 5 p.m. Pacific time in Winnipeg.

The Thunderbirds are looking to win their second league banner in franchise history, and six years after their first (2017) which included a fellow Coquitlam product in Mathew Barzal.