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Throwback Thursday – Abbotsford Pilots

The Abbotsford Pilots originated as the Mission Pilots in 1975. While in Mission, the team did not win a league title and 13 years later in 1988, they moved down Highway 11 to Abbotsford.

Abbotsford previously had a Junior A hockey team, the Abbotsford Flyers, who were named for the Abbotsford International Airshow, and the team retained the Pilots name in the move, keeping with the plane theme.

In 1989, the Pilots won the first championship in team history. They made it to the finals again in the 1991-92 season, but they lost the title to the Richmond Sockeyes.

They won their next title 10 years later in 1999, and went back-to-back by winning again in 2000. That team went on to win the Cyclone Taylor Cup that season, and became consolation champions at the Keystone Cup.

In 2002 and 2003, the Pilots won the league title and made it to the playoff finals both seasons. They won the playoffs in 2002 and came second at the Cyclone Taylor Cup. In 2003, they lost to the Sockeyes in Game 7.

Between 2005-2008, Abbotsford finished first in league play three out of four years, winning the playoff championship twice.

The Pilots were assigned to the Harold Brittain Conference when the league grew and split into two divisions. Since the split, they have finished at least second in the conference nine times in 13 years.

They made it all the way back to the Keystone Cup in the 2011-12 season, winning the title this time around, after winning the Cyclone Taylor tournament that year as well.

Their logo features flying fighter jets with a jetstream, as well as a flying puck. Their colour scheme is dark blue, white, grey, and black.

Notable NHL players who came out of the Pilots teams: Devon Toews, David Van Der Gulik, Derek Grant, and Scott Langkow.